-- LB L. David leads a swarming Bucs defense that ranks ninth against the run
Tampa Bay's Defensive Line vs. Carolina QB Cam Newton
Of course, the fourth prong of that Panther rushing attack is quarterback Cam Newton, who is second on the team in rushing yardage (379) and first in rushing touchdowns (five). The first player in NFL history with at least 50 passing touchdowns and at least 25 rushing touchdowns in any three-year span, Newton also has 17 TD tosses this season. In his last meeting with the Buccaneers, Newton was 23 of 32 passing with 221 yards and two scores, adding 50 rushing yards and one more TD. The Buccaneers' coaching staff pinpointed the loss of containment on Newton as the primary problem in Carolina's 31-13 victory in Week Eight, and will ask the defensive line to do a better job of keeping Newton in the pocket this time around. The defensive ends will try to keep Newton from getting around them on the outside while the men in the interior hope to disrupt him with a strong push up the middle. If they can keep Newton uncomfortable, the Bucs can repeat their success against Carolina from a season ago.
Rookie QB Mike Glennon has thrown just one interception in his last six games, and his poised and error-free work in the pocket is a big reason the Buccaneers have turned their season around in the second half. However, Glennon will be taking on a defense this Sunday that is tied for second in the NFL with 24 takeaways. Last time he faced the Panthers, Glennon was asked to throw the ball 51 times while the Bucs ran on just 14 plays. Since, the team has made a concerted effort to present a more balanced attack, and that has helped Glennon limit the turnovers, too. In the last two weeks, Glennon has posted the top two rookie passer ratings in franchise history, 138.4 and 137.5. Carolina is giving up just 215.9 passing yards per game, but allowed 275 to Glennon is the last meeting, and 296 and 310 yards in the last two games, to New England and Miami.
Tampa Bay CB
Maybe. Darrelle Revis did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday and was limited on Friday as he attempts to overcome a groin injury. If he does play, look for the Bucs to continue their recent trend of employing Revis almost exclusively on the opponent's top receiver. In this case, that would be the always-dangerous Smith, who leads Carolina with 51 catches for 581 yards. Smith recently took on New England CB Aqib Talib in a similar all-day man-to-man matchup and got the better of Talib, but Revis would be an even greater challenge if the Buccaneer cornerback is not limited in his movements. In the last Bucs-Panthers meeting, Revis helped hold Smith to four catches for 42 yards. However, the key matchup on Sunday could end up being…
Tampa Bay's Revis-less Secondary vs. Carolina's Balanced Collection of Pass-Catchers
Should Revis be held out of the game or limited, CBs