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The Buccaneers enter Thursday nights prime-time matchup riding on a high as they just beat the Giants to improve to 2-1. The Patriots are reeling from an upset at the Buc’s division rival Panthers. Both teams need this pivotal game.
The Buccaneers Jameis Winston is coming off a 300+ yard 3 touchdown game. The Patriots have given up an average of 324 yards-per-game to opposing passers this season. Look for Winston to use his deep threat DeSean Jackson against the suspect secondary of the Pats.
The big news in Tampa this week is the return of Doug Martin. There is still speculation as to how much usage Martin will receive, but he could be just what the Bucs need to get their anemic rushing game going against the Patriots who have given up an average of 132.8 yards-per-game to opposing teams.
On Defense, the Bucs Brent Grimes and Vernon Hargreaves will have their hands full against Brandon Cooks and Chris Hogan. Tom Brady is one of the best passers in the NFL, and the whole Buc’s secondary will need to be on the top of their game.
The most significant key could be the lack of pass rush the Buccaneers have generated this season. They have a total of 1 sack through 3 games along the defensive line. They have to be able to get downfield and make Brady uncomfortable. McCoy has to be a big part of that equation and should register at least his first sack of the season if not more.
The Patriots who are reeling from the loss to the Panthers should be wary of the young Buccaneers team. While the Bill Bellichskand Brady era might be in the waning years, it’s still a tandem to be feared. Behind his solid offensive line, Brady might have all the time in the world to pick the Buc’s secondary apart.
With the multi-headed running back by committee the Patriots use it might wear down the Buccaneers line and linebacker core.
I see a solid performance from the Patriots running backs since Lavonte David for the Buccaneers is once again ruled out with an ankle injury and Kwon Alexander also might not play.
Prediction Buccaneers 35 Patriots 33
Sean Eck, FIU Panther, lead writer ProFootballSpot.com Follow me for more articles like this on twitter @Sean_Eck #gobucs
Tampa Bay and New England will be the most entertaining Thursday night game of the season.
The Patriots are dead last in total defense with the Bucs not too far behind at 30th. New England is surrendering an abysmal 456 yards/game.
With all the talk of DeSean Jackson’s frustration with the offense, look for Tampa Bay to get him more involved.
Jameis looked sharp against the Giants and is due for another big game. With Mike Evans and Cameron Brate already in midseason form, New England has its hands full.
The Bucs will also get Dough Martin back after his suspension. It is not clear what his role will be yet but look for him to add a spark to an offense that is already clicking.
The Bucs still have to handle the number one offense in the league led by Hall of Famer Tom Brady.
Look for Brent Grimes to have another big game if the Bucs want to keep New England from making this a shootout.
With the possibility of having Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David back, this Bucs defense could start to turn their season around.
Prediction: New England 27 Tampa Bay 35
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Here’s the deal. The reigning Super Bowl Champs are coming to town after coming off a loss to Carolina on Sunday. Now is the best opportunity to show the rest of the NFL that Tampa is a serious contender in this league.
The Patriots currently hold the worse statistic in all of the NFL for yards allowed with 456.8 YPG. They also now allow an average of 7.2 yards per play.
This will be a good game statistically for Winston if he can prevent any turnovers. Connecting with the deep threat, Desean Jackson would spread the Patriots defensive backfield out and allow for more one on one matchups for the Buccaneer receivers.
The Buccaneers pass rush needs to be present against the future Hall of Famer Tom Brady on Thursday night. If the defensive front does not pressure Brady, then he will have a hay day connecting with his receivers.
With Linebacker Kwon Alexander ruled out for Thursday’s matchup and Lavonte David doubtful, it’ll be up to rookie sensation Kendell Beckwith to continue his outstanding play at middle Linebacker.
If the defensive front can cause havoc up front, then Beckwith and gang will have time to cover tight end Rob Gronkowski in the short passing game.
I predict the Buccaneers to wow the Patriots much like last year’s Seattle game and keep Tom Brady in check allowing Winston to have another 300 yard, three touchdown night.
Prediction: Buccaneers 35 New England 28
Philip Schwegler is a contributor for Pro Football Focus covering your Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Follow @PhilSchweg on Twitter for more of his work. As always, Speak Softly, and Carry a Big STICK!!!!!
The Patriots travel to Tampa Bay after suffering an upset loss from the Bucs division foe, the Carolina Panthers. They look to right the ship defensively and stop the Buc’s pirate ship from cannon fire.
The Bucs are ready to show their revitalized fan base and the world that they are a team on the rise. They are now fully loaded on offense with the return of RB Doug Martin to help balance their attack.
Tom Brady is the face of NFL, but at 40, he’ll soon retire. Tampa has a guy that has the same fire as Brady does, and he’s only 23. Could that torch be passed at Raymond James Stadium on Thursday Night?
Prediction: Buccaneers 31 Patriots 34
Rod Thurman is a contributor for Profootballspot.com covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Follow me on Twitter @BucBoy
The Patriots defense will FINALLY start to figure it out this week against a turnover prone Jameis Winston.
I know, I know file that one under the “bold predictions” category, but I truly do believe this will be the game they begin to come together.
Throughout his career, Winston has a habit of turning the ball over. So far, this year is no exception as he has already tossed three interceptions to six touchdowns. Add that to the fact it’s a short week and he could be in trouble against a more seasoned Patriots defense.
The other reason I have faith in the Patriots defense is that all the errors they have made have been due to lack of communication, not lack of talent. If they can all get on the same page, they will eliminate the problems and be the defense everyone was expecting them to be.
As for the offense, there isn’t much to say. They will put up points, especially against a Buccaneers defense that will more than likely be missing Lavonte David, T.J. Ward and Kwon Alexander.
The key to the Patriots pulling away with this one is consistency, something they haven’t really been able to do.
They come out guns blazing in the first quarter, only to bog down until the fourth. They will need sustained production especially against a Buccaneer’s offense that has the potential to explode.
I expect a good game, but I think the skill and experience of the Patriots will prove too much for Tampa Bay on a short week.
Prediction: Patriots 31 Buccaneers 24
Alex Stewart, Lead Writer for the Patriots on Profootballspot.com, Twitter: @7TheAlexStewart
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Expect Thursday Night Football to be a high-scoring shootout this week.
Both the Pats and Bucs are giving up a lot of points so far this season, but the Pats have a considerable chance of improvement this week with Dont’a Hightower playing more snaps than he did last week (where he played just under 60 percent).
Hightower should solidify an otherwise shaky New England defense, as he is the key to their communication on the field.
The Patriots often have a tough time with mobile QB’s and need to hold containment, by keeping Jameis Winston in the pocket and making him beat them with his arm.
If they can do this, while at the same time getting pressure off the ends from young pass rushers, Trey Flowers and Deatrich Wise Jr., they will have a good chance to come out victorious and avoid falling below .500 on the season.
Prediction: Patriots 34 Buccaneers 27
Kristina is a contributor for the Patriots on profootballspot.com. Follow her on twitter @KristinaV_18