What to watch for in Buccaneers-Panthers on TNF
As the 2d week of the NFL season nears, a day out accurate down to the NFC South is first on the agenda.
Two used Heisman Trophy winners and No. 1 general picks — Cam Newton and Jameis Winston — lead their groups into Thursday Night time Soccer dwell on the NFL Network at 8:20 p.m. ET, because the Panthers host the Buccaneers.
Though it’s nonetheless Week 2, the division tilt already has loads of importance as preseason favourite Fresh Orleans used to be the one NFC South squad to initiate with a victory and the loser Thursday goes to search out final in opponents a complex job honest out of the gate.
One in all four video games between 0-1 groups, the Panthers are coming off a nailbiting defeat to the Rams, whereas the Bucs were on the trip extinguish of a sloppy loss against the 49ers.
Prevailing storylines surround the energy of Newton’s shoulder, the energy of Winston as a starter and, undoubtedly, longtime Bucs defensive line stalwart Gerald McCoy lining up against his used crew following a bitter wreck up.
Carolina handily leads the all-time sequence with a 23-14 advantage, has gained three of the final four and Panthers coach Ron Rivera is 11-5 against the Bucs. However Tampa Bay is aloof taking a look to turn things around below Bruce Arians.
Thus, both groups are aiming to rebound from Week 1 setbacks, with the victor earning their first opt of the season and the loser discovering the climb up the NFC South all that powerful steeper.
Here is what to gaze for for the length of Thursday evening’s Week 2 showdown:
1. Will it’s Cam Newton or Jameis Winston who quiets the critics (for now)?
Three interceptions and a season-opening tear-up did nothing to quell talk that Winston’s days as Tampa Bay’s franchise quarterback bear to complete. The addition of Arians to the sideline and his quest to refine and revamp the Bucs’ 2015 high opt met an dejected start up in Tampa’s 31-17 loss to San Francisco. Particular, it’s only Week 2, nonetheless the time is now for Winston to start up showing up and doing so consistently. The numbers, sadly, are now now not in his favor. Heading into Charlotte, Winston has misplaced 12 video games on the dual carriageway — the most for an active initiating QB — and he’s 0-3 on TNF. Numbers on the very best facet for Winston are that he hasn’t had a opt in his final two tilts against the Panthers, in conjunction with a Week 13 opt final season. Getting a opt and limiting the turnovers is precisely the and efficiency Winston is aiming to complete.
There are myriad frequent accolades for Winston and Newton as they’ve every gained BCS Nationwide Championships, Heisman trophies, were high general picks, were Educated Bowl picks and, since 2015, are tied for the most video games with three-plus interceptions (seven).
Nonetheless, Newton’s jam is now not all the time really pretty what Winston’s is. No one’s calling for the Panthers QB to point to he can aloof lead the crew, they’re calling for him to flex a cramped bit shoulder energy. Within the crew’s season-opening 30-27 loss to the Rams, Newton failed to search out the extinguish zone and threw the ball extra than 20 yards correct as soon as in 38 attempts, per Subsequent Gen Stats. Over the final two seasons, Newton’s air yards bear diminished and he averaged correct 6.3 on Sunday. On Thursday, a opt is what’s most main for Newton and Carolina, nonetheless the three-time Educated Bowler can start up to silence doubters with some deep balls.
2. How will Gerald McCoy affect the sport against his mature crew and fresh foe?
Released in the spring following 9 standout seasons in Tampa Bay, defensive sort out Gerald McCoy wasn’t a fan of the system things ended with the Bucs, contending he rarely ever heard from anybody on the coaching workers as his days were numbered in Florida.
He additionally took exception to Ndamukong Suh — who signed with the Bucs after McCoy’s exit — being given his mature jersey amount — No. 93.
And right here we are with a handy book a rough week of notice, nonetheless months of fabricate for McCoy to face his used crew (even though it’s below a fresh coaching regime).
Whereas McCoy’s lofty mark mark used to be likely the No. 1 reason unhurried his originate, his manufacturing has additionally waned, evidenced by the 28 tackles and 6 sacks from final season. The tackles were his lowest since a six-sport 2011 season. His debut with the Panthers noticed him tally correct one sort out against the Rams.
That is accurate, mature-long-established NFL storytelling. A used face of a franchise has moved on and is returning with a division rival and there is some rotten blood brewing. Extra pertinent for McCoy and the Panthers can even very well be if the mature-long-established McCoy reveals up, nonetheless, and provides reason to imagine the 31-Three hundred and sixty five days-mature, six-time used Educated Bowler can aloof be a sport-changer.
3. If you happen to haven’t realized how special Christian McCaffrey is, right here is any other probability.
As long as No. 1 is below center, Carolina will continuously be Cam Newton’s crew. And with a bevy of backfield expertise reminiscent of Saquon Barkley, Ezekiel Elliott and others, standout RBs can bring together misplaced in the mix.
However because the Panthers and Bucs take center stage, it’s a must-bear to drink in correct how special McCaffrey is and correct how powerful fun it is to gaze him play the sport.
Against the Rams, McCaffrey had 19 carries for 128 yards and two scores and 10 catches for 81 yards. That’s now now not an per week, ho-hum sport or one thing only fantasy chums ought to be inquisitive about. That’s special and McCaffrey’s special sport in and sport out.
In step with NFL research, only McCaffrey and Walter Payton, arguably the very best running serve of all-time (minus the arguably if you seek details from the person penning this), bear racked up 50 yards speeding, receiving and passing in one sport.
Preferrred season, McCaffrey grew to modified into the foremost player since 2011 to bear 100-plus yards speeding and receiving in a sport and he ended the Three hundred and sixty five days with 107 catches, an NFL chronicle for a running serve.
Blessed with extraordinary arms to head with educated toes, McCaffrey can very really extinguish all of it and for as powerful acclaim as his pass-catching expertise garner, his skill speeding the ball appears to be like to be to be getting better — provoking (and special) as that’s.
4. Will Ronald Jones proceed to emerge and erase final season’s showing?
As a 2d-spherical rookie in 2018, Jones had 44 yards speeding for the season. Enough said (er, written).
Things modified swiftly in Jones’ sophomore season, as he rushed for 75 yards in 13 carries against the Niners. His 5.8 yards per raise used to be strong and promising.
The Bucs offense and Winston, in recount, need a balanced assault.
Peyton Barber’s 4.1 yards moderate on eight carries final week used to be correct gorgeous, nonetheless Jones teased the promise that precipitated Tampa to take him in the 2d spherical in 2018.
Against a courageous Panthers defensive entrance, if Jones can put in any other true day day out, he will proceed to place himself because the Buccaneers lead serve that they very powerful need.