The red-hot Carolina Panthers are fancied to cap an emotional return to London for Efe Obada with a win, but you just never know what to expect from the Tampa Bay Bucs.
Carolina Panthers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2.30pm Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
There’s a second game at Spurs this Sunday and one that sees an emotional homecoming for Efe Obada who has one of the most incredible back stories in the entire NFL.
Obada only started playing American football at the age of 22 but that’s only part of the story, as the Nigerian native was trafficked to London, along with his sister, from the Netherlands at the age of just 10.
It’s an incredible rags to riches story that, for all the attention that comes with two NFL teams playing at Tottenham’s new stadium – is rightly making all the headlines.
"I'm a bit overwhelmed right now," Obada said. "I'm just enjoying the moment. What are the chances of me being on a team that's going to go back to London? I feel like the stars are aligning.”
Match Odds: Panthers 8/11 | Buccaneers 11/10
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Obada signed with the Panthers as the first player to join the official 53-man roster of an NFL team from the International Pathway program, which gives teams the chance to add an extra man to their squad from a group of selected overseas players.
The 27-year-old is keen to talk about the business in hand though, and that’s to extend their three-game winning streak that’s got them over a dodgy start and losing two straight games – and former MVP quarterback Cam Newton.
Undrafted back-up QB Kyle Allen has engineered three straight wins, although a lot of the credit for those will go to the Panthers defence and livewire running back Christian McCaffrey, who could just be the best in his position in the league.
Unusually, as we’re only in Week Six, these NFC South rivals have already faced each other once this season, with a defensive struggle containing just one touchdown going the Bucs’ way. Although they’re 2-3 head into this, their other win was an eye-watering 95-point shootout against the Rams.
Bucs QB Jameis Winston has been in the league a while now without showing too much, but he’s enjoyed his best ever start this season with only Russell Wilson throwing more touchdowns – and his connection with Chris Godwin has been extremely fruitful of late.
Winston could be in for a long afternoon though with Tampa Bay missing two starting linemen in front of him, and the Panthers are a decent side when it comes to getting after the quarterback.
This game could be decided though by if the Bucs can repeat their holding job on McCaffrey as they did superbly in their early-season victory. It was a remarkable effort when you consider he had just 53 total yards against the Bucs, when in every other games this season he’s topped 175!
Tampa Bay is far too much of a Jekyll-and-Hyde side to trust here as - they beat the Super Bowl runners-up Los Angeles Rams on the road, then handed the New York Giants their only win of the season at home.
The schedule has also been brutal for the Bucs and this Atlantic crossing is their third straight away game, having been to Los Angeles two weeks’ ago and then to New Orleans last week.
Coach Bruce Arians and his team only flew in on Friday as well, a day after the Panthers and, as the Chicago Bears showed when sleep-walking through the first half last week, that can make a big difference, especially for a road weary team.
NFL WEEK 6 Fixtures
Thursday, October 10, 2019
Sunday, October 13, 2019
- Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (London)
- Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens
- Seattle Seahawks at Cleveland Browns
- New Orleans Saints at Jacksonville Jaguars
- Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs
- Washington Redskins at Miami Dolphins
- Philadelphia Eagles at Minnesota Vikings
- Atlanta Falcons at Arizona Cardinals
- San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams
- Tennessee Titans at Denver Broncos
- Dallas Cowboys at New York Jets
- Pittsburgh Steelers at Los Angeles Chargers
Monday, October 14, 2019
- Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers
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