This season has not been kind to Florida teams in the NFL. Two teams are winless on the season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-6) seemingly dueling the winless Jacksonville Jaguars for the number one pick in the 2014 NFL draft.
If Greg Schiano wants to change public perception it will have to start tonight. His struggling club is at home to face division rival Carolina. It will be Schiano's first primetime game of his pro career; something the second year coach has never felt.
The Panthers (3-3) are looking to turn a corner. They have won two straight. Another win will put them above .500 for the first time since 2008.
If the Bucs expect to stop that midseason surge it will start on defense. Tampa is respectable on that side of the ball, ranking 13th in the league. But not as good against the pass. They give up over 250 yards per game.
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton will gladly take those stats. He has been on fire the last two games going 35 of 43 for 446 yards and four touchdowns.
The Bucs would love some sort of consistency on offense. This season has seen a QB come and go and is hoping Mike Glennon is the spark this team needs. Glennon's numbers don't jump out at anyone, but are a step up from where their former quarterback Josh Freeman was. In three games Glennon has passed for more yards and a higher percentage than Freeman. The team will also be without feature back Doug Martin. He suffered a torn labrum last week and could possibly be out for the rest of the season.
To combat their offensive woes, which have resulted in the second worst scoring offense in the league, Schiano wants his team to play sound, smart football.
Tampa Bay will try to get it's first win tonight at 8:25.