Carolina Panthers (6-9) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-7)
|Date & Time||Sunday January 1, 2017, 1:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Tampa Bay Buccaneers -6 -- Over/Under: 47.5
The Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers meet Sunday afternoon in a NFL regular season finale at Raymond James Stadium.
The Carolina Panthers look to end the season on a high note after splitting their last 10 games. The Carolina Panthers have lost six of their last eight road games. Cam Newton is completing 52.7 percent of his passes for 3,272 yards, 18 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Newton has one or less touchdown pass in seven of his last nine games. Greg Olsen and Kelvin Benjamin have combined for 1,899 receiving yards and nine touchdowns while Ted Ginn Jr. has 50 receptions. The Carolina Panthers ground game is averaging 112.4 yards per contest, and Jonathan Stewart leads the way with 759 yards and eight touchdowns. Defensively, Carolina is allowing 25.7 points and 363.7 yards per game. Thomas Davis leads the Carolina Panthers with 104 tackles, Kawann Short has six sacks and Kurt Coleman has four interceptions.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers look for their ninth victory of the season to keep their fringe playoff hopes alive. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have won three straight home games. Jameis Winston is completing 61.1 percent of his passes for 3,888 yards, 27 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Winston has two or more touchdown passes in seven of his last 10 games. Mike Evans and Cameron Brate have combined for 1,916 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns while Adam Humphries has 45 receptions. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers ground game is averaging 100.3 yards per contest, and Jacquizz Rodgers leads the way with 485 yards and two touchdowns. Defensively, Tampa Bay is allowing 23.5 points and 370.1 yards per game. Kwon Alexander leads the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with 135 tackles, Gerald McCoy has seven sacks and Brent Grimes has three interceptions.
The Panthers are 2-8-1 ATS in their last 11 road games and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games in January. The Buccaneers are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games in January and 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games overall. The Panthers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings in Tampa Bay and 5-2 ATS in their last 7 meetings overall.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are still playing for a shot at a playoff spot and have played their best football recently on their home field. The Carolina Panthers seem to be motivated to play less and less these days and the last regular season game in humid Tampa Bay with nothing on the line is one of those games they're likely going to tank. The Panthers have either won or played the Buccaneers close over the years, but the fact Tampa Bay is at home and has something to play for the last week is the tipping point for me. I'd side with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to beat the Carolina Panthers by a touchdown here.