(WWLP) – The Patriots look to bounce back from a last-second loss against the Carolina Panthers after a short week, as they take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Thursday night.
LIVE SCORE: PATRIOTS 19, BUCCANEERS 14, Final
The Patriots offense has been on fire this season, scoring no less than 27 points in each of their first four games. Quarterback Tom Brady has started strong, throwing for 1,399 yards entering the game and with 10 touchdowns through the air. But for as hot as the offense has been, the defense has struggled mightily – they have given up 30 or more points in three out of those four games, and rank last in the league in total defense with a dismal 456.8 yards allowed per game.
They look to reverse their fortunes and climb above .500 against the Buccaneers, who are 2-1 (their Week 1 game against Miami was postponed due to hurricane activity). The Bucs are lackluster on the ground, and middle of the pack in points scored/against, but have a dangerous aerial attack led by quarterback Jameis Winston. They rank 3rd in the league in passing yards, a tough challenge for New England’s struggling secondary.
Making things more difficult for the Pats will be the absence of star tight end Rob Gronkowski, who was declared inactive before the game. Linebacker Elandon Roberts is listed as questionable, while running back Rex Burkhead and cornerback Eric Rowe are both listed as out.
Spread: Patriots -3.5