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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday night
On Bye

Prediction: TB 13, CAR 20

Nothing like two home games against struggling teams to let the Buccaneers rise to 2-1 on the season. The Panthers rise to 2-1 on the year against struggling teams on the road. Now the Panthers are at home where they have only lost and the Buccaneers are on the road where they too have not yet won. But the Cats at home should bring enough defense in this one to take it without too much trouble.

The Panthers swept the Buccaneers last season, winning 24-10 at home and 26-24 on the road.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1)
Homefield: Raymond James Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @SEA 6-20 +6 41
2 NO 31-14 +3.5 41.5
3 STL 24-3 -4 38.5
5 @IND 7-Oct SUN 4:05 PM
6 TEN 14-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
7 @DET 21-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
8 JAC 28-Oct SUN 4:05 PM
9 ARI 4-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
10 BYE - - -
11 @ATL 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 WAS 25-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
13 @NO 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 @HOU 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 ATL 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 @SF 23-Dec SUN 8:15 PM
17 CAR 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
TBB at CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Jeff Garcia     220,1
RB Carnell Williams 50 10  
RB Michael Pittman 30 30  
TE Alex Smith   50  
WR Joey Galloway   70  
WR Michael Clayton   20  
WR Ike Hilliard   30,1  
PK Matt Bryant 2 FG 1 XP  
Pregame Notes: No denying that the Buccaneers defense has looked good this year in holding opponents to an average of less than 13 points per game but the only decent defense that the Bucs offense has faced were the Seahawks who held them to just two field goals. And that was with a healthy Carnell Williams. Now the Buccaneers hit the road three times in the next four weeks with one home game against the Titans. If they can clear those with even one win it will be success enough.

Quarterback: After three games, Jeff Garcia certainly hasn't lit any fires on the offense in Tampa Bay. He only has one game with a passing score and only averages around 200 passing yards per week. He no longer runs the ball so his value has been largely waiting for home games to face soft secondaries which does not describe this week.

Running Backs: Carnell Williams re-aggravated his rib injury last week and left during the second half and did not return. Williams had already scored once in the game giving him a lofty three scores on the season after only managing one in 2006. Both Michael Pittman (7-56) and Earnest Graham (8-75, 2 TDs) filled in admirably against the bumbling Rams defense. At this point the team does not expect his rib injury to be severe and Williams could play this week but if he does have any problems, they will not hesitate to use either Pittman or Graham who impressed the coaches. For a rushing game that hasn't done too much this year, the added risk of Williams not playing or at least not finishing the game reduces his fantasy value even further this week.

Williams only gained 48 and 44 rushing yards in two meetings with the Panthers last year and never scored.

Wide Receivers: The only aspect of this passing game with a shred of fantasy value remains Joey Galloway but the bad beat put on the Rams last week meant Galloway only had four catches for 42 yards after far better efforts in the two initial weeks. Michael Clayton is getting playing time again but so far only has two catches on the year while Ike Hilliard manages 30 or 40 yards per game.

Galloway scored once in the homestand against the Panthers but only had the single catch for seven yards. On the road in Carolina, he had five receptions for 87 yards.

Tight Ends: Alex Smith started the year with 45 yards on just two receptions but did little against the Saints and had no catches against the Rams. But Smith matters more in games that are challenging as this one will be. Expect better numbers from Smith because the Bucs will need all the targets they can get.

Match Against the Defense: Williams never had a decent rushing effort against the Panthers last year and now he is nursing sore ribs and is not even a lock to start the game let alone finish it. Expect a much worse showing by the Tampa Bay backfield this week.

Garcia faces a secondary that has always given up one or two scores this year and even Joey Harrington had a huge game against them last weekend but the Bucs are going to be limited to looking for Galloway as always and that should hold him to just moderate numbers this week.. Garcia should throw for one score and that favors Hilliard the most but could go anywhere.

