Cam Newton: Carolina Panthers QB Opens Up the 2012 NFL Season Against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sunday, 9/9/12, 4:25 PM EST, TV:  FOX
Opening Point Spread:  Carolina -3
Current Betting Line:  Carolina -2.5
Opening Total:  46.5
Current Total:  47
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Carolina Panthers dominated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in both series meetings last year

Carolina looks to build off the momentum it enjoyed at the tail end of the 2011 campaign, winning four of its final six games, which is a good formula for potentially making a playoff run.  “Whatever was done in the past is in the past,” commented Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.  “We’re focused on the future.”  The Panthers seem to be opening up against the perfect opponent, winning both of last year’s meetings by a significant 86-35 margin.  Carolina is 2-0 ATS as a road favorite the last two years.

The Panthers will go as far as Newton takes them offensively, coming off a sensational rookie campaign, throwing for 21 touchdowns and reaching pay dirt 14 more times on the ground.  Carolina has one of the best vertical threats in the league, with wide receiver Steve Smith coming off a 1,394-yard campaign, while the team’s bread and butter continues to be a versatile run game.  Jonathan Stewart, DeAngelo Williams and Newton are quite a triple threat to any opposing defense.

Tampa Bay will hit the field under head coach Greg Schiano for the first time, as he comes from the college ranks after spending time as Miami’s defensive coordinator and a long tenure as the leader of the Rutgers football program.  “Every first game there is an element of surprise,” stated Schiano this week.  “Coaches don’t sit around all spring and summer.”  It’s certainly a youth movement for this squad in the Sunshine State, considering rookie Doug Martin will start in the backfield over LeGarrette Blount.  Tampa Bay is 1-6 ATS as a home underdog the last two years.

The Buccaneers need quarterback Josh Freeman to return to his 2010 form, as he threw 25 touchdowns and just six picks in leading the franchise to a 10-6 record.  The former Kansas State Wildcats star regressed mightily in his third year in the league, ranking second in the league with 22 interceptions.  Tampa Bay allowed 818 yards in the two meetings a year ago, which includes 385 yards on the ground.  It will be interesting to see if Schiano’s defensive background improves those numbers.

Sports bettors will likely back the Panthers due to their 5-2 ATS mark in the last seven meetings, while the underdog is 1-8 ATS in this series.

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Posted by on Sep 8 2012. Filed under Headlines, NFL. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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