4 key matchups to watch against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Christian McCaffrey
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Christian McCaffrey /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Christian McCaffrey /

Christian McCaffrey vs. Lavonte David/Devin White

Christian McCaffrey might have been limited in terms of touches during the first half of Week 1. But it didn’t take long for the coaching staff to realize his importance to their overall fortunes.

This is something they probably knew already. The Carolina Panthers are going through a period of trial and error, which saw offensive coordinator Joe Brady try and get other players involved throughout the first two quarters with mixed success.

McCaffrey carried the load after the break on his way to 23 carries for 96 rushing yards and two touchdowns. The former first-round pick also caught three balls for 38 yards.

The Panthers will be relying heavily on their new face of the franchise going forward. It seemed unfathomable that Matt Rhule didn’t call his number on a crucial fourth-and-inches that they failed to convert late on. But the All-Pro is going to see plenty of Buccaneers’ linebacking duo Lavonte David and Devin White at the second level as they look to restrict his overall influence on proceedings.

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McCaffrey has seen plenty of both players before, so they won’t be showing him anything new in this regard. He didn’t have much joy against the Bucs in 2019, having 68 yards in two games. But the player has hit the ground running this season which should result in some more impressive production.