The Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense are going to have to put up a lot of points to get a win this Thursday vs. the New England Patriots. Which Bucs will show up big on the stat sheet and who you should avoid starting against the defending Super Bowl Champs?
Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans was an eyelash away from recording three touchdowns instead of just the one he ended up with Sunday against the Giants. He had one touchdown taken off the board when the review showed that he came down at the half yard line instead of landing in the end zone. He had another negated by a double pass interference call. Evans ended up having a decent fantasy day, five catches for 67 yards and that one score. This Sunday I think the breaks go his way and he has a monster night.
New England’s defense is dead last against the pass and next to last in points given up to opposing teams. The Patriots offense however is second in the league in points scored, averaging over 32 per game. So the Buccaneers are going to have to air it out to go blow for blow with Tom Brady and company.
The Patriots corners have struggled this year, mostly because of communication breakdowns. High priced free agent new comer Stephon Gilmore is having trouble adjusting to defensive coordinators Matt Patricia scheme and 2nd team All-Pro Malcolm Butler hasn’t found his 2016 form.
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Quite frankly the Patriots don’t have the horses to run with the Bucs offense. Expect a ton of zone from New England, but if Winston gets protection he will have no problem finding his favorite receiver.
Box Score: 11 catches for 137 yards and two touchdowns
This one is kind of a no brainer. The Bucs defense has had a great game, terrible game and a good game. They have been soft against the pass and only have one sack in its first three games.
Tom Brady knows he has to score a least 30 points to have a chance at winning. Look for Brady to take multiple shots down the field all of them against Vernon Hargreaves. The middle of the field should also be open for the Patriots QB. The Bucs have yet to prove that they can stop a short, quick release passing game and Brady is the best in the business at that style of offense.
Box Score: 441 total yards given up and 38 points against. 2 sacks, 0 interceptions
The easiest way to keep Tom Brady and his offense from scoring 30+ points on your team is to keep him and his offense on the bench. The best way to do that is to control the clock by running the ball effectively.
In the ultimate rest vs. rust scenario the return of suspended running back Doug Martin could be the key to victory this Thursday for the Buccaneers.
Martin looked great in training camp, trust me I saw over 10 practices. He is by far the best back on the Bucs roster and will be asked to control the ball and the clock for his team. This is a true sleeper pick by all accounts.
Will Martin be in game ready shape, able to carry an NFL workload? Will he split carries with Jacquizz Rodgers? Will Doug Martin even start?
Martin starts the game and starts the game hot. His presence in the backfield gives his offensive line an extra lift and they open up holes for him early. Rodgers will spell Martin at some point, either late in the second quarter or early in the third. Martin will fed the rock and will be a difference maker in limiting the Patriots possessions and keeping Brady off the field.
Box Score: 108 yards on 19 carries and one touchdown
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You can find me on Twitter @Ren_Daxt, I’m always down to talk Buccaneers football
Until next time