Matchup Analysis: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers

Vegas Prediction

Vegas says: Buccaneers 22, Panthers 28

FBG Projections

TeamRushYardsTDCompAttPass YdTDINT

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Offense: overview

Points (vs AVG) (rank)Rush Yards (vs AVG) (rank)Pass Yards (vs AVG) (rank)
Buccaneers Offense17.0 (-7.2) (23)121 (+13) (13)174 (-89) (26)
Panthers Defense30.0 (+5.8) (25)166 (+58) (28)183 (-80) (9)

Carolina Panthers Offense: overview

Points (vs AVG) (rank)Rush Yards (vs AVG) (rank)Pass Yards (vs AVG) (rank)
Panthers Offense27.0 (+2.8) (15)127 (+19) (9)216 (-47) (22)
Buccaneers Defense31.0 (+6.8) (26)98 (-10) (13)158 (-105) (3)

Buccaneers Rushing offense

Neutral matchup vs. the Panthers defense.

Bruce Arians isn’t a run-centric coach by any stretch; he’s gone on the record about his dislike of the ground game before. Still, it’ll have to happen sometimes. And in Week 1, Ronald Jones II showed his first signs of life as an NFL runner, bringing far more explosiveness and consistency than the plodding Peyton Barber. Jones was fantastic behind a surgical run-blocking line, ripping off chunk runs throughout the second half en route to 75 yards. It was only one game, but probably all Jones needed to do to prompt a change. A productive workhorse at USC, he simply brings more dynamism to the role than Barber and his career 3.8-yard average. Barber still has a role here, as the team trusts his steadiness and pass-game value. But Jones is much more capable of maximizing the Buccaneers’ strong front line, and he’ll likely lead the way in opportunity for the foreseeable future. Of course, he’ll be largely dependent on the front line, which is shaky but impressed in Week 1. The interior, led by left guard Ali Marpet and center Ryan Jensen, is adept at opening holes for Jones to exploit.

The Panthers looked dominant against the Rams’ stout front for much of Week 1: throughout the first half, they allowed Rams running backs just 37 yards on 10 carries. Eventually, though, Todd Gurley and Malcolm Brown began to find room to spring big runs. Overall, this Panthers unit looks similar to the 2018 version, which made for a fairly juicy fantasy target week-to-week. Over their last 9 games, they’ve now allowed 11 different runners to top 50 yards, with 8 ground touchdowns along the way. The front line is strong, led by a trio of big-name stars still performing at a high level, but there are issues down the field. Linebacker Luke Kuechly remains solid but isn’t an impenetrable force up the middle, and missed tackles continue to plague the group as a whole. Ronald Jones II has yet to prove himself on the NFL level, but if he’s given the holes he was in Week 1, he could produce another big day against the Panthers’ second level.

Buccaneers Passing offense

Tough matchup vs. the Panthers defense.

Bruce Arians’ track record in the passing game is top-notch, and his system maximized some ho-hum quarterbacking in Arizona. But even he may not be up to the task of getting Jameis Winston off the ground. Winston opened the year as erratic as ever, if not more so, throwing three interceptions - two returned for touchdowns - with two more easy ones dropped. It was ironic that it came against a 49ers defense that registered an all-time low two interceptions through all of last season. At this point, Winston simply can’t be trusted to orchestrate a successful offense. He makes too many poor decisions with the ball, and he lacks the instinct and touch to make those low-percentage throws work. Thanks to his scattershot arm, big-play receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin made little impact in Week 1, catching just 5 of their 11 targets for 81 yards. At least Godwin was able to make a nice 28-yard play and find the end zone. It’s worth noting that when they faced this Panthers secondary late last season, Evans put up a nightmare day (1 catch on 10 targets), while Godwin feasted across the field (5 for 101 and a touchdown). Explosive tight end O.J. Howard had a rough opener, with a fumble and a drop that became an interception. Backup Cameron Brate remained a Winston favorite near the goal line - he caught two short touchdowns, both of which were negated by penalties. As always, there’s difference-making potential in this unit, and on sturdy weeks the upside is massive. But Winston’s play is far too volatile to trust at the moment. Week to week, he looks like a stronger bet to implode than to reach his upside.

The Carolina pass defense is an inconsistent group but reached the high end of its capabilities in Week 1. Jared Goff and the Rams’ potent pass game never got off the ground, producing just 4.8 yards per attempt with a single touchdown. Much of the credit belongs to cornerbacks James Bradberry and Donte Jackson, who teamed to lock down the deep-ball game on the outside - the Rams managed only 3 pass plays of 15 yards or more. Brandin Cooks caught only two of his six targets, while Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp combined to produce just 116 yards over their 15 receptions (a 7.7 average). There were also contributions from the defense’s new starters. Free safety Tre Boston brings a stabilizing presence against the pass, while new pass rushers Gerald McCoy and Brian Burns enjoyed strong Panthers debuts. This unit likely won’t play to these heights every week, but Week 1’s trends were encouraging all-around.

