TV Schedule: Sunday, Sept. 22, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX
Stadium: Gillette Stadium
Weather: Low 51, High 74
Line: New England (-9)
It’s been a tough season so far for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Brady has seen each of his top targets from a year ago dwindle away into nothingness as he has led this team to the 21st rank in passing yards per game. Brady has had the worst start to his season in recent memory with just 473 yards and three touchdowns while hitting Julian Edelman on almost half of his completions. Danny Amendola is out for a few weeks with a groin injury while Rob Gronkowski could be back — which would be huge for Brady as he is the top red zone target. The Patriots need a red zone target because they rank second-to-last in the league in red zone offense, scoring a touchdown only a quarter of the time.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a team under fire lately. Greg Schiano has received a ton of criticism lately for his handling of the team and quarterback Josh Freeman. Sitting at 0-2, this team needs to wake up before they keep spiraling out of control. Freeman has been mediocre, at best, this season with just 335 yards and two scores and under a 50 percent completion rate. The run game is having much more success than the 31st ranked pass attack as Doug Martin has 209 yards and a touchdown on 53 carries through two weeks. Vincent Jackson has caught half of all of Freeman’s completions, 12, for 231 yards, but hasn’t scored a touchdown yet.
Defensively, the Buccaneers have the best red zone defense in football, allowing teams to score a touchdown less than 20 percent of the time. Facing one of the worst teams at scoring touchdowns inside the 20, the Buccaneers look to have success in that aspect. With Gronkowski possibly returning, that gives this team just one proven receiver while Darrelle Revis covers Edelman. The Patriots will have a hard time containing Martin as they rank 28th in the league in rush yards allowed with over 130 per game. Freeman won’t have fun against the fourth best pass defense, though.
PREDICTION: Buccaneers 14, Patriots 27