Thursday Night Football Picks: New England Patriots at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

New England Patriots at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Thursday, October 5, 2017, 8:25 pm Eastern, TV: CBS, NFL Network
Raymond James Stadium – Tampa Bay, Florida
Opening Line: New England -4
Current Line: New England -5 1/2
Opening Total: 54
Current Total: 54
Opening Money Line: Patriots -245 / Buccaneers +205
Current Money Line: Patriots -250 / Buccaneers +210

The 2-2 New England Patriots take on the 2-1 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Thursday night.

Before the season started, if someone had said after four weeks that the New England Patriots and New York Jets would both be 2-2 and looking up in the AFC East standings at the 3-1 Buffalo Bills, you would thought they were insane. However, that is exactly where the Patriots find themselves as they travel to the 2-1 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Thursday night.The Buccaneers are a half game behind the 3-1 Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons

New England leads the series 6-2 against Tampa Bay. The Patriots have won the last three games in the series all by 20 points or more. New England won the last meeting at home 23-3 in 2013. New England hasn’t played in Tampa Bay since 1997, and the last Buccaneers win in the series came in 2000.

New England is coached by Bill Belichick. The Patriots have home losses to the Kansas City Chiefs 42-27 and last week against the Carolina Panthers 33-30. New England has a road win over the New Orleans Saints 36-20 and a home win over the Houston Texans 36-33. Against Carolina, the Patriots trailed 30-16 in the fourth before rallying to tie. The Panthers kicked the game winning 48 yard field goal as time expired. New England was a 9 point favorite against Carolina. The Patriots are 1-3 ATS and the over is 4-0 this season.

Tampa Bay is coached by Dirk Koetter. The Buccaneers’ opening game against the Miami Dolphins was postponed due to Hurricane Irma to week 11 when both teams have a mutual bye. Tampa Bay has  home wins over the Chicago Bears 29-7 and New York Giants 25-23 last week and a road loss at the Minnesota Vikings 34-17. The Giants took a 23-22 lead with 3:16 left in the fourth, but the Buccaneers kicked the game winning 34 yard field goal as time expired to drop New York to 0-4. Tampa Bay was a 2.5 point favorite and the total was 45.5. The Buccaneers are 1-2 ATS and the total is 2-1 this season.

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New England is outscoring opponents 32.2-32 this season. The Patriots are #2 in scoring and #31 in points allowed. New England averages 424 yards per game on offense including 328 passing and 96 rushing yards. New England is #1 in total and passing offense. The Patriots are allowing 457 yards per game on defense including 324 passing and 133 rushing yards. New England is last in total and passing defense and #26 in rush defense. The Patriots are 26/58 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 21/48. New England has forced 13 sacks and allowed 8 this season. The Patriots are +4 in turnovers.

Quarterback Tom Brady has completed 66.5% of his passes for 1,399 yards with 10 touchdowns and no interceptions, along with 6 carries for 17 rushing yards. He has been sacked 13 times.  Jimmy Garoppolo is the back-up.

Running back Mike Gillislee has 57 carries for 194 yards and 4 touchdowns. James White has 18 carries for 73 yards and has 22 catches for 173 yards. Dion Lewis has 12 carries for 46 yards and a touchdown, plus 5 catches for 32 yards. Rex burkhead is out with a rib injury.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski has 20 catches for 318 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is questionable with a thigh injury. Receiver Brandin Cooks has 13 catches for 292 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Chris Hogan has 15 catches for 215 yards and 4 touchdowns.  Danny Amendola has 15 catches for 190 yards and a touchdown.  Malcolm Mitchell is out until at least week 10 with a knee injury.  Receiver Julian Edelman is out with a torn ACL suffered in the pre-season. Ten defensive players and three offensive linemen are listed on the injury report.

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Tampa Bay is outscoring teams 24-21 this season. The Buccaneers average 362 yards per game on offense including 278 passing and 85 rushing yards. The Buccs are #9 in total offense, #3 in passing and #26 in rushing.  Tampa Bay allows 394 total yards per game including 316 passing and 79 rushing. The Buccaneers are #30 in total offense, #31 against the pass and #5 in rush defense.  Tampa Bay is 12/33 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 22/47. The Buccs have forced a sack and allowed 5 this season. Tampa Bay is even in turnovers.

Quarterback Jameis Winston has completed 63% of his passes for 864 yards with 6 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, along with 6 carries for 19 rushing yards.

Running back Jacquizz Rogers has 40 carries for 165 yards and a touchdown, plus 2 catches for 25 yards.  Peyton Barber has 12 carries for 49 yards. Doug Martin returns from a four game suspension.

Receiver Mike Evans has 19 catches for 227 yards and 2 touchdowns. Adam Humphries has 14 catches for 156 yards. DeSean Jackson has 9 catches for 143 yards and a touchdown. Cameron Brate has 10 catches for 137 yards and 2 touchdowns. Tight end O.J. Howard has 4 catches for 92 yards and a touchdown. Chris Godwin has 3 catches for 44 yards.  Seven defensive players are on the injury report.

New England is 5-0 ATS against teams with winning road records, 4-0 in road games, 6-0 on grass, 7-1 after allowing more than 350 yards, 6-1 against teams with winning records, 13-3 in week five, 17-5-2 after allowing more than 250 passing yards, 6-2 after failing to cover, 9-3 overall, 24-9 after allowing 30 points or more, 12-5 after passing for 250 yards or more, 40-17-3 in October, 41-18-1 after a straight up loss, 78-38-2 after allowing more than 350 yards. The favorite has covered the last four games in this series.

Tampa Bay is 6-1 ATS 5-1 after a straight up win, 4-1 in week five, 6-2 on grass, 22-46-1 at home, 1-4 after gaining 350 yards or more, and overall, 0-4 in Thursday games, and after allowing more than 250 passing yards. The under is 4-1 in this series recently.

Neither defense has been good at all this season, especially against the pass. This should be a high scoring game as both offenses have been impressive so far. Look, the Patriots are far from the team that won the Super Bowl last year, but Belichick and Brady will turn it around. I think New England wins a close game on the road against a young but tough opponent.

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