Panthers vs Buccaneers: After two-straight losses, the Carolina Panthers will look to get back in the win column Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium.
The Panthers dropped their first game on the road last week, an ugly 17-3 defeat to the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.
Tampa Bay enters Sunday’s tilt riding a three-game skid with losses to New England, Arizona and Buffalo.
Carolina is 0-1 against NFC South division opponents this season after falling to the New Orleans Saints in Week 3. Sunday will mark Tampa Bay’s first divisional contest.
Here’s a look at the significant numbers between the Panthers and Buccaneers leading up to Sunday’s NFC South tilt in Tampa Bay:
The Buccaneers will be without three cornerbacks on Sunday, starters Robert McClain and Brent Grimes, and reserve Josh Robinson.
McClain – a former Panther – and Robinson are both in concussion protocol, and Grimes will miss the game with a shoulder injury.
Tampa Bay is currently riding a three-game losing streak, but the margin of defeat has been small in each defeat.
The Buccaneers’ margin of defeat during their losing streak was an average of 4.3 points.
Week 5: Buccaneers 14, Patriots 19
Week 6: Buccaneers 33, Cardinals 38
Week 7: Buccaneers 27, Bills 30
Panthers rookie running back Christian McCaffrey has pitched in on both the ground and through the air, and he continues to rank atop rookies in both categories.
McCaffrey leads the entire league with 44 receptions by a running back. His 329 receiving yards rank second among all running backs, and second among rookie tailbacks and recievers.
Carolina ranks second in the league with 24 sacks, along with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ten players on the Panthers’ roster have recorded a sack.
Veteran Julius Peppers leads the squad with 6.5 sacks. Kawann Short and Mario Addison have tallied four sacks apiece, and linebackers Thomas Davis and Shaq Thompson both have two.
The Jacksonville Jaguars’ 33 total sacks leads the NFL.
The Panthers continue to be the least penalized team in the league. Carolina has been flagged 29 times for 254 penalty yards through seven weeks.
Washington ranks second with 33 penalties and 259 yards, and four other teams are tied with 38 penalties assessed.
The Panthers and Buccaneers will meet for the 34th time since 1995. Carolina holds the advantage in the all-time series, 20-13.
The Panthers have also posted a 10-6 record against the Bucs at Raymond James Stadium.
Carolina All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly is expected to play on Sunday after clearing concussion protocol. Kuechly missed Carolina’s game last week against Chicago after being hit high in the Panthers’ loss on Thursday Night Football versus Philadelphia. The Pro Bowl linebacker has been in concussion protocol in each of the last three seasons.
Since Kuechly entered the league in 2012, he has led the NFL with 739 total tackles – 417 solo and 268 assisted. He leads the Panthers with 46 tackles this season.
Julius Peppers has played in 151 consecutive games , the most among defensive ends in the league.
Peppers is followed by Los Angeles’ Connor Barwin (103), Cameron Jordan of New Orleans (102) and Buffalo’s Jerry Hughes (89).
Panthers vs Buccaneers: The Panthers’ defense ranks third in the league with 261.9 yards of total offense allowed per game.
Carolina has allowed 81.1 rushing yards and 180.7 passing yarders per game, which ranks fourth in both categories in the NFL.
The Buccaneers rank second in the league with 392.8 total yards per game. Tampa Bay has averaged a league-best 312.3 passing yards per contest, and 80.5 rushing yards per game, which ranks 30th.