The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will look to build on their opening week 17-14 victory over Cleveland as they head north to face their NFC South Division rival Carolina Panthers this Sunday. It will be a battle of two teams that before the season began were expected to occupy the basement of the south Division.
The Bucs head to Carolina with a renewed sense of optimism surrounding the team coming off the win against Cleveland, a game that saw both sides of the ball contribute in big moments. The defense was dominant in the second half of that game, allowing only four first downs and no points to's and will need to maintain that level of play if they plan to bottle up Carolina's dynamic running back duo.
In two games in 2009, the Panthers ran all over the Buccaneers' defense as DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart combined for 382 yards in two games despite Williams missing one of those games. Stewart has gone over 100 yards in each of his last 3 tilts with the Bucs and there is no doubt the Panthers will attempt to continue the trend Sunday by pounding the rock early and often.
Matt Moore has taken over the quarterbacking duties in Carolina with the departure of Jake Delhomme but suffered a concussion last week in the defeat to theand his status at this time is in question. If Moore can't go, rookie out of Notre Dame will make his first start under center in the NFL. Clausen threw two passes late in the loss to the Giants, both incomplete.
Panthers head coach John Fox told the Charlotte Observer that he would not dumb down the play book if Clausen were forced to start Sunday.