3 bold Carolina Panthers predictions vs. the Buccaneers in Week 18

Time to go bold...

Bryce Young
Bryce Young / Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers force Baker Mayfield into 2 INTs

This afternoon's game will have special significance for Baker Mayfield. The quarterback has a chance to clinch the NFC South against the team that cast him aside during the 2022 season. If the former No. 1 pick can achieve this feat, it'll be yet another embarrassment for the Carolina Panthers' ever-growing collection.

Mayfield seems highly motivated. The resentment he bares is more centered on those who gave up too soon rather than the players. He never stood a chance following his trade from the Cleveland Browns, with mismanaged reps in camp denying him crucial time to develop chemistry with his primary playmakers.

The Oklahoma product deserves enormous credit for galvanizing his career when all hope seemed lost. Mayfield is potentially one big performance away from securing another deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Carolina's defense will be doing everything in their power to prevent him from having the last laugh.

Ejiro Evero's unit has taken a step back over the last fortnight. Perhaps the toll of carrying the team is starting to impact performance levels. Mayfield having his way in Week 18 would leave more questions than answers about the future.

If the Panthers can get sufficient pressure on Mayfield, some turnover opportunities should arise. When these chances come, Carolina must capitalize on them.