The Buccaneers welcomes the reigning Super Bowl champs to Tampa. Patriots are favorites, but should they be?
It’s Thursday Night Football, and wether you like Thursday games or not, this should be a good one. Tampa Bay Buccaneers was supposed to be the Super Bowl dark horse this year, but Jameis Winston hasn’t been looking as solid as usual. Still, they have two wins. Patriots does too, but they were supposed to go 19-0, weren’t they? 2-2 after four weeks, that’s not very impressive. If Patriots were to fall to a negative record five games into the season… woah, that’s actually a big deal. And it can happen.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs New England Patriots
Raymond James Stadium – Fri 6 Oct, 2:30 CEST
TV: Viasport, NFL Network, Amazon Prime Video
Buccaneers record: 2-1
New England record: 2-2
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||New England Patriots|
|QB: Jameis Winston | RB: Doug Martin | TE: OJ Howard, Cameron Brate | WR: Mike Evans, Desean Jackson | OL: Smith, Pamphile, Marpet, Sweezy, Dotson||QB: Tom Brady | RB: James White, Mike Gillislee | TE: Rob Gronkowski | WR: Chris Hogan, Brandin Cooks | OL: Solder, Thuney, Andrews, Mason, Cannon|
So, looking at those offensive starters, you understand why the New England Patriots is the favorites in this game. Tom Brady showed last February that he can win any game. And he didn’t even have Gronk or Cooks in that Super Bowl. So why have they lost two games this season? The defense.
The New England defense has been an emberrasment so far. They have allowed 456,8 yards per game so far, which is most in the NFL. Actually, it’s the most by a landslide. Indianapolis Colts are next on the list with 396,3 yards per game. How could the defense go from being the 8th best defense in 2016, to being the worst in the NFL for the first four weeks in 2017? Well, they did lose DE Chris Long, CB Logan Ryan and LB Rob Ninkovich. Three solid starters, but you didn’t really think they were the reason to why Patriots did OK on defense. Also, they did aquire CB Stephon Gilmore from Buffalo, but he hasn’t been nearly as good as I expected. It really is a bit of a mystery.
On the other side, we have an offense who dominates defenders. Mike Evans can win any ball over any defensive back, and Desean Jackson can run away anybody. That’s two guys that’s hard to defend, and we’re talking a defense who has struggled against big and physical receivers like Kelvin Benjamin, Devin Funchess, DeAndre Hopkins and Michael Thomas, and also fast guys like Tyreek Hill. And I haven’t even mentioned that Doug Martin is back from suspension this week. That’s huge too.
So I do expect Jameis Winston to connect with his big receivers. Mike Evans will catch balls, Cameron Brate will catch balls, and don’t forget OJ Howard. This could easliy be his breakout game as a Bucs player. And when the Patriots are too worried about covering those guys, the deep ball will come to Desean Jackson. And then Tom Brady will have to answer every single drive. There will be points.
Buccaneers 38 – 34 Patriots
TDs: Mike Evans x2, OJ Howard & Doug Martin x2.
Chris Hogan x2, Gronk, Gillislee.
WRITTEN BY MATTIS HOLT, SPORTS WRITER & VALUELIVE SHOW HOST FOR VALUEWINS
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