CHARLOTTE - The road to the playoffs for the Carolina Panthers (6-9) goes through the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-8) and quarterback Tom Brady.
The Panthers and Buccaneers face off in their second matchup this season with the NFC South title on the line. If Tampa Bay wins, they clinch the division and earn a playoff berth for the third-straight season. If Carolina wins, the Panthers will have a chance to win the division in Week 18 in New Orleans.
Carolina won the first matchup back in October by a score of 21-3, a win that halted a 1-5 start and propelled Carolina to go 5-4 in the second half of the season.
Scroll below for more information on the Week 17 matchup, team connections, series history and stats comparison, presented by Amazon Next Gen Stats.
History: Panthers vs. Buccaneers
- Carolina is 25-19 all-time against the Bucs | Series History
- Current Streak: Panthers W1
- Carolina's last win at Tampa Bay came in October of 2017, coincidentally the last season that Carolina went to the playoffs
- A number of Panthers are originally from Florida, including Brian Burns, Sam Franklin Jr., Marquis Haynes Sr., CJ Henderson and Eddy Piñeiro.
- Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht was previously a scout for the Panthers in 1998.
- Several Bucs players have ties to the Carolinas including Giovani Bernard (UNC), Ryan Succop (S. Carolina), Dee Delaney (Beaufort, S.C.) and Nick Leverett (Salisbury, N.C.).
New Years Day Games
- Sunday marks the fourth time that the Panthers have played on New Years Day in their history.
- Carolina is 1-2 all-time on New Years, last playing in Tampa Bay on Jan. 1 at the end of the 2016 season
- The team's only win on New Years came in the 2005 season with a win at Atlanta
|Total Yards/Game||306.9 (29th)||346.3 (15th)|
|Rushing Yards/Game||131.0 (10th)||77.0 (32nd)|
|Net Passing Yards/Game||175.9 (29th)||269.3 (4th)|
|Sacks Allowed||32 (t-11th)||19 (1st)|
|Third Down Efficiency||29.4 (31st)||37.6 (21st)|
|Points/Game||20.9 (t-18th)||17.7 (28th)|
|Total Yards/Game||344.7 (20th)||315.4 (6th)|
|Rushing Yards/Game||125.0 (21st)||120.3 (17th)|
|Passing Yards/Game||219.7 (18th)||195.1 (4th)|
|Sacks||31 (t-23rd)||41 (t-7th)|
|Third Down Efficiency||42.9 (27th)||36.7 (6th)|
|Takeaways||15 (29th)||16 (t-22nd)|
|Points Allowed/Game||22.8 (19th)||20.3 (t-7th)|
Notes and Trends
Protecting the ball
- The Panthers won the turnover battle in two of the last three game. Carolina has not turned it over in five of the team's six wins and not thrown an interception in any of the six wins. They've thrown 10 interceptions in the nine losses.
- Carolina has a league-best one turnover since Sam Darnold took over in Week 12, and the team's 16 total turnovers this year are tied for third-fewest in the NFL.
- Since becoming the starter in Week 7, D'Onta Foreman has had a strong collection of rushing performances. Since then, he's had five 100-yard rushing games, trailing only Tennessee's Derrick Henry (6). He earned NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors after running for a career-best 165 yards against Detroit.
- Since Week 7, Foreman ranks third in the NFL with 774 rushing yards and has seven rushes over 20 yards, ranking second.
Darnold locked in
- Since taking over starter duties in Week 12, Sam Darnold ranks fifth in the NFL in passer rating (104.3) and is one of just two qualified QBs without an interception.
- Darnold's 8.63 yards per attempt lead the NFL and his Next Gen Stats completion percentage above expected of +3.7% ranks third-best since Week 12.
Offensive line play
- Since Week 12, the Panthers offensive line has allowed just six sacks, tied for third-best in the league. They've also opened holes for eight rushes of 20 yards or more, tied for second-most in that span.
- As a team, the Panthers have a pass blocking grade of 73.4 (according to PFF), ranking sixth in the NFL.
- Since Week 12, Brady Christensen has the league's second-best pass blocking grade of 89.9.
Burns getting home
- Brian Burns posted another multi-sack game against the Lions, bringing his season total to 12.5 sacks which ranks sixth in the league.
- Burns also has 16 tackles for loss, tied for third-most in the NFL. He is closing in on single-season franchise records in both categories.
Luvu back in force
- After missing playing time with an injury, Frankie Luvu has been back in full force over the last two months.
- Since Week 10, Luvu has 5.0 sacks and 48 tackles, the most tackles of any player with at least five sacks in that period.
Brown breaks the record
- Derrick Brown has a career-best 57 tackles this season, recently passing Kawann Short (55, 2015/16) for the most by a Panthers defensive tackle in a single season.
Hekker inside the 20
- Johnny Hekker continues to give Carolina an edge through the punt game. His 43.7 net yards per punt rank fourth in the NFL, while his 32 punts inside the 20 are second.
2022 Statistical Milestones to Watch
- Brian Burns (12.5) needs 2.5 sacks to tie Kevin Greene (1998) and Greg Hardy (2013)'s franchise record (15.0) for the most sacks in a season
- Burns (16) needs five tackles for loss to pass Luke Kuechly (20, 2018) for the franchise record in a single season
- DJ Moore (761) needs 239 receiving yards for his fourth consecutive 1,000-yard receiving season
- Derrick Brown Brown (15) needs four pass deflections to pass Julius Peppers (18) for the most by a Panthers defensive lineman in his first three seasons
- Shaq Thompson (116) needs 14 tackles for 130 on the season, becoming the fourth player in franchise history to ever record a season with at least 130 tackles (press box stats)
- Frankie Luvu (92) needs eight tackles to become the second Panther (Mark Fields, 2002) with at least 100 tackles and six or more sacks in the same season
- Eddy Piñeiro (31) needs seven field goals to pass John Kasay (37, 1996) for the franchise record for field goals made in a single season
- Johnny Hekker (32) needs four punts inside the 20 to pass Todd Sauerbrun (35, 2001) for the franchise record
Carolina is 25-19 all-time against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, posting a 13-10 record at home and 12-9 on the road.