Much has changed since first the teams met in Week 2's 20-14 Tampa Bay victory.
It was a turning point for the Panthers, as it was their last game with Cam Newton under center. The longtime face of the franchise will not make the trip to London and continues his road back from a foot injury. In Newton's absence, Kyle Allen has stepped up and led Carolina to three straight victories, having emphatically ended their troublesome skid to start the season.
This is a crucial game for both teams, but it's arguable that this is a more pivotal point in the season for the Buccaneers, who are technically the home team, but are in the midst of a long stretch away from Tampa Bay that began with a Week 4 trip to Los Angeles and extends past the upcoming bye week all the way until a Week 10 return to Raymond James Stadium to welcome the Cardinals.
The resplendence in cleats that is CMC
A bit of a bum back after taking a bump on a touchdown flip into the end zone in a Week 5 loss to the Jaguars slowed McCaffrey in practice this week, but it's hard not to expect to see something special when CMC is on the field.
Heading into Sunday's game, McCaffrey has churned out 866 scrimmage yards, the most by anyone since Hall of Famer Jim Brown's 988 since 1963. McCaffrey's 105 rushes, 136 touches, 587 rushing yards and 117.4 yards rushing per game are all also tops in the league. His 31 catches are the best among NFC running backs.
Numbers don't tell the whole tale, though, as McCaffrey has turned in a slew of highlight-reel plays.
However, it was the Bucs who bottled him up better than anyone over the first five weeks, containing him to 16 carries for 37 yards and two catches for 16 yards in Week 2. It's true to Tampa Bay form thus far, as the Bucs are third in rushing yards allowed (56 yards per game), and first against scrimmage yards allowed by running backs (91.6).
Nobody's slowed CMC like the Bucs. Will they do it again?
Jameis and the mercurial Bucs receiving corps
Through the ups and downs, Bucs first-year coach Bruce Arians is going to stick by quarterback Jameis Winston. Since a three-interception season debut against the 49ers, Winston has thrown just two picks over the past four weeks and since Week 1 is third in the NFL with a 111.6 QB rating (trailing Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson -- and two spots ahead of new Panthers starter Kyle Allen's 107.4).
However, Evans is coming off a zero-catch performance against the Saints -- just the second time in his career he's been shut out, both by New Orleans. Of Evans' four scores, three came in a monster eight-catch, 190-yard showing in Week 3. In Week 4, he had four catches for 89 yards and a touchdown. Other than those two weeks, he's been largely held in check.
Godwin's 511 yards receiving and five touchdowns make him the first wideout to reach each of those statistical marks in the first five weeks since 2007, when the great Randy Moss did so. Though not as noticeable as Evans, Godwin has tallied three 100-yard games, but in two others has been held to a combined 93 yards on six catches.
So the question lingers in London as to whether the dynamic duo will turn in big performances or be held in check by Carolina's fourth-ranked passing defense?
Don't forget the defensive standouts in this one
In contrast, Shaquil Barrett's league-leading nine sacks through five games are double the amount he registered in any of his previous full seasons during his five-year tenure in Denver.
Another contrast is that Barrett is standing out for Tampa Bay, which has just 11 sacks as a team with the rest of the squad combining for only two.
Tampa's tough against the run, but overall has struggled as it's 26th in total defense, 29th in scoring and at the bottom of the league in passing.
The biggest names in London on Sunday will be on the offensive side of the ball, but there's plenty of high-production defenders poised to make an international impact.