Week 2 of the NFL season kicked off with Thursday Night Football as the Carolina Panthers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers face off in an NFC South defensive slugfest. Following a quick weather delay that sent each team to the locker rooms for a brief time, the teams played most of the first half in a battle of field position and sloppy play. 

Thursday Night Football is losing its luster

Thursday Night Football, especially in the first quarter of the NFL season, is usually sloppy without the weather factoring in. Enter rain and lighting and we have the makings of a sluggish nationally televised game. 

Say what you want about the glory of football at least three days a week. Thursday Night Football is arguably a tough sell these days. The players are banged up and are coming off a short week of preparation and injury rehabilitation. These factors show in both the quality of gameplay as well as physical prowess of the players. 

Perhaps this is a conversation better left discussed in more detail at another time, but the fact remains – Thursday Night Football is losing its luster. 

Against the Spread Podcast calls the under on the game

It is this reason, why at Against the Spread, the “call” of the day was the under of 50 points. With a halftime score of 10-9, the under is pacing. However, each team finished the half with a score on their last possession so we’ll see if they come out firing in the second half. 

Pro Football Network’s wagering podcast and overall gaming staff finished a strong Week 1 with a 15-9-1 record in picks and props

So far, this under is looking solid, unless quarterbacks Jameis Winston and Cam Newton start looking like the top pick their franchises thought they were back in their respective drafts. 

Winston found Chris Godwin for a late touchdown which was set up by a 32-yard Mike Evans reception. The Panthers have primarily relied on running back Christian McCaffery, as well as a few timely plays by wide receiver Curtis Samuel. The Panthers nine points come from the foot of Joey Slye but with McCaffery and Newton, the second half has potential to see a few trips to the end zone. 

Fantasy Football Focus

Heading into the second half of Thursday Night Football, fantasy football owners will focus on players like Samuel and Evans as it seems a no-brainer that McCaffery will continue to be utilized in both facets of the game for the Panthers. 

The Bucs seem to be focusing more on Godwin over Evans, but that could all change after the teams return from the locker room. The Panthers will need to get over the goal line, and Cam Newton seems a bit unlike his normal duel-threat self. 

It will be interesting to see how the weather, and his noticeable hesitant play, will affect the Panthers skill position players, as Winston and Evans look to be getting on a more familiar page than they were last week. 

Football has 60 minutes and two halves for a reason, so this game could get a bit livelier as we head into the twilight hours of Thursday Night football. 

Week 2 is here. It’s good to be back.