5 reasons the Patriots should be concerned about the Buccaneers

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The Patriots are coming off of a demoralizing loss to the Saints in Week 3 just to face the defending Super Bowl champions who happen to be led by the guy who led their team for roughly 20 years.

There are storylines aplenty around Foxboro this week with the return of both Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski to New England coinciding with the release of Seth Wickersham’s book about Bill Belichick.

While the Patriots have struggled in the first three weeks of the season, the Buccaneers present them with their toughest challenge thus far.

These are five reasons the Patriots should have concerns about the Bucs.

Tom Brady knows everything about the Patriots

Familiarity is something that’s often discussed when a player or coach goes to a new team and plays their former organization. However, this might be the most extreme example of this.

Brady was in New England for 20 seasons, starting nearly every game in 18 of them. He was the signal-caller, leader, and partial architect of a lot of the practices that the Patriots preach.

Whether it was literally playing on the practice field, watching film, or sitting in meetings, there’s not much that the quarterback doesn’t know about the Patriots.

New England can't cover all of Tampa's weapons

Tampa Bay is loaded on offense, and that’s no secret. Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, Rob Gronkowski, Leonard Fournette, and O.J. Howard might be the names that get all the recognition, but there’s more talent beyond that.

Scotty Miller may be headed to IR, but he made a number of plays for them last season. Third-string tight end Cameron Brate continues to be productive despite his spot on the depth chart. Tyler Johnson and Jaydon Mickens who are their fourth and fifth receivers could be legitimate playmakers for New England.

Lined up against the guys will be J.C. Jackson, Jalen Mills, Jonathan Jones, Joejuan Williams, and potentially Kyle Dugger. New England’s defense may have solid numbers against the pass, but they haven’t faced a group like this.

Mills and Williams have a chance to be targeted a lot this week.

Tampa Bay's front seven can dominate.

New England’s offensive line hasn’t looked as good as expected this season. Trent Brown has been out for all but one series in 2021, and those who have been playing, haven’t played all that well.

That’s concerning when considering the front they will face this week.

Ndamukong Suh, Vita Vea, Jason Pierre-Paul, Shaq Barrett, Devin White, and Lavonte David can put fear in the eyes of coaches and quarterbacks.

Mac Jones has been hit a lot early this year, and this will be the best group they’ve faced.

The Patriots don't have the passing game to take advantage of their injured secondary.

Through three weeks, the Patriots are averaging 226 passing yards per game (20th) and 0.7 passing touchdowns per game (27th).

Their receivers and tight ends haven’t exactly been the weapons they were expected to be. Hunter Henry has just 10 receptions for 109 yards, and Jonnu Smith has 10 receptions for 74 yards. Both have yet to score.

In fact, the Patriots have yet to throw a legitimate attempt to the end zone this season. This could be for a few different reasons. They might be keeping the quarterback from taking risks, there may not be enough time for Jones to make reads, or maybe the options just aren’t open. No matter the reason, it’s concerning.

So, despite the Bucs being one of the worst pass defenses in the league (32nd in yards and tied for the 32nd in touchdowns), the Patriots may not be able to capitalize.

There might not be a home-field advantage.

It’s not very often a fanbase is torn over a decision or transaction. Most would side with the team and continue supporting the organization. However, it appears as though a great number of Patriots fans have followed Brady to Tampa Bay and have supported him over Belichick and the Patriots throughout this process.

So, when the G.O.A.T. returns to Foxboro this Sunday, watching the fan dynamic will be one of the most interesting aspects.

Will fans treat the Buccaneers like another visitor and boo them when entering the field or get loud on defense, or will they fawn over Brady and give him preferential treatment because of what he did for the team?

Either way, this won’t feel like just another home game.

1

1