The Tampa Bay Buccaneers went into Week Five of the 2019 NFL season with an unblemished division record and a chance to grab a share of first place in the NFC South. Instead, a 31-24 loss to the New Orleans Saints in the Superdome left the Buccaneers two games back, but they won't have to wait long for another shot at climbing the division ranks.
Tampa Bay, which notched its first division win at Carolina in Week Two, will finish the season series with the Panthers next Sunday in a "home game" that is actually far from home. The Bucs and Panthers will do battle in London, in just the second NFL game played at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The Panthers are 3-2 after defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, 34-27.
This will be the second straight intra-division game in which the Buccaneers catch their opponent without their long-time established quarterback. Teddy Bridgewater was nearly flawless in place of the injured Drew Brees on Sunday in the Superdome, and now the Bucs will face Kyle Allen, who has helped Carolina win three straight since Cam Newton was sidelined.
The Buccaneers will be playing in London for a third time, though this will be their first overseas game against a division opponent. The Bucs also played two games at London's Wembley Stadium, dropping decisions to the New England Patriots in 2009 and the Chicago Bears in 2011.
Tampa Bay's most pressing concern will be Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey, who followed up his NFC Offensive Player of the Month honors in September by blitzing the Jaguars for 237 yards and three touchdowns. McCaffrey has at least 150 yards from scrimmage and at least one touchdown in four of Carolina's five games so far. The exception was Tampa Bay's Week Two win at Bank of America Stadium, in which he was held to just 53 totals yards and no scores in a 20-14 Bucs' victory.