Week 3 NFL Football Matchup: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New England Patriots

Gronokowski's status is questionable this week.
Gronokowski’s status is questionable this week.

Bucs – Patriots
Time: 1 PM EST, Sept 22, 2013
Spread: NE -7
M/L: NE -340; TAM +270
O/U: 43.5

Odds courtesy of Bovada

For a team that was billed to be a repeat of horrible, the Tampa Bay Bucs have stayed in their first two games this season and NFL oddsmakers at Bovada find them to be just 7-point underdogs against perennial powerhouse New England.

“We’re close…we’ve got to get over the hump,” said Bucs coach Greg Schiano.

The Bucs fell by a single point in week 1 to New York (Jets) and dropped by a douce to New Orleans, and the rush has been very effective for the Bucs so far—if not because the team has been very reliant on it. Doug Martin has been the exclusive ball carrier, and he has rushed for 209 yards on 53 attempts (3.9 yards per carry). Martin’s longest trek has been 28-yards, so the Bucs hope the back can open up a big run to advance the ball since Josh Freeman has been struggling to hit receivers.

Freeman is just 24-of-53 this year (45.3 percent) and he’s been picked as many times as he’s thrown for a TD (two). His 63.0 QB rating is among the lowest in the NFL, but the Bucs are a team whose strength is predicated on a very good defense, and it will reach its toughest test thus far with Tom Brady and his corp of capable targets. Brady is starting to show more signs of decline, but the Patriots have made up for it with a tough ground game. Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley have rushed for a combined 187 yards. Vereen is boasting a 7.2 yard per carry rate, so the Pats may be wise to consider shoveling it off to him a bit more.

Brady’s 52.7 percent completion ratio ranks well below his career rate (63.6 percent), but it is a bit early to project that vast of a decline. For the meantime, the Pats will look to secure their third victory of the season in a game whose total looks precariously high given the strength of both defenses.


4-0-1 ATS vs teams with winning records; UNDER 6-0 in last 6 following SU loss; UNDER 6-0 in last 6 overall.


OVER 11-1 in last 12 vs team with losing road records; OVER 5-1 in last 6 in wk 3; OVER 8-2 in last 10 after allowing less than 15 pts previous wk.

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