The Tampa Bay Buccaneers saw their franchise-record six-game road winning streak snapped on Sunday in Pittsburgh but will immediately get a chance to start a new one in Week Seven.
Following a 20-18 loss to the Steelers in Week Six, the 3-3 Buccaneers will go back to divisional play, taking on the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on Sunday, October 23. The Buccaneers have a 2-0 record so far against NFC South foes, having already beaten the Saints in New Orleans in Week Two and the visiting Atlanta Falcons in Week Five.
Tampa Bay's first road loss since mid-November last season evened its record at 3-3 and allowed the Falcons to catch them for a tie atop the division, as Atlanta beat San Francisco on Sunday, 28-14. The Panthers lost to the Rams in Los Angeles, 24-10, with P.J. Walker starting after a Week Five ankle injury suffered by Baker Mayfield. With Sam Darnold on injured reserve and Mayfield originally expected to miss a couple weeks with his injury, the Buccaneers may be facing Walker on Sunday. In his third career start, Walker completed 10 of 16 passes for 60 yards before leaving the game in the fourth quarter with a neck injury. He was replaced by Jacob Eason, a fourth-round pick by Indianapolis in the 2020 draft who had five previous regular season passes.
The Panthers will be playing just their second game since firing Head Coach Matt Rhule on October 10. Hired before the 2020 campaign, Rhule led the Panthers to an 11-27 record during his tenure. He has been replaced by Interim Head Coach Steve Wilks, who was the Arizona Cardinals' head coach in 2018.
The Buccaneers will be looking to rebound offensively in Week Seven after struggling to find a rhythm in Pittsburgh, particularly upon reaching the red zone. Tom Brady completed 25 of 40 passes for 243 yards and the Buccaneers found the end zone just once in four trips inside the 20. Brady's touchdown pass to running back Leonard Fournette, the Bucs' first and only TD of the game, came with less than five minutes remaining in regulation.
The Buccaneers have won four straight against the Panthers and a fifth would represent their longest streak ever in the head-to-head series. Tampa Bay is off to a slower start than expected in 2022 but remain right in the thick of a muddled NFC playoff race. A rebound from a spotty performance in Pittsburgh would be a promising start to the middle third of the season.