BOSTON (CBS) – The WBZ-TV, 98.5 The Sports Hub and WBZ NewsRadio 1030 Sports teams make their prediction for Sunday’s Patriots-Buccaneers matchup at Gillette Stadium.
Dan Roche, WBZ-TV Sports
I was as stunned as the rest of New England watching the Pats offense last week in their win over the Jets, I couldn’t believe the number of drops, bad throws, mistakes, and general ineptitude. I expect things will be better no matter who is out there this week. They have to be. Tom Brady will be better. Tampa Bay is in disarray and didn’t look all that good when they came in here to practice and play in the preseason. My only fear is that Josh Freeman gets benched during the game and Mike Glennon starts slinging the ball all over the place. Other than that … the Patriots should roll.
Patriots 31, Buccaneers 17
Steve Burton, WBZ-TV Sports
The Patriots won their first two games by a total of five points, and that was against the Bills and Jets. The Buccaneers come in with a stronger defense, so Tom Brady and the offense will have its toughest test yet. If the Bucs do frustrate Brady he may never show it; he’s determined to keep his body language in check after last Thursday’s outbursts.
The Pats would love to have Gronk back, but with or without him, other receivers have to step up. And I’m not just talking about Julian Edelman, who leads the team with 20 receptions (he’s tied with Houston’s Andre Johnson for the most in the NFL).
As strong as Tampa is on defense, their offense is suspect. Quarterback Josh Freeman may not last the year, as his 63.0 passer rating is the lowest in the NFC.
The Patriots should be sharper on Sunday, and come out of the weekend 3-0.
Patriots 27, Buccaneeers 17
Levan Reid, WBZ-TV Sports
So the Pats get the time off and get the rest they need. It doesn’t mean they will get Gronk back for Sunday and Danny Amendola is surely a no go.
Let’s get this out of the way first: the Patriots are better than the Bucs and they should beat them. Even in this state, they are a more together team and they have much better focus.
The Pats defense will try to lock up Vincent Jackson in the slot and the stop Doug Martin on the ground, and I like the defense’s chances at that. They will put the game in the hands of Tampa quarterback Josh Freeman, and right now, he’s not ready to lead.
What should we expect to see from the Pats offense? How about some pride. The guys up front are upset they didn’t run the ball the last game, they’ll try and get that done on Sunday. Tom Brady will calm his emotions and the kids will hold on to the ball. I expect Aaron Dobson to have a better game. Yes he had some drops on last Thursday, but he was open.
Patriots 24, Buccaneers 14
Scott Zolak, 98.5 The Sports Hub
Doug Martin will have some success running the football and go over 100 yards, but Josh Freeman will lose this game. Defense will win the turnover battle and the Pats will look more consistent on offense. They’ll be more balanced with the pass, and expect a good game from Stevan Ridley.
Patriots 24, Buccaneers 13
This is an interesting one for the Patriots because you don’t know where Tampa is at in terms of their head coach. Are they going to rally around Greg Schiano and play hard?
That said, Gronkowski should be back and TEs have killed the Tampa D this year. Even Kellen Winslow Jr. of the Jets had 79 yards and a touchdown.
But this one will be like the first two. The Patriots will play a close game, and come out on top.
Patriots 21, Buccaneers 17
Walt Perkins, WBZ NewsRadio 1030
Sunday in Foxboro pits a 2-0 team that could just as easily be 0-2 against an 0-2 team that could just as easily be 2-0.
But the reason the Patriots are unbeaten and the Bucs aren’t is because the Patriots made the plays down the stretch when they had to and Tampa Bay did not.
Nothing will change in that regard on Sunday.
Patriots 20, Buccaneers 13
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