Published: Thu, October 05, 2017
Entertaiment | By Lawrence Myers

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

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

While it can throw out some all-time classics like the 13-9 Houston Texans victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2 of this season, TNF can also produce some bore-fests. "He stretches the field on you, sideline to sideline, vertical passer, five-thousand yards the last two years offensively, 50 touchdowns".

"He's a great young player", Brady said.

Koetter has heard excuses like how Winston did not have enough playmakers last season due to injuries but quipped, "Tom Brady's been doing that for years and they're talking about him winning his 100th MVP". Martin is back. Winston will find Jackson a lot more. The Patriots have been very bad defensively.

"Every week we go in seeing what we can take advantage of".

But Winston said he needs to do a better job of targeting wide receiver DeSean Jackson, a free-agent acquisition who has struggled to get opportunities. They're not going to just allow teams to get yards on them.

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Whether this indicates Rodgers is getting up to speed and is in sync with the blocking of the offensive line, or if this just happened to be a great day, is the dilemma the Buccaneers will have to sort out leading up to Thursday.

How well might the greatest quarterback of all time perform against that defense?

Buccaneers safety T.J. Ward, who may be able to play this Thursday night against the Patriots depending on his hip, is one of those players that is completely against TNF taking place.

BOUNCING BACK: Facing the Patriots after a loss has not been an enviable proposition for opponents during the Belichick and Brady era.

A loss drops New England to 2-3. The offense for the Patriots has kept up, scoring 32.3 per game.

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"There's always urgency here", he said. "But we're the only people who can do something about it". He's the only player with three-straight games of 11-plus targets this season. New England is allowing teams to score 32 points per game. New England averages a paltry 3.6 yards per carry on the season, with their five rushing touchdowns largely a product of a prolific passing game.

Martin missed the first three games of the season as he finished the suspension he started in Week 17 of last season. But in ideal contrast, New England ranks dead last in yards surrendered with 456.8 per game and second in points allowed with 32 per game.

The general consensus in the locker room is that part of the problem has been communication.

The Super Bowl champs are playing for the bounce-back this week, after falling at home to Carolina on Sunday 33-30.

Defensive captain Dont'a Hightower said while there were plenty of issues to clean up during the short week, "The time is now".

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