Buccaneers vs. Panthers Prediction, Pick: Tom Brady to bounce back against Carolina?

    The Buccaneers vs. Panthers is the first of two games in a three-week stretch between the clubs -- we make a betting pick and prediction.

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers took a shocking 9-0 loss against the division rival Saints on Sunday night. Now, they move on to face the Carolina Panthers, another division rival, twice in the final three weeks. Let’s look at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina Panthers Week 16 matchup, the NFL odds, and make a pick and prediction.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina Panthers pick, prediction | Week 16

    • Spread: Buccaneers -11.5 (Odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook)
    • Moneyline: Bucs -590, Panthers +425
    • Over/Under: 45

    Nobody expected the New Orleans Saints to shut out Tom Brady and the Bucs in prime time this past weekend, but it happened. It was the first time Brady had been shut out in any game since 2006. A defenseless Microsoft tablet took the brunt of his frustration as he launched it over the bench on the sideline with three minutes left to play.

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    An unfortunate turn of events left Brady without Mike Evans and Leonard Fournette, who both left the game with hamstring injuries. The severity of those injuries is not yet known, but there’s a chance both could miss time. Chris Godwin also left the game due to a knee injury, which has now been confirmed as a season-ending ACL tear. It’s a terrible loss for the Bucs. On the plus side, Antonio Brown’s suspension is now over, with him serving the last game of that ban against the Saints.

    Brady doesn’t like to lose or be humiliated. I almost feel for the Carolina Panthers this week. It feels like they might get the brunt of Brady’s frustration, though they shouldn’t shatter like that tablet. However, Brady can’t do it all by himself, so we will need to see how many of the offensive group are healthy and ready to go come Sunday.

    Carolina looks a bit lost

    As for the Panthers, they’re on a steep decline, and I don’t know how they stop the rot. Matt Rhule’s QB experiments have failed. Sam Darnold is not looking like the long-term future of the Panthers. The desperate Cam Newton signing hasn’t worked out either. Amidst all the suffering for the Panthers’ offense, Rhule fired offensive coordinator Joe Brady. Still, it feels like the issues in Carolina go a lot further than the OC.

    The Panthers are on a four-game losing streak already, and they now close out the season with three divisional matchups — two against Tampa and one against the Saints. Ouch.

    Bucs vs. Panthers betting trends

    The Bucs were an 11.5-point favorite against the Taysom Hill-led Saints and lost. That result broke a four-game win streak for the Bucs both outright and against the spread (ATS). The game also cashed the under, of course, which marks the fourth under in their last six games.

    The Panthers are on some strong streaks right now, losing four in a row ATS and outright. Additionally, they’ve cashed five overs in a row, too, having given up a minimum of 27 points in each of those five games.

    Bucs vs. Panthers prediction

    This looks like a bounce-back game for Brady and the Bucs. The only thing making me hesitate is the loss of Godwin and whether Fournette and Evans will play or not. Without them, Brady struggled, as he basically ran the rest of the game with the second-team offense.

    That said, this Carolina team is in trouble right now — far from as synchronized as a Bruce Arians Bucs team. They’ll come into this wanting to seal the division, and they can do so with a win. I’ll take the Bucs to win, but I don’t like the spread unless Evans and Fournette both play. If they do, I’ll back it. I’ll take the under for the game, too, as Cam and the Panthers’ offensive struggles continue.

    Buccaneers vs. Panthers Prediction: Bucs 24, Panthers 10

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