On the Line: Bucs at Panthers

On the Line

C3 On the Line series bets the Carolina Panthers line and discusses the stakes of the game in the context of the Panthers season. This week, we brought in an outsider to give us the insider look at the game and the line from the opposing team’s perspective. CarolinaCatChronicles.com On the Line is not betting advice, but a means for football discussion. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers

Panthers -5.5 (46 O/U)

The Panthers host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday Night Football. Both teams walk under the prime time lights 1-3, struggling to catch a little momentum as the Atlanta Falcons pull further ahead in the division. 

Injuries have decimated both teams, hitting the offensive and defensive lines specifically. Carolina will be without left tackle Michael Oher for the second straight week. On the defensive side of the ball, Tampa is missing start defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. Both teams are running without their lead backs, Jonathan Stewart for Carolina and Doug Martin for Tampa. The Bucs hope third string and former Atlanta Falcon, Jaquiz Rodgers, can generate some a ground attack against a struggling Panthers defense, who will be hoping to slow the Bucs passing attack without James Bradberry (turf toe). Most notably, Carolina will be missing starting quarterback Cam Newton who is recovering from a concussion suffered against Atlanta.

What's On the Line?

Everything. The optimism heading into this season was through the roof for Panthers fans. Humbled by the loss in Denver, Carolina stumbled again against the Minnesota Vikings. Likely the two best defenses in the league, Carolina fans explained the struggles away, citing that just because we couldn't go 15-1 the season wasn't lost. Then Atlanta happened. The beating from the division rival was so embarrassing that fans couldn't help but feel dispair.

Carolina hosts the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tonight on Monday Night Football. It's the second of a three-game stretch against division rivals. Sure a loss tonight doesn't mean it's not possible, but the mountain towards the division top would get a lot steeper as Atlanta trudged upward to a 4-1 start.

Professor's Bet

There's too much emotion in this one for me to pick it. The Panthers are 5.5 favorites, but I could see Carolina losing this game to a team who has nothing to lose and only to gain. The pressure is on in Carolina and I just don't feel comfortable given the injuries to Oher and Bradberry. Mike Remmers and Daryll Williams didn't protect Cam well in that Atlanta game and the Panthers secondary got torched. Without Carolina's defensive front wrecking shop, I think the advantage lies slightly with the Bucs because of their better secondary with Brent Grimes and Vernon Hargreaves and those big receivers matched up with Carolina's raggedy secondary. I had Carolina winning this game 24-17 knowing that Cam wouldn't play. Since then, Carolina released Bene' Benwikere and Michael Oher's concussion symptoms continue.  I've gotten nervous since.

Prediction: Bucs 24-17 (I hate writing this)

By the Professor, aka Tony Dunn
Follow on Twitter @Cat_Chronicles