2021 NFL picks, score predictions for Week 18

The Indianapolis Star
The Indianapolis Star /
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NFL picks and predictions
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Carolina Panthers (5-11) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12-4)

Sunday, January 9, 4:25PM ET

It’s almost mind-boggling how far and hard the Carolina Panthers have fallen since their 3-1 start to the campaign. They managed a couple of wins in the middle of the season, but have since dropped six games in a row and seem destined to make it seven before all is said and done.

Then again, the Buccaneers haven’t exactly been crushing their opponents down the stretch. They fell flat on their faces against the Saints a couple of weeks ago and barely edged out the Jets this past weekend. Thankfully for Tampa Bay, the Panthers don’t pose much of a threat to a team with capable talent on both sides of the ball.

Carolina can’t move the ball on offense, with their lack of talent at quarterback keeping them from consistently producing yards and first downs. While the Panthers possess a solid defense, it can’t carry this team on its own. Put simply, Carolina’s roster isn’t built to win and we’ll see evidence of that in Week 18.

Tom Brady does his usual thing, helping the Buccaneers get to the playoffs for the second time in two years. A first-round bye is out of the question at this point, but it’s not like that kept Tampa Bay from winning the Super Bowl a year ago.

Prediction: Buccaneers win 33-10 | Spread: Buccaneers (-8)