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Panthers at Buccaneers Capsule

CAROLINA (6-10) At TAMPA BAY (4-12)

Sunday, 4:25 p.m., FOX

OPENING LINE – Panthers by 3

2011 RECORD VS. SPREAD – Carolina 9-6-1; Tampa Bay 4-12

SERIES RECORD – Panthers lead 14-9

AP PRO32 RANKING – Panthers No. 18; Buccaneers No. 26

LAST MEETING – Panthers beat Buccaneers 48-16, Dec. 24, 2011





STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES – Cam Newton returns to Raymond James Stadium, where he ran for three touchdowns to break NFL single-season record for rushing TDs by quarterback in 38-19 Panthers victory last December. Three weeks later, 2010 Heisman Trophy winner threw for three TDs and ran for fourth in 48-16 rout to complete sweep of season series between NFC South rivals. … It’s NFL coaching debut for Tampa Bay’s Greg Schiano, who spent past 11 seasons at Rutgers, which he converted from one of college football’s losingest programs into Big East contender. … Bucs ended 2011 on 10-game losing streak. … Bucs S Ronde Barber, entering 16th season, will make 200th consecutive start, although it will be first of career at safety after lining up past 15 seasons at cornerback. … Newton threw for league rookie record 4,051 yards in 2011. He also accounted for 35 touchdowns, 21 passing and 14 rushing. … Carolina RBs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart have posted big numbers against Bucs. So has WR Steve Smith, who’s coming off sixth 1,000-yard receiving season of career. Williams has rushed for two touchdowns in game against Tampa Bay four times. In three games in which he’s had at least 19 carries against Bucs, he’s averaged 153 yards and scored six TDs. Stewart, meanwhile, has averaged just over 106 ypg and rushed for five TDs. … Once reliable Bucs defense allowed NFL-high and franchise record 494 points last season. Unit also finished last in rushing defense and sacks. … Former Alabama safety Mark Barron drafted seventh, overall, and one of two rookie starters on defense for Tampa Bay; other is linebacker Lavonte David, a second-round pick. … All-Pro G Carl Nicks and WR Vincent Jackson were Tampa Bay’s biggest offseason additions on offense, where QB Josh Freeman hopes to rebound after taking step back with 16 TDs passes and 22 interceptions last season. Two years ago, the QB tossed 25 TD passes with only six interceptions, and Bucs won 10 games.

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