Sunday afternoon continues the quest of the Carolina Panthers to obtain their first playoff birth in the RivERA. The Panthers come in having won 7 straight, and 8 of their last 9 games. They face a Buccaneers team who has picked up their play over the past month since they last saw the Panthers. But you all know this, so let's break down the data and see what it tells us.
For any Buccaneers fans that may read this, keep in mind this is a break down of the entire season's performance for both teams to this point. If we are comparing the two teams over just the last month of play than things would look drastically different. However, I do stand by my assessment and feel that although they may be playing better over the last month, this is still very much the same Buccaneers team Carolina faced on October 24th.
For those unfamiliar with my prediction system know that since publishing it over the last three weeks it has correctly determined the winner of each game and has been within an average of 3 points on the margin of victory.
Tampa Bay plays pretty close to what their opponents typical game comes to. They score 2.851 points per game less than their opponent typically allows, and the Buccaneer defense allows almost right on what their opponent should score. Breaking down home versus away perfomance shows that the Buccaneers are only slightly better at home than on the road this season with a total margin differential of roughly 3 points.
The big difference here is that the Panther defense is still holding opposing offenses to over 9 points less than what they typically put on the board. The offense has held fairly steady scoring 0.463 more points than their opponents have allowed on average. The bigger factor in the game is that it is being played at Bank of America Stadium where the Panthers have played significantly better than on the road. So far this season the Panthers are averaging almost 6 points more a game on offense at home while allowing more than 4 less points per game than compared to the road. That makes for a staggering total margin differential of 10 points at home compared to their road performances.
Prediction:Buccaneers 10, Panthers 24
Feel free to discuss your take and leave your insights below as they are always welcome. As always, good luck to the Buccaneers, I know we all hope for a clean injury-free game!