After casting their eyes on the Oakland Raiders and the Chicago Bears, NFL fans in London will be treated to an all-NFC South affair this weekend.
The British capital hosts the second of its four games this season, with the Carolina Panthers colliding against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Having made its debut as an NFL venue last week, the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will host its second game this time out.
The first NFL purpose-build stadium outside the U.S., the arena has proved to be a resounding success so far.
“You walk in here and you just see it, it’s state-of-the-art, it’s top-notch,” Bears coach Matt Nagy told reporters last week.
“You talk about doing things the right way, I mean, it blows you away. It’s phenomenal, absolutely phenomenal.”
The first-ever NFL game at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium swung back and forth repeatedly, as the Raiders blew a 17-point lead before scoring a late touchdown in the fourth quarter to win 27-24. This weekend’s matchup could be just as tense.
At 0-2 and with star quarterback Cam Newton ruled out with a foot injury, the Panthers were staring down the barrel last month. However, they have since won three games in a row to move up to second in the NFC South.
Kyle Allen has proved to be an accomplished replacement for Newton—he has passed for 674 yards and five touchdowns in three games with a 66.7 percent completion rate—but the Panthers have leaned heavily on their running game.Christian McCaffrey has 587 yards and six touchdowns over 105 carries so far this season, on top of 279 receiving yards.
The 23-year-old had a monster performance in the 34-27 win over Jacksonville last week, finishing with a franchise-record 237 yards from scrimmage.
With Newton unavailable for Week 6, the Panthers will in all likelihood turn to McCaffrey again.
Tampa Bay, meanwhile, arrives into the game on the back of a 31-24 defeat in New Orleans against the Saints, which saw it slip to 2-3 for the season.
While the Bucs offense has shown signs of life in recent weeks—they put up 55 points in a surprise win over the Rams in Los Angeles in Week 5—their defense has given up 71 points over the last two games.
Tampa Bay allowed 457 total yards against the Saints, hardly the kind of effort that will catapult it to the top of the NFC South.
While the Panthers are making their first trip to London, the Bucs are more familiar with London. They have played in Britain twice, losing 35-7 to the New England Patriots in 2009 and 24-18 to the Bears two years later.
If they want to keep their playoffs hopes alive, they have to snap that losing streak this weekend.
Here’s all you need to know ahead of Sunday.
When and where is the game?
The Carolina Panthers take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England, on Sunday, October 13.
Kick-off is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. local time (9:30 a.m. ET).
The game will be nationally broadcast by the NFL Network.
A live stream will be available via NFL Network online and on connected devices, as well as via fuboTV.
The Panthers arrive in London on the back of a 34-27 win at home over the Jacksonville Jaguars, which saw them improve to 3-2. Tampa Bay, meanwhile, lost 31-24 in New Orleans against the Saints in Week 5 and fell to 2-3.
Carolina leads the all-time series 23-15 but Tampa Bay has won the last two meetings, the most recent of which was a 20-14 road win.
According to Oddschecker, the Panthers are two-point favorites and are 19/20 to win and cover the spread, while the Bucs are 11/10 underdogs. The over/under bar in terms of points scored is set at 33.5.
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