Panthers Rushing offense

Good matchup vs. the Buccaneers defense.

Once considered a scatback who couldn’t handle an early-down load, Christian McCaffrey has left any running-game doubts in the dust. After averaging 2.4 yards per rush over his first 8 NFL games, he’s produced 5.0 over his last 25. He was unstoppable last Sunday, gashing the Rams for 6.7 en route to 128 on the day. He broke off runs of 23, 18, 17, and 12 yards among his 19 attempts, simply erupting through holes and shaking would-be tacklers in the open field. McCaffrey has fine-tuned his body for the rigors of the NFL, and he’s proven himself a playmaker running both inside and outside. Quarterback Cam Newton doesn’t run as often as he used to but remains difficult to square up with defensively. And both will continue to benefit from running behind a strong run-blocking line. Led by center Matt Paradis and right guard Trai Turner, this is a group adept at both mauling in the trenches and clearing paths on the second level. Promising young nose tackle Vita Vea will provide a challenge Sunday, but the unit did a fine job against the game’s best, Aaron Donald, in Week 1.

For the most part, the Tampa Bay run defense impressed in Week 1. Led by a dominant front line, the team stifled Kyle Shanahan’s three-headed attack - Tevin Coleman, Matt Breida, and Raheem Mostert totaled just 100 yards over 30 attempts. There were a few chunk plays, but beyond their 3 longest runs, the 49ers averaged just 1.9 per carry. Second-year tackle Vita Vea was a terror, consistently tying up blockers on the interior and allowing the linebackers to roam. Lavonte David and Shaquil Barrett were especially active on the second level, and safety Jordan Whitehead (seven solo tackles) was helpful in the box Combined with rookie Devin White, there’s plenty of playmaking in this unit. One week doesn’t quite wash away the rough memories of 2018 where they allowed 4.7 yards-per-carry, but it was an eye-opening start to the season.

Panthers Passing offense

Great matchup vs. the Buccaneers defense.

Simply put, Cam Newton did not open 2019 on a strong note. He missed badly on several throws and failed to beat the Rams for anything deep, creating just 239 yards on 38 attempts. He’s healthy, but clearly not yet at his apex after offseason surgery. Luckily, the Panthers have surrounded him with a fantastic collection of young, dynamic talent capable of making his shaky days work. In D.J. Moore, he now throws to a better set of No. 1 WR traits than he ever has. Moore brings speed, size, and physicality to the table - Kelvin Benjamin never boasted more than one of those - and has proven himself a playmaking option. He caught 7 of his 10 targets despite tight coverage from Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters on the outside. And in Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel, there’s a ton of short-area athleticism that wins in the flats and slots. Newton continued to struggle with his downfield touch Sunday, and he’ll lean heavily on the two open-field playmakers, who combined to catch 13 balls for 113 yards in Week 1. Overall, this is an iffy attack to believe in while Newton is struggling so. He’ll need to show better downfield ability before we can expect to see Moore’s and Samuel’s upsides. But in the meantime, it’s comforting to see the game-breakers producing anyway. Moore, McCaffrey, Samuel, and tight end Greg Olsen are all capable of strong play even when the pass game is limited.

The Tampa Bay pass defense has been atrocious for several years running, and the personnel didn’t change up much for 2019. They were fortunate to open the year against a shaky Jimmy Garoppolo, whose erratic play papered over some big issues that remain in this unit. Garoppolo misfired early and often, missing receivers that had beaten the Buccaneers’ subpar cornerback group. Vernon Hargreaves has improved overall, but not enough to transform this group. Had they been working against better outside receivers, they likely would have allowed several splash completions. The 49ers’ top target, tight end George Kittle, won matchup after matchup - he caught 8 of 10 targets that counted, then had 2 touchdowns negated by penalties. All told, there’s little reason to look at this burnable group much differently than in 2018. They’ll have their collective hands full with all of the speed and athleticism the Panthers bring to the table.

