2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Panthers can't blow this 1 vs winless Bucs

By BARRY WILNER - AP Pro Football Writer
    2013-10-23 14:01

With a two-game winning streak and suddenly effective units on both sides of the ball, the Carolina Panthers are oozing confidence.

Facing winless Tampa Bay on Thursday night should do nothing to erase that self-assurance.

While the Panthers (3-3) are getting solid performances from quarterback Cam Newton and receiver Steve Smith on offense, tackling machine Luke Kuechly at linebacker, and safety Mike Mitchell, they're also plus-5 in turnover margin.

So why not look up in the standings at a potential wild-card spot, especially facing the most dysfunctional team in the league this year, the Bucs?

''I can't stress enough how proper preparation can increase the confidence come game time,'' Newton said, speaking for himself as well as the team. ''When you come to the line and you know that you've been coached up to expect a certain look - and then you get that look - you don't panic.''

Panic City might be another name for Tampa, where rookie Mike Glennon makes his fourth start since incumbent quarterback Josh Freeman was exiled. Halfback Doug Martin hurt his shoulder in Sunday's loss.

''I just take the next task at hand,'' coach Greg Schiano said. ''I can tell you, on a short week like this, you don't get a lot of sleep. You try to get everything done. You try to make it as good a plan, yet not very complicated, because you don't have a lot of time to practice.

''It really has to be between the ears, get yourself, physically, feeling as well as you can as a football team, and we've got to go out and execute against a team that, right now, is pretty hot.''

Carolina (No. 16 in the AP Pro32) is a 6-point favorite over Tampa Bay (No. 31, AP Pro32).

PANTHERS, 17-10

No. 1 Seattle (minus 11) at No. 26 St. Louis

It's madness to lay this many points on the road in current NFL. Unless Kurt Warner is coming through the Rams' door, we're laying them ...

BEST BET: SEAHAWKS, 23-3

No. 10 Dallas (plus 3) at No. 12 Detroit

Not a big believer in Lions. Nor in Cowboys, but ...

UPSET SPECIAL: COWBOYS, 23-21

No. 7 Green Bay (minus 10) at No. 30 Minnesota

Packers start pulling away in NFC North.

PACKERS, 30-13

No. 13 New York Jets (plus 6 1/2) at No. 8 Cincinnati

Stamp the winner here as a team to watch.

BENGALS, 20-16

No. 21 Atlanta (plus 2 1/2) at No. 24 Arizona

Stamp the loser here as a team to ignore.

CARDINALS, 17-16

No. 6 San Francisco (minus 16 1/2) vs. No. 32 Jacksonville at London

Jags take their woeful squad across the pond.

49ERS, 30-10

No. 25 Cleveland (plus 7) at No. 2 Kansas City

Look for a defensive battle royale.

CHIEFS, 13-7

No. 23 Washington (plus 13) at No. 3 Denver

Look for little defense at all.

BRONCOS, 37-31

No. 18 Buffalo (plus 12 1/2) at No. 4 New Orleans

Bills won't make it a Big Easy for Saints.

SAINTS, 27-17

No. 17 Miami (plus 7) at No. 9 New England

A must-win for the Dolphins to stay relevant in AFC East. Sorry ...

PATRIOTS, 23-20

No. 19 (tie) Pittsburgh (minus 3) at No. 28 Oakland

Once a classic rivalry, now part of Pittsburgh's revival.

STEELERS, 17-16

No. 29 New York Giants (plus 6) at No. 19 (tie) Philadelphia

Taking a mulligan here. But either way, Giants cover.

With Michael Vick at QB, EAGLES, 24-20

Without Michael Vick at QB, GIANTS 27-10

---

2013 RECORD:

Against spread: 7-8 (47-58-3). Straight up: 8-7 (63-45).

Best Bet: 4-3 against spread, 7-0 straight up.

Upset special: 1-6 against spread, 1-6 straight up.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

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A.J. EddsSep 2 12:43a

The New York Jets re-signed LB A.J. Edds Monday, Sept. 1.

Kevin DorseySep 2 12:03a

The Green Bay Packers signed WR Kevin Dorsey, C Garth Gerhart, WR Alex Gillett, RB Michael Hill, LB Adrian Hubbard and DE Luther Robinson to the practice squad Monday, Sept. 1.

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Bryan WaltersSep 1 09:33p

The Seattle Seahawks re-signed free-agent WR Bryan Walters (Seahawks) to a contract Monday, Sept. 1. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.

J. CunninghamSep 1 09:33p

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Quentin GrovesSep 1 09:33p

The Tennessee Titans signed free-agent LB Quentin Groves (Texans) to an undisclosed contract Monday, Sept. 1.

Charles JohnsonSep 1 09:23p

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The New York Jets placed LB Jeremiah George on no-recall waivers Monday, Sept. 1.

Tim FuggerSep 1 08:02p

The New York Jets placed DE Tim Fugger (ankle) on no-recall waivers from the reserve/injured list Monday, Sept. 1, and he received an injury settlement.

Phil BatesSep 1 08:02p

The Seattle Seahawks placed WR Phil Bates on no-recall waivers Monday, Sept. 1.

Don JonesSep 1 08:02p

The New England Patriots claimed CB Don Jones (Dolphins) off waivers Monday, Sept. 1.

Derek CarrSep 1 06:42p

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr will be the starting quarterback Week 1.

Charles JohnsonSep 1 05:42p

The Cleveland Browns signed free-agents WR Charles X. Johnson (Browns) and OG Karim Barton (Browns) to their practice squad Monday, Sept. 1.

Khalid WootenSep 1 05:32p

The Tennessee Titans signed free-agent CB Khalid Wooten (Titans) to their practice squad Monday, Sept. 1.

Phillip AdamsSep 1 04:52p

The New York Jets signed free-agents CB Phillip Adams (Seahawks) and released WR Quincy Enunwa Monday, Sept. 1.

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Case KeenumSep 1 04:22p

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Detroit Lions SS James Ihedigbo (leg), FS Don Carey (undisclosed) and LB Kyle Van Noy (abdomen) did not practice Monday, Sept. 1.

Garrett GilbertSep 1 04:03p

The St. Louis Rams signed free-agents QB Garrett Gilbert (Rams), LB Kevin Reddick (Saints), SS Matt Daniels (Rams), LB Denicos Allen (Panthers) and OT Sean Hooey (Rams) to their practice squad Monday, Sept. 1.

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Corey PetersSep 1 03:32p

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