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Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New England Patriots Week 3 Betting Predictions & Preview

Buccaneers vs Patriots NFL Handicapping

The New England Patriots did not look impressive in their first three games of the season. Now they’ll get a desperate Tampa Bay Buccaneers squad that enters with their backs against the fall, staring an 0-3 start to the season right in the face.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-2) at New England Patriots (2-0)
Date: Sunday, September 22, 2013
Time: 1:00 PM ET
Venue: Gillette Stadium
City: Foxborough, Massachusetts
O/U Odds: 44
Spread: New England -9
Money Line: New England -345, Tampa Bay +290

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The Patriots have been the model franchise over the last decade, but they made some questionable personnel moves in the offseason and are now looking very thin at wide receiver, which could make it tough to build up a margin in this game. Having said that, they are 2-0 on the year with a pair of wins in highly competitive games under their belt.

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Tom Brady and his rookie receiver had a tough go of it in the rain at Foxborough last time out. Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson had a bad case of the drops, even before the rain started coming down. Julian Edelman was Brady’s only reliable target on the night, hauling in 13 of Brady’s 19 completions. In the end, Brady completed only 19 of 39 passes for just 185 yards and a score. Reliable targets like Danny Amendola, Rob Gronkowski, and Shane Vereen won’t be back for this game, meaning Brady and his rookie receivers will need to get on the same page in a hurry, although they do have some extra time to prepare after the Thursday game.

The Patriot secondary limited Jets quarterback Geno Smith to just 15 completions on 35 pass attempts, but he did pick up some big chunks of yardage through the air at times. The defense got their stops when they needed to, even if the rain does get a big assist – the unit intercepted Smith three times in the fourth quarter. [soliloquy id=”82219″]

The Tampa Bay offense had some trouble with what was supposed to be a bad New Orleans defense. Jos Freeman completed only nine of 22 passes for 125 yards. Doug Martin was the lone bright spot, rushing for 144 yards on 29 carries. Penalties were a problem for the team again, as Vincent Jackson had a long score called back.

The defense made some big plays against the Saints, sacking Drew Brees four times, and coming up with an interception that was returned for a touchdown. When the game was on the line though, they allowed Brees and the Saints to march down the field for the winning score.

It’s tough to imagine building up a margin like this in this matchup. Tampa Bay runs the ball well and has the kind of big, athletic receivers that can give the New England secondary trouble. New England should win, but not by more than one score.

The Buccaneers are 7-2 ATS in their last nine road games.

The play: Tampa Bay +9

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