Philippe Moreau

New England, Brady Will Recover Mojo Against Tampa Bay

Created on Sept. 21, 2013 6:55 AM EST

It isn’t going too well for the New England Patriots. Even though the defense is holding its ground, the offense, which has carried the team in recent years, is having a hard time finding its rhythm. 

Quarterback Tom Brady has had trouble finding his receivers, and when he found them, they have often dropped the ball. Brady might have trouble posting sound passing numbers again this week, as he is playing against a familiar foe. Darrelle Revis is one of the cornerbacks for the Bucs after he was traded from the Jets to Tampa Bay. Brady has had difficulty against the cornerback from the University of Pittsburgh. The quarterback even said earlier this week that Revis was the best corner he had faced in his career.

Speaking of Revis, he was apparently dissatisfied with the way he was utilized in Greg Schiano’s defense. The second year coach out of Rutgers and Revis had a discussion earlier this week about his utilization. The cornerback normally thrives in man-to-man situations, where he shuts down top wide receivers.

The Patriots offense has to find rhythm, and it will be hard to pass against both Revis and Goldson who were offseason acquisitions. Goldson was given a suspension for a helmet-to-helmet hit earlier this week, but it was eventually revoked. He will play this Sunday. The Tampa Bay defense allowed an average of 255 passing yards over its two first games, which is good for the 18th place in the league. Julian Edelman, who was targeted 18 times in the last game versus the Jets, will probably have a busy Sunday afternoon. Tampa Bay doesn’t allow a lot of yards on the run also, as it has only given up an average of 82.5 yards per game. The Patriots’ running game is ranked 13th with 106 yards per game, but it wasn’t a big factor in both of New England’s wins.

The New England offense will play a tough Tampa Bay defense, and all signs point to another difficult game for the offense, which unusually ranks 21st in passing yards per game. 

One of the bright spots for the New England team is the defense, which is fourth against the pass. This ranking might also be this good because the Pats played against two rookie quarterbacks, E.J. Manuel and Geno Smith, to start the season. The defense is full of promising players like Jerod Mayo, Chandler Jones, Brandon Spikes and Devin McCourty. Mayo, who is becoming a leader on this defense, has 21 tackles so far. Doug Martin might have some fun against a defense that has allowed an average of 132.5 yards per game, but usually the Patriots are good at taking away the opposite team’s best offensive weapon.

This will leave the game in Josh Freeman’s hands, and that is what the Patriots want. The fifth year quarterback out of Kansas State was rumored to ask for a trade, but he obviously denied those reports. It hasn’t been going too well for Freeman in the past years; despite a productive rookie season. Tampa Bay’s passing offense ranks 31st in the league with an average of 149 passing yards per game despite having explosive wide receiver Vincent Jackson.

It will be a matchup between two struggling offenses and it might be a game where the team that plays the least badly wins. Each offense will have to limit its turnovers, and the Patriots are usually pretty good at that. The Pats are tied with Miami atop the division, and it might be harder than expected for them to win the AFC east. They will have to improve their offense, and it looks like Gronkowski will sit out again, which will make it even harder.

The Patriots’ experience will help them win this game. Bill Belichick and Brady normally find ways to win games even though they are not always pretty. New England will be up 3-0 by game end.

Patriots 24 – Buccaneers - 16 

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