Carolina at Tampa Bay prediction, game preview, how to watch: Sunday, January 9
Carolina at Tampa Bay How To Watch
Date: Sunday, January 9
Game Time: 4:25 ET
Venue: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
How To Watch: CBS
Record: Carolina (5-11), Tampa Bay (12-4)
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Carolina at Tampa Bay Game Preview
Why Carolina Will Win
Head coach Matt Rhule has been given a vote of confidence – for whatever that’s worth – going into next year. Now he needs his team to show a sign of life after a six-game losing streak that included a 32-6 wipeout against the Buccaneers just a few weeks ago.
The return of Sam Darnold didn’t help the cause in last week’s loss to New Orleans, but at least the defense was okay, especially against the run. The Panthers have to start by holding up on the line and let the league’s second-best pass defense to take over.
The Buccaneers might have put 32 points on the board in Week 16, but Tom Brady put up an okay 232 yards.
In this, the hope has to be for Tampa Bay to be thinking more about staying healthy for next week, but …
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Why Tampa Bay Will Win
The No. 2 seed is still in play.
The Rams have to lose to San Francisco – not crazy – and Tampa Bay has to win this. The two games will be going on at the same time, but after last week’s close call comeback win over the Jets, focusing on sharpening up shouldn’t be a problem.
The Buccaneers have won six of their last seven, but the running game has been inconsistent and the team hasn’t quite been itself. It’s as if it’s waiting for the playoffs to start already.
The Antonio Brown problem hasn’t helped.
This week, though, the defense shouldn’t have any issue with a team that hasn’t scored more than 14 points in four of its last five games, and …
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What’s Going To Happen
Enough is enough. This is when Tampa Bay steps up…