4 bold predictions for the Carolina Panthers at Buccaneers in Week 17

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Steve Wilks
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Steve Wilks /
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Bold predictions for the Carolina Panthers as they go in search of an unlikely NFC South advantage against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 17.

It’s been a long time since there was this much hope surrounding the Carolina Panthers with two regular-season games remaining. Their outstanding triumph over the Detroit Lions in Week 16 set up a pivotal showdown at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this weekend – a game that will likely determine who makes the postseason as NFC South champions.

The fact Carolina is even in with a shot speaks volumes about the turnaround under Steve Wilks. While beating Tom Brady and the Buccaneers on the road represents a challenge, they’ve bested Tampa Bay once already this season and go into the contest full of confidence after winning three of their last four.

Opportunity knocks for a Panthers team that looked down and out before Matt Rhule’s firing. Whether they can seize the moment or not is the big question.

Without further ado, we made four bold Panthers predictions ahead of their biggest game in many years on Sunday.

Bold Prediction No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Josh Norman /

Josh Norman creates a turnover on Carolina Panthers’ return

Jaycee Horn’s broken wrist is a huge dent in the Carolina Panthers’ chances. The cornerback hasn’t been officially ruled out, but it would be a massive risk putting him out there with successful surgery and wearing some type of protective cast all things considered.

Carolina moved swiftly to acquire reinforcements in the immediate aftermath of Horn’s injury. Josh Norman made a sensational return to the franchise where he earned All-Pro honors in 2015 and although reps are likely to be limited, his swagger and leadership could be of use.

If Norman performs well and perhaps manages to create a turnover, that would be greater than anyone anticipated.