Carolina at Tampa Bay
The Panthers did what everybody does and beat the Colts while the Bucs lost a smash-mouth game to the Titans.
There was actually a DeAngelo Williams sighting, as he scored twice and gained 69 yards. Jonathan Stewart had 70 yards on 10 carries. Cam Newton was pretty lousy throwing the ball, with 208 yards and no scores, but he picked up another rushing TD. He’s still a No. 1 QB, obviously.
LeGarrette Blount is really the only Buccaneer you can start with any confidence on a regular basis, showing he is completely recovered from his knee injury by gaining 103 yards rushing and adding another 56 yards receiving. But Josh Freeman has clearly regressed and no Tampa Bay receiver has been consistent enough to be able to start with any confidence.
Not that you’d think about it this week, anyway. Actually, this has all the makings of a quickly played, run-dominated game because both rushing defenses are so terrible. The Buccaneers are giving up an average of 140 YPG on the ground, while the Panthers are just as bad, allowing 138 YPG. The Panthers have surrendered 15 rushing scores while Tampa Bay has allowed 13. Those totals are, respectively, the worst and second-worst in the league. Their passing defenses aren’t a whole lot better, but this one looks like a ground-and-pound game all the way.
QB Cam Newton, RB Jonathan Stewart, RB DeAngelo Williams, RB LeGarrette Blount
MIDDLE OF THE ROAD STARTS:
WR Steve Smith
QB Josh Freeman and any Buccaneer receiver – they are just not trustworthy, especially this time of season.