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Panthers’ matchup against Bucs isn’t a ‘gimme’

As anyone who follows the NFL even casually knows, Sunday is not a “gimme” for the Carolina Panthers, even though they are 8-3 and Tampa Bay is 3-8.

This game looked like a six-inch putt a few weeks ago, but it has morphed into a 4-footer with a sidehill lie. The Panthers can’t lose focus against the Bucs, who have won three in a row and nearly beat Seattle in Seattle, which was their most impressive accomplishment of all. A few game notes:

Carolina is tied for third in the NFL with 15 interceptions – already four more than the Panthers had in all of 2012 – but were not able to pick off any of Glennon’s 51 throws in the teams’ first meeting Oct. 24.

I was on a radio show with former Panthers general manager Bill Polian earlier this week. Polian said he never would have gone for fourth-and-10 at his own 20 with 2:33 to go and trailing by three points, as Rivera did last week against Miami. He did go, the Panthers made it, and they ended up scoring the winning touchdown on the drive.