Bucs vs Patriots Preview & Free Pick [October 3rd 2021]

Tampa Bay (2-1) at New England (1-2)
When: Sunday, October 3rd, 2021
Where: Gillette Stadium,
Foxboro, MA
Time: 8:20 ET | TV: NBC
Opening Odds: Tampa Bay -5.5/50.5

The most anticipated regular season NFL game in years takes place this Sunday night in Foxboro, Mas. when Tom Brady makes his return to Gillette Stadium. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New England Patriots game should be the highest-rated and most-wagered game of the season and money is already pouring in on the Bucs. Tampa Bay is now a 7-point favorite after being -6.5 for most of the week. According to sportsbooks, nobody is putting their hard-earned money on Bill Belichick’s Patriots. Brady won six Super Bowls in his 20 years with the organization before winning his seventh last year in his first season with the Buccaneers. To add even more intrigue, Brady is going to pass Drew Brees – who will be on the NBC telecast pre-game and at halftime – as the NFL’s all-time leading passer with 68 more passing yards.

Brady threw for 432 yards and a touchdown while also running for a score in Tampa Bay’s 34-24 loss at the Los Angels Rams last week. Former Patriot great Rob Gronkowski sustained injured ribs that prevented him from playing the entire game. Initial X-rays were negative, and he was able to finish the game. The Patriots are also coming off a loss – 28-13 to the New Orleans Saints to fall to 1-2 on the season and 8-11 since Brady left the team. Rookie Mac Jones is now running the team after a failed stint in 202 by Cam Newton. It’s the 10th all-time meeting between the franchises and New England leads 7-2. The Patriots have also covered the spread in the last four.

Tampa Bay’s 10-game winning streak including playoffs and Super Bowl victory ended in Los Angeles last week. Brady leads the NFL with 10 touchdown passes and was 41-of-55 against the Rams. He will get a big weapon back this week. Receiver Antonio Brown was out in the COVID protocols but should be cleared for this week. Third-down back Gio Bernard is in question and the run game has been stagnant so far after Brady led the team with 14 rushing yards last week. Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette should have some success against a Patriots defense allowing 122.7 rushing yards per game, which is just 24th in the league. Gronkowski, running back Giovani Bernard (knee) and outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder) did not participate in practice on Wednesday. Carlton Davis (abdomen/ribs) was a full participant on Wednesday, while fellow starting cornerback Jamel Dean (knee) was limited.

The Patriots new quarterback is already going through some growing pains, like most rookies do. In Sunday’s home loss to New Orleans, Jones was picked off three times and he has just two TD passes so far. Starting offensive tackle Trent Brown hasn’t played since being injured on the first series of the season but could return for this one. Jakobi Meyers reeled in a season-high nine catches for 94 yards last week. The loss was extremely costly as running back James White sustained a reported season-ending hip injury. White is a versatile back who was second on the team in receptions with 12. Damien Harris has team highs in carries (45) and rushing yards (176) for the Patriots, who traded Sony Michel to the Rams last month. As for the New England defense, Belichick knows more about Brady than anybody in the NFL today, so he will be prepared with a game plan. The Patriots listed seven different players as limited participants in Wednesday’s practice, including linebackers Ja’Whaun Bentley (shoulder) and Kyle Van Noy (groin) as well as offensive tackles Isaiah Wynn (knee) and Trenton Brown (calf).

This is the most fishy line I’ve seen in a while. Tampa Bay should be favored by double-digits in this one and I’m going to take the bait. Brady should have his way against the New England defense and the Bucs defense will be too much for Jones. If you want to bet Tampa, do it now before it goes up on Sunday afternoon.

Pick: Bucs -6.5
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