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Know Your Foe: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

CHARLOTTE – The Panthers hit the road this weekend to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.

The 4:05 p.m. EST matchup pits Carolina (1-10), coming off a 17-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans, against the 4-7 Bucs, who have lost two straight games, most recently falling 27-20 to the Indianapolis Colts. The game is set to air on CBS.

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The Panthers and Buccaneeers have met 45 times in NFL history, with Carolina leading the series 25-20. More on the series history can be found here.

Here's what to know about the Buccaneers:


Dangerous Passing Attack

With former Panther Baker Mayfield under center, the Buccaneers sit at the middle of the pack (15th in the NFL) in passing offense, averaging 222.8 yards per game through the air. 

But there is no doubt that they have the weapons to break a game open with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin split wide. These two receivers have consistently terrorized defenses across the league, as they combined for 2,147 receiving yards in 2022, marking the third time they've both surpassed 1,000 yards in the same season. 

At this moment, Evans is second in the NFL with nine receiving touchdowns, while Godwin seems to always show up against Tampa Bay's NFC South rival, averaging 95.8 yards per game in his last eight contests vs. the Panthers. 

Another unheralded player to watch for is Rachaad White, who rans second in the league in receiving yards for a running back (389), behind only Christian McCaffrey. He and McCaffrey are the only players with over 500 rushing yards and 300 receiving yards this year.

Legit Left Tackle

After making the switch from right tackle to left tackle this offseason, Tristan Wirfs has been a boon for Mayfield, allowing just three sacks through Week 12. 

The 6-foot-5, 320-pound Iowa product has also only given up four quarterback hits in 462 pass-blocking snaps, according to Pro Football Focus. 

In fact, the Tampa Bay offensive line has been one of the most charmed in the league when it comes to consistency, as Wirfs, center Robert Hainsey, right guard Cody Mauch and right tackle Luke Goedeke have started every game together in 2023.


Strong Up the Middle

The Bucs' inside linebacker duo of Lavonte David and Devin White are among the best in the league. From Week 6 through Week 11 of the 2023 season, David had four more tackles for loss than any other player, and he is tied for third with 14 on the year. 

And since 2019, the speedy White is the NFL's best among inside linebackers with 61 quarterback hits and 22.5 sacks. 

Behind them is do-it-all safety Antoine Winfield Jr., who leads the league with three fumble recoveries. 

Tampa Bay is ranked 31st in pass defense, allowing 267.8 yards per game, but with this stout cast anchoring the middle of their unit, they've been solid against the run, giving up only 95.9 yards per game (9th) and boast a +5 turnover margin.

Carolina is 25-19 all-time against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, posting a 13-10 record at home and 12-9 on the road.