Five fearless predictions for Sunday’s Carolina Panthers (6-5) game at Tampa Bay (4-7):
1. Picks a’plenty
Carolina knows that, in order to help snap a three-game skid, it needs to force turnovers. Luckily for them, Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston has thrown 11 picks in six games.
Cornerback James Bradberry will get his first pick of the season against Winston this Sunday, as Winston targets Evans.
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2. Chris Godwin steps in, and up
With veteran speedy receiver DeSean Jackson ruled out for Sunday, second-year Tampa Bay wideout Chris Godwin will see an increase in targets.
Carolina’s fast, physical rookie cornerback Donte Jackson played DeSean Jackson well on Sunday. But I’d imagine Godwin’s style of play presents a matchup problem for the Panthers, who have been inconsistent against complementary receivers all year. He’ll catch eight passes for 95 yards and a touchdown.
3. The hot hand
Receiver Devin Funchess is likely back this Sunday after missing last week’s game with a back injury. Carolina got a glimpse of what their smaller, faster and more versatile lineup can do, and will continue to “play the hot hand” with receivers Curtis Samuel and DJ Moore.
Moore will lead the team with 10 targets, followed by five for Samuel.
4. Fake the double reverse
Offensive coordinator Norv Turner, crafty devil that he is, threw out the same double reverse against Tampa Bay in Week 9 that he did against the Buccaneers when coaching Washington in 1998. Like it did back then, the play resulted in a touchdown.
Sunday, he sets up the play — but fakes it.
5. Panthers ‘get right’
Carolina wins its “get right” game 34-21 and head coach Ron Rivera breathes a sigh of relief.
Placekicker Graham Gano hits all three of his field goal attempts after missing two important kicks in consecutive weeks.
Panthers at Buccaneers
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay
Sunday, 1 p.m.