The defending Super Bowl Champions come into Ray Jay to try and end Tampa Bay’s 6 game home winning streak. Can the Bucs continue to #TakeBackRayJay and finish the first quarter of the season at 3-1?
Records: Tampa Bay 2-1, New England 2-2
Game Time/Network: 8:25 pm EST, CBS/NFL Network, Jim Nantz and Tony Romo.
Spread: New England -5.6
Series: New England leads the Series 6-2
Tampa Bay – Offense (12th in scoring, 9th overall, 3rd passing, 26th rushing), Defense (16th in scoring, 30th overall, 31st vs. the pass, 5th vs. the run)
New England – Offense (2nd in scoring, 1st overall, 1st passing, 20th rushing), Defense (31st in scoring, 32nd overall, 32nd vs. the pass, 26th vs. the run)
Bucs Player to Watch
Doug Martin makes his return to the Tampa Bay lineup to help the Bucs’ struggling running game. Tampa Bay averaged 84.7 yards a game on the ground without their bell cow and survived with a 2-1 record. Now Martin, if healthy, can build upon a solid pre-season and give the Bucs offense another dimension.
Patriots Player to Watch
Who else but the GOAT? Tom Brady continues to re-write NFL record books and this year he’s had to do it with a banged up offense and a horrid defense. Even with those deficiencies, Brady is having another banner year at 40 years old. The Pats future Hall of Famer has 10 TDs, no interceptions, has thrown for nearly 1,400 yards and has a completed 66.5% of his passes. The Pats have had to rely on that Brady magic, too, as he brought them back for a victory against Houston and nearly did it again last week against Carolina. Even at 40, no lead is safe when Tom Brady is the quarterback.
When the Bucs Have the Ball
The Patriots are bad on defense. Saints bad. Dungy Colts bad. They are literally half a team right now. So the Bucs need to use that to their advantage. First off, you can’t leave points on the field as they did last week against the Giants. Every single point will be precious against the Patriots. Of course, turnovers will be huge as well. Winston has to protect the football, as he did in their other two Bucs wins. The Bucs need to get a running game going and protect their defense against the potent Patriots offense by controlling time of possession.
When the Patriots Have the Ball
Hold on to your butts. The Bucs defense can’t rush the passer, which means Tom Brady will have all day to throw the ball. Tampa Bay’s defense will rely on it’s secondary and it’s ability to stop the run to try and slow down the Pats attack but the bottom line is, the Bucs need some turnovers from the defense to prevent New England from lighting up those new scoreboards at Ray Jay.
Weird Facts That May Only Be Interesting To Me
- In his long, amazing career Tom Brady has never played at Raymond James Stadium.
- The Patriots haven’t played in Tampa since 1997.
- Bill Belichick has never coached a game at Raymond James Stadium.
- New England has won the last three meetings with Tampa Bay by an average score of 29-3.
- Jameis Winston is 6-0 in his last six home games with 9 TDs and 3 ints.
- Winston has a 96.1 QB rating on Thursday Night Football, with 5 TDs and 1 int.
- Before losing to Kansas City earlier this year, the Patriots had won 7 straight games on Thursday Night Football.