The Carolina Panthers are 5-2 and coming off their best game of the 2018 NFL season. The Panthers dominated on both sides of the ball in a 36-21 victory over the Baltimore Ravens in Week 8, and a win this week could propel them into a tie for first place in the NFC South.
The New Orleans Saints will also need to lose to the undefeated Los Angeles Rams for that to be possible. However, Carolina is heavily favored to defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
Games aren’t won on paper, though, especially when it comes to divisional contests. Those games often prove to be a different animal than non-divisional matchups. Thus, the Panthers must beware when the Buccaneers visit on Sunday.
Nevertheless, the Panthers should beat Tampa Bay. After splitting its first two games of the season, Carolina has won four of its past five. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers have lost four of their past five contests after starting the year with back-to-back wins.
Then again, most of those losses have been by a single score, so the Buccaneers have been able to hang around in almost every game. As a result, it is important for the Panthers to keep their foot on the gas throughout Sunday’s contest in order to avoid an upset.
Carolina will be going for its 10th consecutive home win on Sunday, and the Panthers are 42-22 at home since 2011. That’s when the Cam Newton-Ron Rivera era began, by the way.
Here are three keys to a Panthers victory over the Buccaneers in Week 9.
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