NFL Week 8 Thursday Night Pick & Analysis – FootballThursday, October 24, 2013 9:12
Pick and analysis of the 2013 NFL Week 8 Thursday night game.
NFL WEEK 8 THURSDAY
Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Bucs +7 (40)
At first glance, this contest looks like a lock for Carolina over Tampa Bay.
When you peer just a bit deeper, though, the ebb and flow of each game these squads have played tell an interesting story.
Despite a new, no-nonsense coach in Greg Schiano, owners with all the money in the world, and facilities many consider state-of-the-NFL-art, the Mateys—not a talentless group—currently scrape the bottom of almost every NFL Power Ranking.
Fact is, Schiano will be lucky to have a job in Tampa next year; he’s like a ringmaster with depressing clowns, limp tightropes and arthritic acrobats—some fighting a deadly staph infection.
At least Rex Ryan is entertaining.
Yet, like Ryan, Schiano’s players have responded to him and to a man—except for a former “franchise” quarterback—have played quality games. They’ve had a legitimate shot to win every week.
Still 0-6 is 0-6—and I’ve yet to see a coach remain employed because he lost games to quality opponents.
Contrast the Bucs’ plight with the Panther’s. Ron Rivera’s teams have improved in each of his two years at the helm, but with a new stud quarterback, a restless fan base, and an impatient owner, the Panthers’ coach better make the playoffs.
Rivera does a weekly spot on NFL Satellite radio and the man sounds like he doesn’t have a worry in the world. Don’t get me wrong, Coach Rivera has an understated passion and knowledge of the game. He has a steadiness, a consistency about him like a Tom Landry or Chuck Noll—and Rivera has been the exact same way since day one.
No wonder he was on the Rooney’s short list before Mike Tomlin interviewed.
The Panthers’ defense is for real—and Cam Newton has learned the value of preparation. Conversely, the Bucs’ inconsistent defense and the entire team’s ability to remain disciplined has cost them dearly.
Each team’s play and record directly mirrors their coach’s approach to the game.
The Bucs have undergone so much change and pain in the last few months, it is a wonder they compete as well as they do.
“Disarray,” “Lost locker room” and “Diseased” are all apt descriptions of the Bucs.
And they don’t have anyone close to a resurgent Cam Newton to lead them.
I’m laying the points and taking the Big Cats; maybe even a parlay with the Over.
PANTHERS 31, BUCCANEERS 23
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