By: Jason Green
New England Patriots (2-2 SU 1-3 ATS) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1 SU 1-2 ATS)
What is up the with the defending champion Patriots? They lost their last Game and they are at 2-2 tied with the lowly New York Jets trailing the 3-1 Buffalo Bills in the AFC East. Tom Brady has the most passing yards in the NFL and while New England has the top-ranked offense in the league their defense ranks dead last and their secondary has been torched.
At 5 dimes sportsbook the Patriots are 5-point favorites with a total of 55.5.
The Buccaneers moved over .500 with a win in their last Game over the New York Giants and they get lead RB Doug Martin back after his three-Game suspension. Tampa Bay has not faced the Pats since the 2013 season in New England where they lost 23-3. Tampa Bay is with Atlanta and Carolina in the NFC South and they all have winning records early in the season.
The favorite has covered the spread in the last Four Games between these non-Conference teams.
In their last Game the Patriots fell to .500 with a 33-30 loss to the Carolina Panthers where they GAve up a Game-winning field goal as time expired. They had 373 yards in the Game and forced two turnovers and had none of their own, but GAve up 444 yards. Brady passed for 307 yards and had 2 TD and no INT, but was sacked three times and only converted on 50% on 3rd down while Carolina was 6 for 9 on 3rd downs. Mike Gillislee rushed for 49 yards averaging 4.1 yards per carry and no matter the numbers Brady is putting up New England may rely on the run more to keep their struggling defense off the field.
The Pats will face a Tampa Bay defense that allowed the Giants to GAin 379 yards, but they played well against the run.
The Bucs beat the Giants 25-23 in their last Game where they had 434 yards and had a balanced attack. That attack will be better in this Game with return of the suspended Doug Martin. Jameis Winston passed for 332 yards with 3 TD and no INT and Four players had at least 63 receiving yards. Winston was only sacked oNCe and the New England pass rush has to get to him to take the pressure off their secondary. Jacquizz Rodgers rushed for 83 yards and now with Martin in the backfield Tampa’ s offense will provide another challenge for the Pats’ defense that has been much scrutinized and with good reason.
The Patriots are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 road Games, 6-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record, and in their last 8 Games they have an Over record of 8-0.
The Buccaneers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 Games overall, 5-1 ATS in their last 6 Games following a straight up win, and in their last 5 home Games the Under record is 4-1.
Jason’s Pick: The Pats have major issues on the defensive side of the ball and have not covered the spread in their last two Games AND they are on the road. However, the Bucs are 0-4 ATS in their last Four Thursday Games and that trend will continue. New England will play much better on D and Brady will put up legit numbers again and the Pats will win this prime-time Thursday Game and cover the spread as well in the Sunshine State.