1. NFL Teams That Should Be On Upset Alert In Week 17 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
In terms of playoff implications, there may not be a more impactful game in Week 17 than the Carolina-Tampa Bay matchup at Raymond James Stadium. The winner will assume complete control of the NFC South entering Week 18 and the home-standing Buccaneers are favored by just three points.
That line is the typical home-field bump, meaning that the oddsmakers view these two teams as even if the contest was to be played on a neutral field. The game also is house money for Carolina, which has been on a remarkable 5-5 run since firing head coach Matt Rhule for interim Steve Wilks, putting all of the pressure on Tampa Bay here.
The pressure hasn’t been kind to Tom Brady’s team, which has dropped three of its past five games and needed overtime to beat a dead-and-buried Arizona Cardinals team quarterbacked by Trace McSorley on Christmas night. Tampa Bay hasn’t played a crisp football game in weeks and will need to step up big time against the Panthers, who come into the game hot after blowing out the Lions at home in Week 16.
This game could also serve as an indictment on head coach Todd Bowles, who needs to seal a playoff spot after watching one slip away when he was the head coach of the New York Jets back in 2016. Throw in the fact that Brady’s future in Tampa Bay could rely on the outcome of this game and there is a ton of pressure that could lead to a damaging upset when all is said and done.