The Buccaneers' shutout loss to the New Orleans Saints hasn't deterred the experts from their expectations of Tampa Bay this weekend. The team will take on the Panthers for the first of two meetings in the last two weeks of the season this Sunday and with a win – they'll clinch the NFC South for the first time since 2007.
They had the opportunity to do it at home against the Saints but another division win is all it will take for the Bucs to get the crown. That or a Saints loss, that is.
News came Thursday that the Buccaneers were placing inside linebacker Lavonte David and running back Leonard Fournette on injured reserve. This is after the news that wide receiver Chris Godwin's season is over with a torn ACL suffered against the Saints. And on top of the injuries, the Bucs now have three players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list: wide receiver Breshad Perriman, wide receiver Jaelon Darden and defensive tackle Rakeem Nuñez-Roches.
The Panthers are relatively healthy but still have a question mark under center with reports that Head Coach Matt Rhule will be playing both Cam Newton and Sam Darnold against the Bucs. It means Tampa Bay will have to be 'ready for everything,' according to Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles on Thursday but the experts still see the odds swinging in the Bucs' favor.
Check out the expert picks below.
- NFL.com, Greg Rosenthal – Buccaneers
- ESPN.com, Consensus – Buccaneers (unanimous)
- USA Today (consensus) – Buccaneers (unanimous)
- SB Nation, Consensus – Buccaneers (unanimous)
- CBSSports.com, Consensus – Buccaneers (split)