The Panthers went into Kansas City last weekend as heavy underdogs. To be fair The Chiefs are the defending Super Bowl champions and the Panthers had been on a 3 game losing streak. So obviously nobody was picking the Panthers to even be competitive. However, Matt Rhule and his team came ready to play. With All Pro running back Christian Mccaffrey finally returning from injured reserve along with an aggressive offensive game plan the Panthers were able to start fast and put the defending champs in a hole.
Week 9 Review
The first drive concluded with a 4th down attempt that turned into a Mccaffrey touchdown. After holding Kansas City to a field goal on their first possession Coach Rhule decided to keep his foot on the gas. After the drive appeared to stall, The coaching staff pulled a fake punt for the ages. Calling on an undrafted rookie punter Joseph Charlton to deliver a pass to Brandon Zylstra, a wide receiver who usually only sees the field on special teams. The play worked to perfection, The chiefs were not ready, Zylstra was streaking wide open down the middle of the field and Charlton looked as if he was a quarterback not a punter; placing a 20 yard dime of a pass right into Zylstra’s hands. That is the kind of play call that can swing a game, especially playing on the road as an underdog team.
The Panthers went on to score again that drive, 14-3 Panthers. Carolina’s young defense then went and forced another field goal which is very impressive considering the units youth and their opponent (Patrick Mahomes). The Panthers were able to go in to halftime clinging to a 17-13 lead.
In the second half the Chiefs did what they do best, they put up points and a lot of them, very quickly. But this Panthers team is scrappy. Teddy Bridgewater has proven his doubters wrong time and again with not just his heart but his stats. Go check them out if you still doubt the guy. Teddy drove the Panthers as close as he possibly could to a victory. The 4th and 14 QB scramble was miraculous to watch. Then finding a way to get the offense into the end zone again and again was remarkable. This was the type of game where it came down to the last play, a 67 yard field goal attempt for Joey Slye, which to be fair would’ve been an NFL record by 4 yards, the kick was way wide right. The Panthers are now on a 4 game losing streak.
Week 10 Preview
All that sets the stage for this week. If the Panthers are a playoff team it’s going to come down the stretch as it always does.
This week the Tampa Buccaneers and Tom Brady are headed to Charlotte for a 1pm date on Sunday with The Panthers. This is a must win game for both teams. Tampa is limping in to this one after being embarrassed 38-3 on national television by the New Orleans Saints.
The last time Tampa and Carolina played Tampa was the better team. Since then the two teams have been on completely different trends. The Panthers are a young team that is only getting hungrier and better each week. The Bucs seem to be struggling a bit with an aging roster. Tom Brady is not the same old Tom everyone knows from New England. Just look at his stats recently, stats don’t lie. Teddy Bridgewater statistically is a Top 5 qb right now. Not to even mention his receivers DJ Moore, Curtis Samuel and Robby Anderson, have been playing lights out.
This game for the Panthers really is do or die considering the remaining schedule. Lose this game and almost any and all hope of a playoff run is over. But if they can steal a win at home then get your rally caps on because here comes the 2020 version of the Cardiac Cats.
Week 10 Prediction
My prediction for this week is that the panthers young but very skilled defense anchored by the likes of Jeremy Chinn and Brian Burns are going to apply a lot of pressure on Tom Brady. The Panthers offense led by Teddy Bridgewater and Robby Anderson will simply put up more points than Tampa. If this Panthers team can play the same way they did last week in Kansas City than they can beat anybody in the NFL.
This coaching staff has this team on track to do big things. They are on track now but hey, nobody likes losing, especially to a rival. Just because it’s a “rebuilding year” doesn’t mean you have to lose. Panthers 35 Buccaneers 27.