Gaining Fantasy Points TB 25 4 19 22 23 21
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 23 6 23 24 23 19


Carolina Panthers (2-1)
Homefield: Bank of America Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @STL 27-13 -1 42
2 HOU 21-34 -6.5 39
3 @ATL 27-20 -4 37.5
5 @NO 7-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
6 @ARI 14-Oct SUN 4:05 PM
7 BYE - - -
8 IND 28-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
9 @TEN 4-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
10 ATL 11-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
11 @GB 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 NO 25-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
13 SF 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 @JAC 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 SEA 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 DAL 22-Dec SAT 8:15 PM
17 @TB 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
CAR vs TBB Rush Catch Pass
QB David Carr 20   190,1
RB DeShaun Foster 90,1 10  
RB DeAngelo Williams 50 20  
TE Jeff King   50  
WR Steve Smith   60,1  
WR Keary Colbert   10  
WR Drew Carter   30  
PK John Kasay 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Panthers won last week but lost Jake Delhomme to an elbow injury in the process. That puts a different slant on this game but not necessarily a bad one since David Carr obviously is ready to start and often new quarterbacks find success in their first game out. The Panthers rushing game looked great last week as they always do against the Falcons but more will be needed this week against the best defense they have faced this season. The Panthers have a realistic shot at being 5-1 going into their bye week.

Quarterback: Jake Delhomme had been enjoying a rejuvenation this season with multiple scores in each game but the elbow injury will have him missing at least this week and potentially more. That leaves the off-season acquisition of David Carr to already look like money well spent. Carr could have chosen an easier opponent but at least the game is at home this week and the Buccaneers offense is unlikely to cause any shootout. Delhomme's MRI was all negative this week and he has not been ruled out, but pending more favorable reports I will expect Carr to start.

Delhomme threw for 272 yards in Tampa Bay last year with one score and later had two touchdowns with 240 passing yards when the Bucs came to town in week ten.

Running Backs: The great news here is that DeShaun Foster had a great game of 122 yards and one score last week against the Falcons. The bad news is that for some bizarre reason, he always does that despite struggling against many other teams. He just has a thing for the Falcons. Foster did run for 94 yards on 17 carries in the home opener though but then only managed 22 yards on nine carries in the only home game this year. DeAngelo Williams offers solid support to the running game and gets almost as many carries as Foster has in two of the three games this year. Foster's big game last Sunday should secure him as the much heavier used back this week though.

Foster gained 82 rushing yards at home against the Bucs in 2006 but only managed 48 yards on the road against them.

Wide Receivers: After two torrid weeks that produced 271 yards and three scores, Steve Smith was held to just one catch against the Falcons while being blanketed by DeAngelo Hall with whom he had numerous verbal and physical altercations with him during the game. When Smith doesn't do much, this unit does not rise to the occasion though. Drew Carter and Keary Colbert have been nearly invisible this year and the rookie Dwayne Jarrett has yet to see a regular season pass. As long as the rushing game has success, the Panthers can weather Smith not having a big game but without it, the Panthers will struggle offensively despite trying to find a #2 complement for Smith. Releasing Keyshawn Johnson hasn't really hurt yet, but it could eventually.

Steve Smith caught seven passes for 112 yards in Tampa Bay last year and had eight catches for 149 yards and one score at home against them.

Tight Ends: One definite bright spot has been the play of Jeff King. He has turned in at least four catches each week for at least 35 yards and finally had his first NFL score last week. With the non-Smith wideouts doing so little, King should continue to quietly have a decent season.

Match Against the Defense: The Buccaneers have already allowed two runners to top 100 rushing yards this year so expect Foster to have a decent game here that can only turn big if the Panthers get a big early lead. With Carr potentially starting, the Panthers will no doubt prefer to run even more than usual so Foster makes a decent start this week.

The Buccaneers have a decent secondary that has not allowed more than 70 yards to an opposing receiver this year and with questions at quarterback this week it makes expectations even less solid. This doesn't look like a game that will have a lot of passing in it, even less if Carr plays, and the Bucs should be able to at least limit Smith from having a big game unless of course he breaks a long one. The Bucs have given up only one touchdown to a wide out this year. Expect lower passing numbers in this game.

Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 6 13 4 11 20 30
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 6 26 9 3 3 4

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