After 3 consecutive wins, Carolina faces Tampa Bay this weekend in the 2nd fixture between the 2 teams this season.
However, this time things will be a little different. Instead of going on the road to Florida, the Panthers will face their division rivals in London as Carolina takes part in it’s first UK based game in franchise history.
As an England based fan of the team, this will be my first time getting to watch the team in person. Here are the keys that I believe will help lead our squad to victory this weekend in Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
1. Restricting Chris Godwin.
For the most part of Sunday’s game, Mike Evans and James Bradberry will lock horns in another battle that we’ve seen be fiercely contested over the last couple of years. The follow up question in terms of coverage will be who defends Tampa’s break out receiver Chris Godwin.
It’s looking likely that Donte Jackson will be back from injury to start for the Panthers, and will have his hands full right from the start in terms of trying to contain one of the most electric pass catchers in the league so far this season.
Expect the Safety rotation to help out as much as they can to contain the Tampa wideouts, but for the most part, this will be a big game in showing how big a player Jackson can be for this team going forward
2. Trust Kyle Allen to throw.
The Tampa Bay Bucs have been one of the league’s most successful teams when it comes to defending the run so far this season. Which does not bode well for a Carolina team who has depended heavily on 3rd year Running Back Christian McCaffrey.
The silver lining is that the Buccaneers also rank near the bottom of the league when it comes to defending against the pass – which should lead to the Panthers trying to lead more through Kyle Allen when it comes to putting up points this weekend.
Whilst Allen has struggled in his past 2 starts, Carolina should have enough talent in their pass catchers between Samuel, Moore, Olsen and indeed, McCaffrey, out of the backfield to be able to find success through the air this weekend. Especially with OC Norv Turner calling games as well as he has been so far this season.
3. Be Aggressive in Game Management.
If there’s one thing that Tampa have proven in the 3 games since we last faced them, it’s that they are able to put up a lot of points over the course of 4 Quarters.
Though the Panthers have found 4th down success in big pressure situations hard to come by so far this season, they should not let it defer them from going all out when it comes to the game this Sunday.
As the Bucs sacrificed a game in their stadium for this matchup, it is technically as well as literally a road game for the Panthers, and with them also looking to even up a tie breaker against their NFC South counterparts, there should be no reason why they shouldn’t go out Sunday and be in ‘just win’ mode from the 1st play onwards.
Carolina has a huge following overseas, and many will be in attendance this weekend for what will be a once in a lifetime experience for a lot of fans. Fingers crossed the team can bring their best to London and send Panther nation home happy, no matter where home may be for many of the fans in attendance.