It’s week three in the NFL, and this afternoon, Josh Freeman, Doug Martin, and the rest of Greg Schiano’s Buccaneers head into Foxboro to take on Tom Brady and the 2-0 New England Patriots. The Patriots enter this one after winning a 13-10 battle over the New York Jets in September 12th. Despite the fact that Tom Brady completed less than 50% of his passes for one of the few times in his career, the Patriots did enough to win the game.
The Buccaneers, on the other hand, bring a 0-2 record, and a team in a bit of turmoil. Darrelle Revis, and reportedly the majority of the roster, are getting a little fed up with all of the rules that Greg Schiano has brought with him. Winning cures all, however, and the Bucs would feel a lot better if they can steal a win today in Foxboro. They are coming off a tough 16-14 loss to the New Orleans Saints last week.
If ever the Patriots are ripe to be upset, it’s right now, as we saw last week against the Jets. Tom Brady has never been so off the page with his wide receivers as he is right now. No Wes Welker, no Deion Branch, no Gronk…etc., have made it a tough go for Tom and company.
It has shown in the stats, as the Patriots are 21st in the league in passing offense, have completed only slightly over 52% of their passes so far. Very unlike Tom, we can all agree. The Buccaneers’ defense has not been bad against the pass, only allowing approximately 58% of passes to be completed.
The trouble is, as we saw last week, as long as #12 is on the field, and the man with the hood is on the sidelines, the Patriots do just enough to win, and win consistently. That what makes them so tough.
As the Jets did, the Bucs’ need to get pressure on Tom. They must frustrate him with different fronts for him to look at, and get pressure in his face. The only way that defense will have a chance is to get to Brady. If they can’t do it, it will be a long afternoon for Tampa Bay fans.
Tampa will also have to attack the Patriots down the field. New England is not ranked 29th in pass defense because their secondary is a bunch of world beaters. They can be taken. That being said, they also have the third best running back in the league in Doug Martin. He will have to have a successful game as well for the Bucs to have a chance.
For the Patriots, they simply have to get on the same page with their quarterback. It’s been a long time since Tom Brady has been as frustrated as he was against the Jets. The Patriots must simply get back to playing Patriots football. If they get back on the same page, they are explosive. If not, Tampa will have a chance.