Ryan Fitzpatrick will lead the Buccaneers into Carolina as the starting quarterback after a relief dose of Fitzmagic almost pulled out a wild game in Cincinnati.
Jameis Winston was benched after his fourth interception before Fitzpatrick led the Buccaneers to a pair of scores and a late-game tie, only to lose on a last-second field goal.
Meanwhile, Cam Newton and the Panthers made short work of the Ravens defense in a 36-21 thrashing. Newton kept the Panthers within a game of the red-hot Saints in the NFC South.
It wasn’t a huge performance by Newton, but two touchdowns on 21/29 passing and no turnovers was more than enough. He distributed the ball well and tacked on 52 yards on 10 rushes.
It was vintage Newton and bodes well for Carolina’s playoff push. With a game against the surging Steelers in Week 10, the Panthers want to take care of the Buccaneers this week.
Tampa’s fading playoff hopes will rely on a return of Fitzpatrick’s early-season success. If the defense doesn’t improve, however, it may be too tall a task for the veteran journeyman.
Injuries and notes
Cam Newton was listed as questionable and limited in practice in what was probably a veteran relief move.
Torrey Smith is also listed as questionable.
Panthers corner Captain Munnerlyn suffered a hamstring injury in Carolina’s win. He joins safety Rashaan Golden and linebacker Andre Smith on the questionable list.
Tampa Bay lists half their defense on the injury report, but no one is expected to miss this week’s matchup.
Running back Ronald Jones will miss the game, however, as he recovers from a pulled hamstring.
Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter pulled the trigger on a quarterback change as his own job security becomes shakier by the day. Winston is in a prove-it situation along with his coach as the Buccaneers look ready to go another direction in 2019. But self-preservation forced Koetter to do something as the Bengals pulled away last week.
Carolina’s Ron Rivera is not as nervous about his job. The Panthers are right where he wants them, pounding on the door to the playoffs where they have a shot at the Super Bowl he declared was the minimally accepted indication of success this year.
How to watch the Panthers-Buccaneers game
Fox Sports will show this game in the local markets during the early time slot. Internet television subscribers can follow along on Sling TV, Fubo, or DirecTV Now.
If you are not aware that Sling, Fubo TV, and DirecTV Now carry all the NFL action live stream from the licensed networks, you need to get on the internet and check out what else they can do for you.
With subscription rates starting at a fraction of the cost of cable and satellite, and no contracts or expensive equipment needed, it’s no wonder millions of Americans have cut the cord with their cable and satellite providers and joined the internet television crowd.
You should too. Take advantage of free trials to see how much Sling, Fubo TV, and DirecTV Now offer in your area.
Who will win the Panthers-Buccaneers game?
Ryan Fitzpatrick gave his team a boost in relief last week, but facing a prepared Panthers defense is another task altogether.
Look for the Panthers to extend their perfect home record at the expense of the Buccaneers.