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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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

Carolina Panthers get 200+ passing yards and 2 TDs from Sam Darnold

Sam Darnold is riding on the crest of a wave since returning to the starting lineup. The Carolina Panthers are benefitting from an assured presence under center for the first time this season and confidence is higher than it’s ever been when it comes to the quarterback’s production.

Darnold enjoyed the best game of the campaign in Week 16 against the Detroit Lions, throwing for 250 passing yards, two combined touchdowns, and a lofty 84.5 QBR for good measure. Not bad for someone that was counted out during the team’s 2022 training camp.

The Panthers are still relying heavily on the running game. But the USC product has proven capable of making things happen when called upon in recent weeks, too.

Sunday’s game is a tough test for Darnold versus a highly productive Tampa Bay Buccaneers secondary who are among the league’s best once again. While Darnold might have folded in a pressurized setting such as this previously, his newfound focus and determination could be enough for another eye-catching outing with so much at stake.

Securing a fifth-straight contest without turning the football over would be a good place to start. It’s also vital that Darnold converts red-zone trips into touchdowns by any means necessary.

If Darnold can throw for more than 200 passing yards and secure two touchdowns, it’s hard to envisage a situation where Carolina falters providing everyone else performs up to or above expectations.