Bucs-Patriots: Tampa Bay Times staff predictions for Thursday's game

Bucs-Patriots: Tampa Bay Times staff predictions for Thursday's game

Bucs-Patriots: Tampa Bay Times staff predictions for Thursday's game

The New England Patriots are looking to bounce back from a second shock defeat in the opening four weeks of the season with a trip to Tampa Bay to take on the Buccaneers, live on Sky Sports.

The 28-year-old played in eight games last season, rushing for 421 yards and three touchdowns. The New England Patriots fell to 2-2 in a disappointing loss to the Carolina Panthers in Week 4.

Despite the 2-2 start, the Patriots offense has been clicking on almost all cylinders.

The story doesn't really touch on the Buccaneers, now 2-1, and inching along to hopefully being a good team, a win here puts them in the right direction toward finally, possibly, making the playoffs.

Tom Brady has played just about everywhere since he emtered the National Football League in 2000.

Over their last 15 games played in the month of October, the Patriots are 13-2 SU and 10-4-1 ATS, per the OddsShark NFL Database. All four of their turnovers forced came in Week 1 against the Chicago Bears and recently benched quarterback Mike Glennon. They havent visited Tampa Bay since 1997.

Led by five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, the run defense has been stout early on. They rank second best in yards-per-attempt allowed at 2.9. The Minnesota defense picked off Winston three times in a 34-17 Vikings victory. "In that respect, maybe it's better that we do play them on a Thursday night".

The NFL mandates that each team play at least one Thursday night game during the regular season. Jackson has just nine receptions in three games.

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is back on the team's injury report ahead of their Thursday night tilt against the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay. They'll face their biggest test of the season coming up against the defending champs.

But in New England, where the Patriots' championship success is now considered a birthright, that's nearly reason to panic. Expect Brady to take a couple shots but also use short passes to running back James White as an extension of the running game. 31-yard INT-TD in past 9 home games. They have the NFL's worst defense, allowing 456.8 yards per game, including an NFL-high 324 passing yards. The opposition is completing 69.7% of their passes. That means that Cooks, the unsafe deep threat that the Patriots acquired from the Saints via trade this offseason, is only the fifth most-favored target in Brady's arsenal. Pamphile has helped the Buccaneers give Winston good protection so far this year; Winston has been sacked five times in three games and has been hit only a dozen times overall.

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