Know your Foe: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tom Brady

The Panthers (3-6) on Sunday will host Tampa Bay (6-3) for the second game of their 2020 series. The Buccaneers won the first matchup, 31-17, back in Week 2.

For the second time this season, the Panthers will play a Bucs team fresh off a loss to New Orleans. Last time, it was a 34-23 defeat on the NFL's opening weekend. This time, the Saints trounced Tampa Bay, 38-3, on Sunday Night Football.

So the question will be, which Tampa Bay squad will come to Charlotte?

Tom Brady sacked

Tale of Two Tampa Bays

In Tampa Bay's three losses (Saints twice, Bears in Week 5), defensive pressure has thrown off quarterback Tom Brady and the Bucs' high-powered offense.

In three losses, Brady has a 60.9 completion percentage with just three touchdowns, five interceptions, a 68.8 passer rating and nine total sacks. In six wins, his line looks like this: a 67.5 completion percentage, 17 TDs, two INTs, a 109.9 rating and only four sacks.

The Bucs bounced back to beat Carolina after their first loss and had a big win over Green Bay after the second one, so they'll be itching to get after the Panthers on Sunday.

Antonio Brown

Adding AB

Antonio Brown, who led the NFL with 9,145 total yards from 2013-18, joined Tampa Bay last week and, on Sunday, saw his first game action in over a year. He had just 31 yards on three catches while playing 39 of 50 offensive snaps.

When healthy, the Bucs' offensive weapons are impressive. But wideout Chris Godwin has struggled to stay on the field all year and Mike Evans only has 437 receiving yards (33rd in the NFL). Very few would have guessed that Scotty Miller (410 yards) would be second on the team in receiving entering Week 10.

Which comes back to Brown. No one played particularly well for Tampa Bay on Sunday night and Brown hasn't posted a 100-yard receiving game since Dec. 23, 2018. Is he ready to break out on Sunday?

Jason Pierre-Paul

Elite Defense

The Bucs' run defense has been dominant so far this season. They're allowing an NFL-best 77.9 yards per game, which would rank ninth in the league since 2005.

Tampa Bay is also second with 29 sacks, second with 101 pressures, fourth with 65 QB hits and a league-high 16 takeaways.

Outside linebackers Shaq Barrett (26 pressures) and Jason Pierre-Paul (6.5 sacks) continue to be the leaders up front, while cornerback Carlton Davis and linebacker Lavonte David have combined for seven takeaways.

Carolina is 24-15 all-time against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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