CAROLINA (4-3) at TAMPA BAY (2-4)
Sunday, 1 p.m. EST, Fox
OPENING LINE - Buccaneers by 2
RECORD VS. SPREAD - Carolina 3-4, Tampa Bay 1-4-1
SERIES RECORD - Panthers lead 20-13
LAST MEETING - Buccaneers beat Panthers 17-16, Jan. 1
LAST WEEK - Panthers lost to Bears 17-3; Buccaneers lost to Bills 30-27
AP PRO32 RANKING - Panthers No. 13, Buccaneers No. 28
PANTHERS OFFENSE - OVERALL (19), RUSH (T21), PASS (16)
PANTHERS DEFENSE - OVERALL (3), RUSH (4), PASS (4)
BUCCANEERS OFFENSE - OVERALL (2), RUSH (30), PASS (1)
BUCCANEERS DEFENSE - OVERALL (30), RUSH (T17), PASS (30)
STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES - Buccaneers’ first game against divisional opponent. Swept season series between NFC South rivals year ago after losing six straight from 2013-15. … In nine career meetings vs. Bucs, Panthers QB Cam Newton has thrown for 2,068 yards, 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Also has eight rushing TDs. … RB Christian McCaffrey leads NFL rookies with 44 receptions, is second in receiving yards with 329. … Panthers DE Julius Peppers has 150 career sacks, one shy of passing Hall of Famer Chris Doleman for fourth on all-time list. He has 6 1/2 sacks and two forced fumbles in past five meetings vs. Bucs. Peppers leads Panthers with 6 1/2 sacks. Bucs have seven as team, last in NFL. … Bucs have NFL’s No. 1 ranked passing offense, partly the product of playing from behind much of time because of porous defense that’s yielded 408.5 yards and 25.2 points per game. … QB Jameis Winston coming off throwing for 384 yards and three TDs in 30-27 loss to Bills. With 225 yards vs. Panthers, he would reach 10,000 career yards passing in 39th game. That would tie Peyton Manning for sixth-fewest games needed to reach mark. … TE Cameron Brate has 12 TD receptions since start of last season, most by NFL tight end over that span. … Rookie TE O.J. Howard coming off breakout against Bills with six receptions for 98 yards, two TDs. Fantasy tip: Newton has accounted for 23 TDs in nine career meetings. Panthers WRs Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess also have history of big days against Bucs, who are 30th in pass defense. Bucs WR Mike Evans has 15 receptions for 253 yards and two TDs in past three vs. Panthers. WR DeSean Jackson, in first season with Bucs, has been tough on Panthers, too, with 12 catches for 198 yards, one TD in past two games against Carolina.
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