Buccaneers vs Panthers NFL Week 7 Picks, Prediction
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Pictured: Vita Vea (middle).
- The Buccaneers are big road favorites in Week 7 against the Panthers.
- After firing Matt Rhule before their Week 6 game, Christian McCaffrey was traded on Thursday.
- Phillip Kall previews the game and makes his betting pick below.
Buccaneers vs. Panthers Odds
Last week was one to forget for the Buccaneers. All season, Tampa Bay’s offense seems to have been off a beat, yet a matchup against the beat-up Steelers’ defense seemed perfect for a get-right spot. Instead, it was more of the same, as the Buccaneers had their second-lowest point total of the season.
The good news is the Bucs get an even better get-right matchup against the Panthers this week.
The Panthers have gone from a bad team to helpless in the last two weeks. The offense has sputtered to a halt and has forced the defense into playing too many snaps. The only reliable player on offense, Christian McCaffery, was traded away. One week the coach is fired, and the next, their best player is gone. The only good news is they did get a sizeable return in draft compensation. Unfortunately, for Sunday those picks won’t help until next year.
The oddsmakers are piling on the distrust in the Panthers, as the Buccaneers are nearly two-touchdown favorites.
Let’s look deeper and see which team has the edge with such a large spread in our NFL Week 7 picks and predictions for Buccaneers vs. Panthers.
Buccaneers vs. Panthers Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how the Buccaneers and Panthers match up statistically:
Buccaneers vs. Panthers DVOA Breakdown
It has been a story of riches to rags this season for the Buccaneers' offense. Last season, they were second in points and yards per game. This season, they are 21st in both of those categories.
The passing game has been good but not up to the top level they set last year. Last season, they were sixth in yards per attempt; this season, they are 14th. The good news is this is likely a function of their players not being on the field. Chris Godwin has been forced to miss time and even Mike Evans missed about a game and a half. Fortunately, they are healthy now and will be on the field Sunday.
Wide receivers are not the only ones who have been hurt, though. The offensive line has also been a hodgepodge of who can stay healthy. This has forced Tom Brady into the third-lowest pocket time, per Pro Football Reference.
The troubles on the line have been an even bigger problem for the running game. The Buccaneers are dead last in yards per attempt at 3.1. With the offensive line getting healthier, they will need to improve this number and give their offense some balance.
While the offense is a way off from last year, the defense has been just as potent. The Bucs are fifth in yards per drive allowed and sixth in points per drive allowed. This has come with good balance, too, as they are fifth in net pass yards per attempt and seventh in rush yards per attempt.
The only problem for this defense seems to be stopping the pass in the fourth quarter. They allow 8.2 yards per attempt in the fourth but no more than 6.0 in any other quarter. We saw this bite them in the butt last week as Mitch Trubisky looked unstoppable. The Steelers had a touchdown on their first drive of the final frame then burned the clock for the win on the second. If Tampa can solve this one issue, their defense can work their way into the best in the NFL discussion.
Turning to the Panthers, there is not much to say besides this is a disaster. They are dead last in points per drive and yards per drive offensively. In the last three weeks, the defense has scored as many touchdowns as the offense, at two each.
Now, Carolina has to find a way to create offense without CMC, who did everything last week. Plus, they have to do so with a backup quarterback, as Baker Mayfield is doubtful. They say when you are at the bottom there is no place to go but up. I think Carolina is trying to prove otherwise.
Defensively, the Panthers have been respectable. They are 14th in yards per drive and 19th in points per drive. While those are middle-of-the-pack numbers, you have to keep in mind they are playing the third-most snaps of any defense. Exhaustion takes its toll.
The one thing Carolina has been very good at this year is turning turnovers into points. They may only have six turnovers forced but three of those have gone for touchdowns. It is also important to note this is just a bigger indictment of their offense and low-scoring totals.
I think it is pretty clear which way I’m leaning in this one. Of the Panthers' 203 total yards against the Rams, 158 came from CMC. Their passing game has been so stifled that P.J. Walker averaged 0.1 air yards per attempt last week per Next Gen Stats. Even worse, his average completed air yards per attempt was -2.8. Now, that inept offense takes on one of the league’s best defenses. This should be complete domination by the Buccaneers.
On the other side of the ball, even if you don’t trust the Bucs’ offense, they should have so many opportunities eventually they will get it right. Last week against Carolina, we saw the Rams have one drive that went more than 10 yards in their first six drives. Eventually, they broke out, though, and scored 24 points. Besides, you may only need 20 points for them to cover, even with this absurd spread.
I’m going to double down on this one and take both Bucs against the spread and the under. One week is simply not enough time for a team to figure out how it is replacing the centerpiece of its offense.
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