With only nine wins between them, the Bucs and Panthers meet up in Carolina this weekend. Cam Newton and his troops are favored to win their second straight but, oh boy, has it been an ugly couple of months for Tampa Bay.

A promising 4-2 SU start is now long forgotten, with the Buccaneers losers of eight consecutive games. Included in those defeats was a 38-19 setback to these very same Carolina Panthers in Week 14. 

Josh FreemanLet's start this preview off with a closer look at the earlier meeting. Cam Newton dominated the headlines with four total touchdowns, including three rushing scores – he finished the day with 204 passing yards and 54 rushing. 

Carolina looks for season sweep 

The Panthers came out flying from the start in that game, getting out to an early 24-14 lead. They also played solid defensively against Josh Johnson, who was filling in for an injured Josh Freeman. 

Johnson was 16/27 for 229 yards with a TD and an INT and, for the most part, Carolina was also able to shut down Tampa Bay's run game. LeGarrette Blount finished with only 19 yards on 11 carries. 

Along with their dreadful straight up losing streak, the Bucs have been equally bad against the spread. They've failed to cover in four straight weeks and are a miserable 2-9 ATS over their last 11 matchups. 

For this reason, you'd expect the Panthers to be considerable favorites at home this weekend and they are. The line started out at 7.5 but is quite different depending on which sportsbooks you use; 5Dimes and Pinnacle have Carolina favored by 9 while others betting sites like matchbook and bet365 have 7.5 for the taking. 

There's no shot whatsoever of the Panthers making the postseason, but it's still been an exciting season for fans. 

Cam Newton has absolutely shattered all expectations and is clearly the right guy to lead this team forward for the long haul. It's pretty scary knowing he's only a rookie and thinking about how special he could turn out as he grows further. 

However, this upcoming game seems like one that the Bucs will hang around in. They've been super disappointing, I get that. Yet this cannot be the way they want to end the year. 

Buccaneers in line for a surprisingly good outing 

This is a team that beat the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons earlier in the season, so we know they can get it done. Raheem Morris is obviously having immense trouble getting his players motivated and it's showing on game days. 

The future of Morris at the helm is not looking good at all, but I still think it'll be Tampa Bay that stamps out the ATS cover in Week 16. 

As the week goes on, expect the public to continue banking on Cam Newton and the Panthers. I will not be doing the same as I believe the Bucs will have enough to at least stay close. 

FREE Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers +9 

TREND BREAKDOWN 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 1-4 ATS in last 5 road games and 0-4 ATS in last 4 overall 

Carolina Panthers are 5-2 ATS in last 7 games as the favorites 

Buccaneers are 3-7 ATS in last 10 trips to Carolina 

Favorite is 7-1 ATS in last 8 head-to-head meetings