- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1) opened as 5.5-point favorites over the New England Patriots (1-2) on Sunday Night Football in Week 4 (Oct. 3rd, 8:20 pm ET)
- The game will mark Tom Brady’s return to Foxborough to face his former team for the first time since leaving for Tampa Bay
- Read below for analysis on which way the line will move ahead of kickoff
It’s finally here. Tom Brady’s return to Foxborough. The seven-time Super Bowl champ will lead his Tampa Bay Buccaneers into New England in Week 4, to face a Patriots team he spent 19 seasons with.
The matchup is the marquee game on the slate, and has been given the coveted Sunday Night Football time slot (Oct. 3rd, 8:20 pm ET).
Tampa Bay is fresh off a 34-24 loss in Los Angeles against the Rams in Week 3, while the Patriots were beaten soundly by the New Orleans Saints.
Buccaneers vs Patriots Opening Odds
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||-255||-5.5 (-115)||O 49.5 (-110)|
|New England Patriots||+210||+5.5 (-105)||U 49.5 (-110)|
Odds as of Sept. 26th at FanDuel.
The Buccaneers opened up as 5.5-point favorites in a game that features a total of 49.5. Tampa Bay’s loss snapped a 10-game winning streak dating back to last season, and marked the first time in nine games they failed to reach 30 points.
Bucs Beaten Up By Rams
Tampa Bay didn’t have an answer for the explosive LA offense all afternoon on Sunday. The Rams marched up and down the field seemingly at will, racking up 407 yards, including 331 through the air from Matthew Stafford.
Brady did his best to keep pace, throwing for 411 yards and a touchdown, while sneaking in another, becoming only the second QB to reach 80,000 career passing yards along the way.
Tom Brady has officially hit 80,000 passing yards! 👏 pic.twitter.com/yRMti2pkYo
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) September 26, 2021
The Bucs managed only 35 rushing yards all game, and were a dreadful 6-for-13 on third down. They’ve now surrendered at least 25 points in all three contests, and a league-high 1,015 passing yards.
On the injury front, Rob Gronkowski went down in the second half with a rib injury, but did manage to return a series later. Cornerback Jamal Dean wasn’t as fortunate, as he was lost to a knee injury in the opening quarter.
Patriots Pounded By Saints
New England meanwhile, fell 28-13 to the Saints but that score is actually quite flattering. Mac Jones was a hot mess under center, turning the ball over three times and absorbing two sacks.
Jones, who entered the game completing 74% of his passes, was 30-of-51 for 270 yards and a score, but threw three interceptions, including one that was returned for a touchdown.
Mac Jones was 1-of-8 for 17 Pass yards and an Int on throws 15+ yards downfield in the first half today.
He was 9-of-11 for 88 Pass yards on shorter throws.
Of the 7 deep incompletions, 4 were due to overthrows. pic.twitter.com/WjnzyoYjiI
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 26, 2021
The Pats’ defense kept them in the game, holding New Orleans to just 252 total yards, and the Saints missed multiple field goal attempts early to keep the contest within striking distance.
Jones and the Patriots struggled to sustain drives, converting only 7-of-19 third down attempts, and couldn’t run the ball to save their lives. New England, normally one of the stronger rushing teams in the league, averaged just 2.9 yards per carry on 17 attempts.
Their backfield suffered a big loss early in the second quarter when James White was carted off the field after suffering a hip injury.
Every player in the team comes over to see James White, the captain who garners such respect. pic.twitter.com/RbHpA38iDn
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) September 26, 2021
White entered the week as New England’s leading receiver and second leading rusher, and his likely absence for next week and beyond is a huge blow to the Pats offense.
Bucs Will Gladly Back Brady
Simply put, the Patriots offense has looked atrocious. They’re averaging only 18 points per game, and that number would actually be even lower if Zach Wilson hadn’t routinely gifted them glorious field position with turnovers in Week 3.
Brady will not only want to win this game, but he’ll be out for blood. It’s no secret that he felt disrespected by how his New England tenure ended, and bettors will talk themselves into that narrative as extra motivation to back the GOAT on the road.
Tom Brady vs. Bill Belichick next week.
Both coming off embarrassing losses. Both with a ton to play for.
SB reigning Bucs don’t want to go 2-2.
Patriots CAN’T afford to go 1-3.
Let the story lines begin!! 🍿🍿🍿
— Emmanuel Acho (@EmmanuelAcho) September 26, 2021
Add to the fact that Brady is 35 and 12 ATS after a loss in his career, and the closing line for this game will likely reach -7.