• Carolina defense continues to not allow RB Targets
  • We are still awaiting the Curtis Samuel breakout game 
  • There is one ats side that I would play tonight

Tampa Offense vs Carolina Defense:

  • 2018 Carolina Defensive Target Share Splits Allowed
    • RB: 30th   (4th in yds/att allowed)
    • TE: 15th       (25th in yds/att allowed)
    • WR: 16th   (25th in yds/att allowed)
  • It’s only one game but in last week’s game against the Rams, it was much of the same in that the Rams only attempted one pass to an RB against this Panthers defense. Carolina did allow six targets to TEs and 31 to WRs but just like last season, they took away RB targets.
  • Tampa rarely throws to RBs anyway so don’t expect too many targets to Peyton Barber or Ronald Jones. If the Bucs do fall behind, then Dare Ogunbowale is a guy who could get targets during catch up mode as he did last week.
  • In two games last season against this Carolina defense, the Bucs targeted RBs only seven times. They attempted 17 and 47 passes to TEs and WRs, respectively, and an 8.1 yards per attempt figure to those WRs. 
  • In the two games last season, Mike Evans led the Bucs in targets with 16 but that only translated into five receptions for 64 yards. Evans also struggled last week against SF and was playing with an illness. It will be interesting to see how impactful he can be tonight.
  • Chris Godwin turned in a 9-7-141 stat line in the two games last season and looks to gain target share with the departure of Adam Humphries. Humphries went for 15 receptions on 17 targets and 143 yards in those two games. 
  • The Carolina defense was dead last in the NFL defending No. 2 WRs last season according to DVOA and 24th defending TEs. They were also 27th in defending the deep ball. Godwin as the No. 2 WR for Tampa looks to have the potential of a really nice game with tremendous upside in yardage.
  • In terms of running the football, as mentioned above, Tampa is currently employing a timeshare among all three RBs. To accurately project what will happen with any of the three tonight, you must have a good idea of the game flow and who has the hot hand. The best bet is probably Jones, since he is the most talented of the three. Arians sang his praises after last Sunday’s game, so when looking at potential upside Jones definitely has the highest ceiling. The Panthers were 18th in defensive DVOA last season and allowed 5.2 yards per carry to the Rams last week. Depending on if Tampa can get ahead early, Jones may be able to take advantage of his opportunity. 

Carolina Offense vs Tampa Defense:

  • 2018 Tampa Defensive Target Share Splits 
    • RB: 10th   (26th in yds/att allowed)
    • TE: 14th       (31st in yds/att allowed)
    • WR: 14th   (17th in yds/att allowed)
  • Last week against San Francisco, the Tampa defense did not allow Jimmy Garoppolo to have a big game and none of the position groups were targeted often or for many big gains.
  • Last week Christian McCaffrey led the team in targets with 11, followed by D.J. Moore’s 10 and Greg Olsen’s 9. Curtis Samuel caught 3 passes for 32 yards on only 4 targets.
  • Last season against Tampa, Samuel led the Panthers WRs with 15 targets followed by Moore’s 10 targets. Tampa was bottom four in most every DVOA passing category last season. However, it is difficult to use much of what Tampa did on defense last year and translate it to this season with new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles as well as an influx of new talent.
  • We keep hearing about Samuel’s breakout, but this has not come to fruition as of yet. In 9 starts, including last week against the Rams, Samuel has averaged 5.9 targets, 3.3 receptions, and 44.4 yards per game. For whatever reason, Samuel’s best games have come on the road and in six home games as a starter he has averaged only 26.7 yards per game. He has yet to clear 41 yards receiving in any home game as a starter.
  • In two games against Tampa’s defense in 2018, Cam Newton ran for exactly 33 yards both times. Last week, Newton only ran the ball three times for minus-2 yards. It’s obvious he did not want to put any more stress on his injured foot. It will be interesting to see if he takes off more often tonight or if this is an ongoing issue.
  • McCaffery had tremendous success against Tampa’s defense last season, rushing for 185 yards on 27 carries and 6.85 ypc. CMC had a monster opening season game against the Rams, rushing for 128 yards on 19 carries. His ability to explode on any carry makes him one of the most dangerous RBs in the NFL. If you are ever sitting on his under rushing yardage props, you will be holding your breath on every carry.

ATS Side I like tonight: Tampa +7 (-115) on 5Dimes

  • Last week, Tampa lost by 14 points, but the final score was not indicative of the actual game. Tampa outgained SF 4.5 to 4.3 on a yards per play basis. Stop me if you’ve heard this before but Jameis Winston’s turnovers were the difference in this game. You just can’t handicap two pick 6s allowed. Tampa is one of those teams where you hate backing as a small underdog or favorite because of the volatility of Winston’s play. However, as a big underdog, the Bucs tend to keep games close. In their last six games as an underdog of 7+ points, Tampa is 4-2 ats and 13-8 ats in the last five seasons in this situation. As an underdog of 7+ in division games in the first half of the season, the Bucs are 4-0 ats in the last five years. That includes three outright victories for Tampa.