Breakdown: Tampa Bay (-9.0) over Carolina

Carolina @ Tampa Bay
Recommended Wager: TB -9.0
Strength: 4.10

Key Injuries:
Carolina Panthers:
-G Dennis Daley (ankle) was INACTIVE week 1 after not practicing all week. He did not practice Wednesday or Thursday.
-CB Donte Jackson (ankle) was injured week 1. He’s practicing in full.
IR: CB Eli Apple (ankle)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
-WR Mike Evans (hamstring) played week 1, but was quite limited. He said he believes he’s “over the hump” with the injury.
-WR Chris Godwin (concussion) entered the concussion protocol.

Spread Breakdown: The spread opened at Tampa -7.5, where it was quickly bet up to 8, and eventually 9. It’s now back to 8.

Matchup Breakdown:
When Carolina has the ball:
The first game from Panthers new QB Teddy Bridgewater, and it wasn’t particularly pretty. Against a very generous Raiders secondary, Bridgewater was only able to complete 64.7% of his passes, gaining 270 yards, a TD, and a PFF grade of 55.8. Still, Bridgewater is a solid starting option in the NFL as we saw last year when he stepped in for an injured Drew Brees. The receiving trio of DJ Moore (intermediate routes), Robby Anderson (deep routes), and Curtis Samuel is mostly solid. Do it all back Christian McCaffrey continues to essentially play every snap, and he’ll see plenty of involvement in the passing game as well. The offensive line needs work still, but bringing in Russell Okung to play left tackle is a great first step. It’s an offense that most have written off — they have a new QB, and a new coach, but the upside is certainly there if they can put all the pieces together.

The strength of the Bucs defense is their front 7. Starting with the line: Vita Vea and Ndamuhong Suh on the inside and Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre Paul on the edge. Barrett picked up 20 sacks last year, and his other numbers (pressures, PFF grade) suggests that will regress, but he’s still a solid edge rusher. Suh and JPP’s better years are behind them, but their both solid players. Vita Vea is coming off a solid second year campaign. At linebacker, Lavonte David is the only player in the league to have a top 10 PFF grade in both coverage and run defense. He’ll start next to 2019 first rounder Devin White, who got off to a slow start his rookie year, but his talent and athleticism can’t be denied. The secondary is intriguing — CBs Jamel Dean and Carlton Davis combined for an impressive 18 pass breakups over the final 8 weeks of 2019. Sean Murphy-Bunting will man the slot — all 3 corners were drafted in the first three rounds over the past 2 years. Jordan Whitehead and rookie Antoine Winfield Jr will man the safety positions. It’s an intriguing secondary that could head in either direction quickly.

When the Buccaneers have the ball:
We all know the story with the Tompa Bay’s offseason. After a ton of hype for the Brady/Brees opener, it largely let the football world down with a lot of talk about both 40 year old quarterbacks being finished. For Brady, the tape grinders noted that it was mostly communication issues rather than bad throws, which is encouraging. It’s a shortened offseason and a new team, it makes sense that it could take some time for things to get adjusted. WR Mike Evans played last week, but he was clearly limited with a hip injury. The rumors now is he should be much healthier for this one. WR Chris Godwin entered the concussion protocol, but it happened early enough in the week where I’d be surprised if he wasn’t cleared by game day. Behind Evans and Godwin is slot WR Scotty Miller, professional wrestler Rob Gronkowski, and TE OJ Howard. Along with a solid offensive line, it’s hard to see a group this talented not turning it around.

If the Bucs are going to turn it around, it should start Sunday. I have nothing nice to say about the Panthers defense. Luke Kuechly retired, they have virtually zero pass rush, and the secondary is brutal. 7th overall pick Derrick Brown will likely end up being a solid tackle, but that won’t help them here. Put up some fuckin points, Tommy.

That’s it for now, bitches.

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