It's another wonderful Thursday Night game, as the 3-3 Carolina Panthers look for a third consecutive victory to go above .500 for the first time since the 2008 season, before the drafting of Cam Newton, and in their way are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The 0-6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, no less.
The game features two head coaches who are probably coaching for their jobs at this point. We know the Panthers' Ron "Chico" Rivera as a former Bears linebacker and defensive coordinator; meanwhile NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reports that Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano is not guaranteed to last the season. This comes on the same day after this article by Michael Silver appeared on NFL.com about the problems Schiano has been having with his autocratic style, with ex-Buc and current Seahawks DE Michael Bennett willing to talk openly about his distaste for his former coach.
Add that to the regression of and controversy over the demotion and eventual release of first rounder and one-time franchise quarterback Josh Freeman, and the team's MRSA situation that is keeping expensive free agent acquisition Carl Nicks off the field, and it's clear that the good ship Schiano is more than likely taking on water, fast. Oh, and Muscle Hamster Doug Martin (shoulder) is out, leaving rookie Mike James to carry the load to help rookie quarterback Mike Glennon.
And we thought the Bears were in bad shape.
Some facts and figures from Jeff Mezdylo's preview:
Carolina's run defense is fourth in the NFL, giving up 84.5 yards per game on the ground.
The Panthers are fifth allowing 217.7 passing yards per contest, which also doesn't bode well for a Tampa Bay offense entering this game 31st in both total yards (297.8 per game) and scoring (14.5 points per game).
It could be a fairly epic train wreck - which may be good enough reason to watch - and this is your TNF open thread. Have fun!