Panthers vs QB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)5T (-10.2)5T (-10.3)5 (-9.0)5 (-10.5)
1Jared Goff7723391861140012.312.310.410.4

Jameis Winston (FanDuel: $7300, DraftKings: $5900)

1vs SF702036194135130121210.110.1
2PROJ-Dodds24372671.61.24180.1212121.0 (H=53)21.0 (H=66)
2PROJ-Tremblay24382741.51.35250.121.521.521.5 (H=55)21.5 (H=68)
2PROJ-Bloom26402311.51.74110.117.517.517.5 (H=38)17.5 (H=48)

Panthers vs RB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)26 (+8.7)22 (+4.2)24 (+6.4)22 (+3.6)
1Malcolm Brown2111532000017.317.317.317.3
1Todd Gurley5414970114010.111.110.611.1

Ronald Jones II (FanDuel: $5500, DraftKings: $4000)

1vs SF221375011.01809.310.39.810.3
2PROJ-Dodds12500.41.060898.5 (H=14)9.0 (H=22)
2PROJ-Tremblay13540.30.6407.68.27.9 (H=13)8.2 (H=19)
2PROJ-Bloom12530.41.0908.69.69.1 (H=16)9.6 (H=25)

Peyton Barber (FanDuel: $5400, DraftKings: $3900)

1vs SF25833042.01204.
2PROJ-Dodds8320.21.6100.167.66.8 (H=10)7.6 (H=17)
2PROJ-Tremblay8310.22.5160.16.597.8 (H=12)9.0 (H=23)
2PROJ-Bloom6210.21.0603.94.94.4 (H=4)4.9 (H=8)

Dare Ogunbowale (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3200)

1vs SF2700054.03303.
2PROJ-Dodds1302.8210.135.84.4 (H=5)5.8 (H=13)
2PROJ-Tremblay0003.1220. (H=5)5.9 (H=13)
2PROJ-Bloom1305.0350. (H=12)9.4 (H=30)

Panthers vs WR

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)10 (-9.4)13 (-5.8)12 (-7.4)12 (-7.5)
1Robert Woods7313870021608.616.612.616.6
1Cooper Kupp691074600004.611.68.111.6

Mike Evans (FanDuel: $7500, DraftKings: $7000)

1vs SF6052.02800002.
2PROJ-Dodds5.0720.300091411.5 (H=18)14.0 (H=27)
2PROJ-Tremblay4.9740.30009.214.111.7 (H=18)14.1 (H=27)
2PROJ-Bloom4.0550.40007.911.99.9 (H=14)11.9 (H=20)

Chris Godwin (FanDuel: $7300, DraftKings: $6500)

1vs SF6463.053100011.314.312.814.3
2PROJ-Dodds4.8610.30007.912.710.3 (H=15)12.7 (H=25)
2PROJ-Tremblay4.2540.30007.211.49.3 (H=13)11.4 (H=20)
2PROJ-Bloom6.0560.400081411.0 (H=17)14.0 (H=29)

Breshad Perriman (FanDuel: $4800, DraftKings: $3200)

1vs SF4552.0100000132.03.0
2PROJ-Dodds2.0270.20003.95.94.9 (H=6)5.9 (H=13)
2PROJ-Tremblay2.7400.20005.27.96.6 (H=10)7.9 (H=22)
2PROJ-Bloom1.090.10001.52.52.0 (H=1)2.5 (H=3)

Panthers vs TE

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)21 (+1.3)20T (+1.3)20 (+1.3)20T (+1.0)
1Tyler Higbee40542018.

O.J. Howard (FanDuel: $6500, DraftKings: $4400)

1vs SF5554.03203.
2PROJ-Dodds4.2510.47.511.79.6 (H=15)11.7 (H=32)
2PROJ-Tremblay4.1510.47.511.69.6 (H=15)11.6 (H=31)
2PROJ-Bloom4.0480. (H=14)11.2 (H=29)

Cameron Brate (FanDuel: $4800, DraftKings: $2700)

1vs SF3122.0800.
2PROJ-Dodds1.8140. (H=3)4.4 (H=9)
2PROJ-Tremblay1.6130. (H=3)4.1 (H=8)
2PROJ-Bloom2.0130. (H=3)4.5 (H=10)

Panthers vs PK

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)28T (+5.2)28T (+5.2)29T (+7.5) (+0.0)
1Greg Zuerlein3433121215.015.0

Matt Gay (FanDuel: $--, DraftKings: $--)

1vs SF1122555.05.0

Panthers vs TD

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)25T (+2.9)25T (+2.9)21T (+2.2)21T (+2.2)
1Los Angeles Rams2734331200999.09.0

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (FanDuel: $3500, DraftKings: $2500)

1vs SF31.0025611101111112.012.0
2PROJ-Dodds30.704242.310.700. (H=13)6.3 (H=19)
2PROJ-Tremblay28.003852.310.500. (H=14)6.5 (H=20)

