TALE OF THE TAPE

Tale Of The Tape: Tampa Bay Buccaneers At New England Patriots

Tampa Bay Bucs
New England Patriots
tampacredit.jpg
patriotscredit1.jpg
Quarterback
It may be hard for Greg Schiano to build a case that his team can win the quarterback duel in this meeting. Josh Freeman has all the physical tools that a quarterback needs to be successful, but he makes far too many mistakes and he doesn’t seem to learn from them. Freeman was just 9-of-22 in the Week Two loss against an ordinary New Orleans pass defense.
Winner Tom Brady has plenty of problems to deal with, but even though the Patriots are quite deficient in the receivers department, he usually finds a way to win. Brady is an expert at figuring out how to take advantage of a defense and he combines that with excellent accuracy and a hunger to win every time he is on the field. He had a poor statistical game vs. the Jets in Week Two — 19-of-39 for 185 yards – but he was happy because his team came out on top.
Offense
The Bucs should be a much better offensive team than they are, and it’s got to be frustrating to Schiano. Running back Doug Martin may be the third-best running back in football behind Adrian Peterson and Arian Foster. Vincent Jackson is a game-changing wide receiver who can dominate a game when he catches a key pass early in the game.
Winner The Patriots desperately need to get tight end Rob Gronkowski back in the lineup because he can catch nearly everything and runs well after the catch. He may not be back for this game. That means that Julian Edelman will have to do the job with his quickness and reliable hands. Running back Stevan Ridley is determined to show head coach Bill Belichick that he does not have a fumbling problem.
Defense
The Bucs hurt themselves badly when linebacker Lavonte David made a mindless error and took a penalty in Week One that allowed the Jets to steal a last-second victory. Still, David is one of the Bucs’ best defenders because of his range and ability to overpower runners and blockers. Safety Mark Barron is coming off a 13-tackle effort against New Orleans and he is solid in coverage.
Winner The Patriots are a much better defensive team than they were in the first half of the 2012 season. They improved once they picked up cornerback Aqib Talib, who is going to have a chance to show his former team that he is one of the best in the league when he matches up with Jackson. Nose tackle Vince Wilfork anchors the middle of the line and will try to keep Martin from getting his ground game going.
Special Teams
The Bucs are probably not going to win a lot of games this year because of their special teams. Rian Lindell is an ordinary placekicker who is not a threat on long-distance attempts. Michael Koenen averaged 40.5 yards on six punts vs. New Orleans and the Bucs don’t have any legitimate threats in the return game.
Winner Stephen Gostkowski gives the Pats a big advantage in the kicking game. He seems to be at his best when the game is on the line. Punter Ryan Allen played a key role in the win over the Jets as he averaged 46.7 yards on 11 punts. Edelman is a shifty and elusive punt returner.

The Winner Is

patriotscredit1.jpg
Winner New England Patriots
4 out of 4

The Pats don’t have anywhere near the firepower that they have had in recent years, but they won’t pay for it against the Bucs because Freeman simply makes too many errors and the Pats will force him into a significant number of errors. New England cruises at home.
-Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. Frank Kaminsky #44 of the Wisconsin Badgers (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) Head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    NCAA Championship Tale: #1 Wisconsin Badgers Vs. #1 Duke Blue Devils

    Two No. 1 seeds battle for the national title. Here is a look at the matchup between the Wisconsin Badgers and Duke Blue Devils.

  2. Andrew Harrison #5 of the Kentucky Wildcats (Photo Credit: Andy Lyons, Getty Images) Sam Dekker #15 of the Wisconsin Badgers (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel, Getty Images)
    Final Four Tale: #1 Wisconsin Vs. #1 Kentucky

    The Final Four features very few surprises this season, with three number one seeds making it into the final weekend of the 2015 NCAA College Basketball Tournament.

  3. Jahlil Okafor #15 and Justise Winslow #12 of the Duke Blue Devils (Photo Credit: Bob Leverone, Getty Images) Branden Dawson #22 of the Michigan State Spartans (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel, Getty Images)
    Final Four Tale: #1 Duke Vs. #7 Michigan State

    In 1999, Tom Izzo took the Michigan State Spartans to the Final Four for the first time on his watch, and they met Mike Krzyzewski and the Duke Blue Devils.

See All Tales of the Tape

Listen Live