NFL Week 16 Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, December 19, 2017 11:20 PM UTC

Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017 11:20 PM UTC

It’s the home finale for Carolina on Sunday against Tampa Bay, which is playing out the string. However, the Panthers are still gunning for a home playoff game. Survivor Pick: Carolina.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers (-10, 46.5)

The Panthers have been as impressive as any team the past two weeks with matching 31-24 home wins over the previously red-hot Minnesota Vikings in Week 14 and then the Green Bay Packers last Sunday in Aaron Rodgers’ return from a broken collarbone. That Carolina win kept it tied with New Orleans atop the NFC South and, as it turned out, knocked the Packers from playoff contention. Against the Bucs, Carolina will clinch a playoff berth with a win or tie OR with a Cowboys-Seahawks tie. If both Carolina and Atlanta win Sunday (Falcons are in New Orleans), the Week 17 game Panthers-Falcons game in Atlanta will decide the NFC South champion. If the Panthers win out and the Rams, Vikings and Saints all go 1-1 or worse, the Panthers would get the NFC’s No. 2 seed because they own the head-to-head tiebreaker over Minnesota. Then again, the Cats could miss the playoffs if they lose out and the winner of Sunday’s Seahawks-Cowboys game wins out. Carolina would lose the tiebreaker due to conference record. The Bucs are on a short week after losing at home to the Falcons on Monday night and just looking for this season to end.

  • Buccaneers are 1-6-1 ATS in their last 8 road games.
  • Panthers are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
Free NFL Pick: Panthers -9.5 (buy down from 10)Best Line Offered: Intertops

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This will be the Panthers’ first game since the players and coaches found out about all the allegations surrounding owner Jerry Richardson and that he’s putting the team up for sale after the season. I doubt that’s an on-field distraction. Carolina will be missing one of its best defensive players in linebacker Thomas Davis as he was suspended two games for an illegal cutback block on Green Bay’s Davante Adams last week. Shaq Thompson, Carolina's other starting outside linebacker who has missed the last two games with a foot injury, hopes to return this week. The Bucs have generally played just well enough to lose this year. They kept losing more guys to injury in Monday’s loss. Tight end O.J. Howard and WR DeSean Jackson were seen in walking boots after the game. Guard J.R. Sweezy left with a leg injury and has been placed on injured reserve. Tampa lost at home to Carolina in Week 8, 17-3. A similar score wouldn’t surprise me here.

  • Under is 4-1 in Buccaneers last 5 vs. NFC South.
  • Under is 6-2 in the last 8 meetings.
Free NFL Pick: Under 46.5Best Line Offered: GT Bets

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