Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 11/16/12
When the Carolina Panthers traveled to Tampa Bay in Week 1, the Bucs were able to escape with a 16-10 victory.This time around the Panthers will be at home which may be a bigger an advantage than you might think.Despite a very disappointing season, Carolina fans are still going out to the stadium with an attendance of 73,000 per game.The Bucs on the other hand, with a competitive team, is last in the NFL with about 54,000 per game.Good for you Carolina and shame on you Tampa Bay.Unfortunately for the Panthers home field advantage is not likely going to be enough to keep up with Tampa Bay.The Bucs’ offense is running on all cylinders, averaging 35.6 points over their last five games compared to 16.6 for the Panthers. Winning four of their last five, Tampa is playing great, their confident, and fighting for a playoff spot while Carolina is struggling, questioning each other, and fighting for anything to build on. Here are my three bold predictions for the game.1. Turnovers will keep Tampa in total control of the game.Part of the reason for the Bucs’ recent hot streak is turnover margin. In their last four games, Tampa has just one giveaway and they are third in the NFL with a +11 turnover margin on the year. The Panthers are 26th in the NFL with a -5 margin.2. Cam Newton will throw for at least 350 yards in a decisive loss.Despite handing out multi-million dollar contracts to any running back who asks for one, the Panthers still average just 109 rushing yards per game, and 39 of those yards come from their quarterback.Add the fact that the Bucs have allowed the fewest rushing yards in the NFL with just 80.1 yards per contest and it’s safe to expect the passing game to be a big part of the Panthers' offensive strategy.Newton’s season high of 314 passing yards came against Chicago with his second most of 303 yards coming at Tampa in Week 1. While the Bucs are third in the NFL with 15 interceptions, they are dead last in passing yards allowed surrendering an astounding 321.3 yards per game.3. The “Muscle Hamster” will finish with over 200 total yards.Not only does Doug Martin have one of the coolest nicknames of all time, he is also a huge factor in the Bucs recent hot streak. In his last five games, Martin has averaged 171.6 total yards compared to 75 in his first four contests.If the Bucs can take control of this game as expected, look for Martin to gain some carries. Not only is Martin incredibly explosive, he has proven to the Bucs he can protect the ball having yet to fumble all season.
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