Carolina (-3.5) 21 TAMPA BAY 17
Carolina should be feeling a bit better about themselves after beating Washington last week after losing their first 3 games. Carolina is also still a pretty solid team and the Panthers can still make a run at the playoffs. In 3 games since their opening week debacle against Philly (a 10-38 home loss), the Panthers have been only 0.3 yards per play worse than average offensively (5.4 yppl against teams that would allow 5.7 yppl to an average team) while being 0.4 yppl better than average on defense (5.6 yppl allowed to teams that would average 6.0 yppl against an average defense).
Carolina's defense also played very well in that Philly loss, allowing just 4.3 yppl to a good Eagles' offense and that unit should have no trouble containing a sub-par Buccaneers' attack that has averaged just 4.1 yppl in quarterback Josh Johnson's two starts (against teams that would allow 4.8 yppl to an average team).
Carolina's sub-par attack should also perform pretty well against a horrible Bucs' defense that has allowed 6.4 yppl this season (to teams that would average 5.6 yppl against an average defensive unit). The Panthers are averaging -2.25 in turnover margin per game, which is tough to overcome, but they aren't going to continue to lose the turnover battle nearly that badly going forward (although they're likely to be negative with Delhomme historically throwing more interceptions than an average quarterback).
Tampa quarterback Josh Johnson has thrown 4 interceptions on 82 passes and my math model projects the turnovers to be even in this game. If that's the case then the Panthers will win.
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