With the Buccaneers (2-3) essentially losing home field advantage by way of this game being played at London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Carolina should keep its winning streak going.
Nobody knows what the Bucs will get from Jameis Winston, and their pass-happy offense (and improved defense) is getting harder to figure out, too. The Panthers are the more known quantity on a neutral field, and that's where the trust should lie.
Through six weeks, the Bucs defense is ranked dead last overall in the NFL against the pass. They're giving up 323.6 yards per game, which is a ridiculously high number when you consider that no other team in the NFL is even giving up 300 yards per game. Not even the Dolphins. Although the Panthers lost to the Bucs in Week 2 (20-14), Cam Newton was basically playing that game on one leg. With a healthy quarterback, I think the Panthers get revenge in London.
Travel is such a huge factor in handicapping these transatlantic games, and typically, the team that’s arrived early has performed better. The Panthers are getting to London more than two full days before the Buccaneers. This line also looks a little short considering the Panthers laid 7 points to the Buccaneers in Week 2, and though they lost 20-14, the box score painted an evenly-matched game.
I find this peculiar: Maybe it won’t matter, but the Bucs are flying to London on Thursday, so they’ll have just a couple days to get their body clocks adjusted to the time change before playing a 9:30 a.m. ET game Sunday morning. Carolina is flying Wednesday, so let’s roll with it.
Travel setup favors Carolina, they went a full day earlier. Tampa still overvalued based on Ram's performance. Overall I just think Carolina is the better team and at this point, I'd take Kyle Allen over Jameis.
The early London game is back. Imagine if the Panthers had been able to punch in that fourth-down play late in the first meeting against Tampa Bay. Maybe they’re sitting at 4-1 and we’re looking at them as one of the NFL’s best teams, even with Kyle Allen at quarterback. I like what I’ve seen out of the Panthers. It’s impressive how they’ve turned their season around after an 0-2 start.
The Panthers have won their last two games in spite of mediocre performances from Kyle Allen. The undrafted quarterback has started to come back to earth, and Tampa Bay has already beaten Carolina once this season when the Panthers got bad quarterback play. Christian McCaffrey might not be able to carry Carolina’s offense against a defense that’s the NFL’s best in terms of opponents’ yards per carry.
The Panthers front on defense has been very good as well. Tampa Bay is in the middle of a brutal stretch of games. This is their home game and I think Jameis Winston will outplay Allen here.
This game is in London, so Vegas is giving us the ol’ neutral site line. Tampa Bay (2-3) won the first matchup against Carolina (3-2), so why won’t it win again? The Buccaneers need to win, and they should get the job done against Kyle Allen and Co.
Tampa Bay has held Matt Breida, McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, Todd Gurley and Alvin Kamara to a combined 162 yards on 60 carries (2.7 yards per carry) this season. The Bucs’ elite run defense will limit McCaffrey and force Kyle Allen to be tested.
I could sit here and tell you about how favorites generally fare well overseas, going 18-6-1 SU and 15-10 ATS in London games since 2007. But that backfired last week, when the Raiders upset the Bears at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and Tampa Bay’s smothering run defense just might limit Christian McCaffrey, whose heavy workload is something to monitor as this season progresses.
The Panthers are gaining a little steam with quarterback Kyle Allen since he replaced injured Cam Newton. They’ve won three in a row and are getting a lot of mileage from Christian McCaffrey. Tampa Bay is averaging 37 points in its past three games.