The 2-2 New England Patriots will travel to Tampa Bay to play the 2-1 Buccaneers on Thursday night after each teams fates were decided as clock expired last week. The Patriots lost at home 33-30 to the Carolina Panthers on a last second field goal. Tampa Bay beat the New York Giants on a Nick Folk 34 yard field goal to end the game. The Buccaneers running game ranks 26th in the league with just 84.7 yards per game. They will get a big boost with the return of running back Doug Martin from a 4 game performing enhancing drug suspension.
Tom Brady had another solid game last week finishing with a passer rating of 104.6. He completed 32 of 45 passes for 307 yards, 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. On the season he has a 66.5 completion percentage, 10 touchdowns, no interceptions and 1,399 yards in just four games. His favorite target was James White who had 10 catches for 47 yards. Chris Hogan also had a nice game with 5 catches for 60 yards and a touchdown. They rushed for 80 yards with Mike Gillislee leading with 49 yards on 12 carries. Defensively they gave up 446 yards of offense but were able to intercept Cam Newton once and sack him twice. They struggled against the rush as Carolina gained 140 yards on 29 carries. They also recovered a fumble and had 2 tackles for losses.
Jameis Winston outdueled Eli Manning finishing with a passer rating of 113. He completed 22 of 38 passes for 332 yards, 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Through 3 games he has thrown for 864 yards, 6 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Adam Humphries led the team with 6 catches and 70 yards. Mike Evans also played well with 5 catches for 67 yards and a touchdown. Jaquizz Rogers led the team in rushing with 83 yards on 16 carries. Defensively, they did not force any turnovers nor did they have any sacks. They did a good job against the rush limiting New York to just 91 yards on 28 carries.
Tampa bay has the better record and home field advantage yet still find themselves 5.5-point underdogs. They have gone 2-1 against the spread this season while New England has gone 2-2. Through the first four games the Patriots defense has allowed an average of 32 points and 456 yards, which are both highs in the Bill Belichick era. This is after they finished last season leading the league in scoring defense. The return of Doug Martin will help the Buccaneers offense as they have rushed for 126 yards in the last two games combined. Safety T.J. Ward and linebacker Lavonte David are inactive for this game with injuries. For New England wide receiver Matthew Slater and running back Rex Burkhead are also inactive due to injury. Last weeks loss at Gillette Stadium was their second of the season and they haven’t lost 2 home games in the regular season since 2012.
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