Buccaneers vs QB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)2 (-11.4)2 (-11.5)7 (-8.0)7 (-9.5)
1Jimmy Garoppolo681827166112-2011.111.111.411.4

Cam Newton (FanDuel: $7800, DraftKings: $6300)

1vs LAR672538239013-2010.810.86.47.4
2PROJ-Dodds24352611.815220.222.622.622.6 (H=56)22.6 (H=70)
2PROJ-Tremblay23352601.913170.121.921.921.9 (H=53)21.9 (H=66)
2PROJ-Bloom21332111.715210.320.320.320.3 (H=47)20.3 (H=58)

Buccaneers vs RB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)12 (-5.4)8 (-7.9)7 (-6.7)8 (-8.5)
1Tevin Coleman186230323305.
1Raheem Mostert20940011004.

Christian McCaffrey (FanDuel: $9200, DraftKings: $9400)

1vs LAR671912821110.081032.942.937.945.9
2PROJ-Dodds19900.67.3580.420.828.124.5 (H=55)28.1 (H=68)
2PROJ-Tremblay211030.77.3600.422.930.226.5 (H=63)30.2 (H=77)
2PROJ-Bloom17800.76.0450.318.524.521.5 (H=44)24.5 (H=54)

Reggie Bonnafon (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3000)

2PROJ-Dodds2501.0601.12.11.6 (H=1)2.1 (H=2)
2PROJ-Tremblay0000.000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Buccaneers vs WR

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)6 (-12.6)3T (-19.0)4 (-15.6)4 (-19.7)
1Richie James26213910009.910.910.410.9
1Deebo Samuel60331700001.

D.J. Moore (FanDuel: $6200, DraftKings: $5900)

1vs LAR63107.07600007.614.69.113.6
2PROJ-Dodds4.7660.41309.31411.7 (H=22)14.0 (H=32)
2PROJ-Tremblay5.0710.40009.514.512.0 (H=23)14.5 (H=34)
2PROJ-Bloom5.0540.50008.413.410.9 (H=20)13.4 (H=30)

Curtis Samuel (FanDuel: $5500, DraftKings: $4800)

1vs LAR6243.03200003.
2PROJ-Dodds3.6480.31306.910.58.7 (H=15)10.5 (H=24)
2PROJ-Tremblay3.4440.40006.810.28.5 (H=14)10.2 (H=23)
2PROJ-Bloom4.0550.41508.412.410.4 (H=21)12.4 (H=32)

Jarius Wright (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3200)

1vs LAR4011.01400001.
2PROJ-Dodds1.3170.10002.33.63.0 (H=2)3.6 (H=5)
2PROJ-Tremblay0.9110.10001.72.62.2 (H=1)2.6 (H=3)
2PROJ-Bloom1.0110.10001.72.72.2 (H=1)2.7 (H=3)

Chris Hogan (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3000)

1vs LAR510.000000000.00.0
2PROJ-Dodds0.6900000.91.51.2 (H=0)1.5 (H=1)
2PROJ-Tremblay0.9130.10001.92.82.4 (H=2)2.8 (H=3)
2PROJ-Bloom0.000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Buccaneers vs TE

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)17 (-2.0)18 (+1.0)18 (-0.5)18 (+0.7)
1George Kittle621085405.413.49.413.4

Greg Olsen (FanDuel: $5400, DraftKings: $3300)

1vs LAR6394.03603.
2PROJ-Dodds4.1430.57.311.49.4 (H=17)11.4 (H=41)
2PROJ-Tremblay5.0550. (H=25)14.1 (H=59)
2PROJ-Bloom4.0340. (H=11)9.2 (H=28)

Ian Thomas (FanDuel: $4600, DraftKings: $2700)

1vs LAR410.000000.00.0
2PROJ-Dodds1.4140.123.42.7 (H=2)3.4 (H=6)
2PROJ-Tremblay0.6500.51.10.8 (H=0)1.1 (H=0)
2PROJ-Bloom1.0120. (H=1)2.8 (H=4)

Buccaneers vs PK

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)25T (+4.2)25T (+4.2)25T (+4.5) (+0.0)
1Robbie Gould3422111112.012.0

Joey Slye (FanDuel: $--, DraftKings: $--)

1vs LAR23339912.012.0

Buccaneers vs TD

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)32 (+16.9)32 (+16.9)32 (+20.2)32 (+20.2)
1San Francisco 49ers1729533102232327.027.0

Carolina Panthers (FanDuel: $3500, DraftKings: $3100)

1vs LAR30.0034911000332.02.0
2PROJ-Dodds23.504082.51.40.700. (H=27)9.4 (H=31)
2PROJ-Tremblay21.503842.51.30.700. (H=28)9.6 (H=32)