The Tampa Bay Buccaneers play the Carolina Panthers on Monday Night Football tonight. Both teams are a disappointing 1-3. Disappointing for the Bucs, because they were expected to take the next step on the road to becoming a competitive team. Disappointing for the Panthers, because they’re coming off a Super Bowl appearance.
Two 1-3 teams generally don’t make for very good football games, and tonight’s game is likely to be a lot worse than usual: both teams are heavily banged-up. The most notable injury of the game is quarterback Cam Newton’s concussion, which will cause him to miss today’s game. Derek Anderson will replace him.
The Panthers will also miss running back Jonathan Stewart and left tackle Michael Oher, leaving their offense without pass protection, a running game, or their starting quarterback. A nice recipe for disaster.
Of course, the Bucs aren’t quite in position to take advantage of Carolina’s injury issues. They haven’t officially ruled anyone out, but it’s highly unlikely that defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, defensive end Robert Ayers or defensive tackle Clinton McDonald plays — all three are starters.
On offense, the Bucs are likely to be without their top two running backs in Doug Martin and Charles Sims, further hampering an offense that has struggled with far too much of the offensive burden being placed on Jameis Winston’s shoulders.
If this isn’t likely to be a game filled with high-quality play, it is likely to be a highly competitive game. Both teams are facing significant injuries and have struggled to play well this year. The winner of this game will still be in the race for the division title, right behind the now 4-1 Atlanta Falcons. The loser is likely done for the year, with a 1-4 record and a long way to the end of the season.
Here’s everything you need to know to watch tonight’s game.
Monday Night Football — Buccaneers vs. Panthers
Time: 8:30 p.m. ET, Monday, October 10
Location: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
TV: ESPN (nationally televised)
Announcers: Jon Gruden, Sean McDonough, Lisa Salters
Odds: Panthers by 6
Online streaming: WatchESPN