Welcome back to another Game Day edition of "Scott Says," where each week during the NFL season I predict the Panthers’ score and offer a couple of thoughts on the game.
If you missed it in Saturday’s newspaper, I picked the Panthers to go 8-8 this season. My colleague Tom Sorensen – who to be fair has been around the team a whole lot more than I have this offseason – picked them to go 10-6. He thinks they will make the playoffs. I don’t.
But I am optimistic about this year’s opener. I think the Panthers will begin with a win Sunday on the road. Tampa Bay is one of the few teams on the schedule in which Carolina clearly has an advantage in talent.
• You may remember the last time the two teams met, on Christmas Eve. The Panthers barely had to throw the ball, as they rushed for 270 yards and blasted Tampa 48-16. That was the game where Cam Newton made what was probably his most famous run of the season – the 49-yard TD score – and Brandon LaFell also snagged a 91-yard TD pass from Newton.
• Sunday’s game won’t be as lopsided. The Bucs have changed coaches and sound like they have a better attitude. I don’t expect Tampa Bay will give up 48 points again. But I also don’t think the Bucs will suddenly be able to stop the Panthers from running the ball, even with their personnel changes. I expect DeAngelo Williams to have a big game and for rookie Luke Kuechly to make a quick impact.
• My prediction: Carolina 27, Tampa Bay 16.