The Buccaneers can win the NFC South for the first time since 2007 with a win against the Carolina Panthers. The Bucs could have sealed up the division last week but instead of playing well, they did not, and were shut out 9-0 at home in a defensive game for the ages. That loss will hopefully give the Bucs motivation to finish their season strong and secure a spot in the playoffs. They only need to win one of their last three games to clinch the division and a home game in the wildcard round.
The Panthers are 0-4 in their last four games. Cam Newton has yet to lead them to a victory as the starter since his return five weeks ago. But the Bucs suffer from injuries on both sides of the ball. Key players such as Chris Godwin, Leonard Fournette, Lavonte David and many others suffered injuries. On a more positive note, the Bucs finally get Antonio Brown back for the first time since Week 6. He suffered an ankle injury, and endured a 3-game suspension for evading Covid protocol. He will be a sight for sore eyes for Bucs fans come Sunday.
Entering the game as a ten point favorite, the Bucs aim to continue their dominance. They swept the Panthers last year, and it does not seem like they will have much of an issue this year. The Panthers are 5-9, and 2-9 since starting the season 3-0. This game will be important for the Bucs to gain their footing after an embarrassing loss to the Saints. The Panthers defense is an elite unit, led by one of this year’s Pro Bowlers, Brian Burns. If the Bucs offense can go back to scoring points, then the Panthers defense should not be much of a match for them. The Panthers offense is less than good, and even a depleted Bucs defense should be enough to stop them.
A win and a guaranteed spot in the playoffs would be a nice belated Christmas gift for Bucs fans. There is no such thing as an easy game in the NFL, but the Buccaneers have the easiest remaining schedule, and two of their three remaining games are against the Panthers. A win guarantees them at least the 4-seed in the playoffs at the minimum. The game is this Sunday at 1:00 p.m. EST at Carolina. The Bucs will be hungry for a win this week, especially with everything at stake.
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