Free NFL Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New England Patriots
Date/Time: August 16, 2013 8:00 pm EST
NFL Gambling Odds from WagerWeb
NFL Betting Favorite: Patriots -3
The Tampa Bay Bucs and New England Patriots will meet in the second preseason game for each team on Friday night. The big story earlier this week was Tom Brady’s minor knee injury. Brady had MRI’s and seems to have escaped major injury, but it was certainly a big scare for the Patriots team. You better believe that the Patriots will be very cautious with Brady during the preseason. Let’s take a look at both teams and this matchup.
Tampa Bay was destroyed 44-16 by the defending Super Bowl champs in the first week of preseason action. It’s hard to say how much we should take out of a game like that, but the Bucs certainly didn’t put up much of fight. Greg Schiano was less than thrilled with his team after the blowout loss. Mike Glennon threw an interception and Adam Weber threw two interceptions during the loss. They are battling for the backup job behind Josh Freeman. Freeman had a terrible year in the 2012-2013 campaign, and he’ll need to be much better this season.
Tampa Bay has some extra depth in the backfield this year with Peyton Hillis, but he injured his knee in the first preseason game. It was just a minor hyperextension, but the team may hold him out of this game. The Bucs defense will have to step it up a notch this year if they are going to contend. A couple years ago the defense was solid, but last season nothing seemed to go right for this defensive unit.
Tom Brady’s minor knee injury will probably be the most-talked about story in the league this week. Patriots fans know how important he is to their team, and that’s why we’re unlikely to see Brady in this game. Ryan Mallett and Tim Tebow are the second and third stringers, so we should see a lot of them in this game. Will Tebow really be a part of the Patriots plans this year? We might found out a little bit about that in this game. LeGarrette Blount spent the last couple years in Tampa Bay, but he is a member of the Patriots backfield now. Blount rushed for 101 yards on just 11 carries in last week’s game.
The Patriots won 31-22 in their preseason opener against the Philadelphia Eagles. New England didn’t turn the ball over all game. Julian Edelman and Aaron Dobson were both targeted frequently while they were in the game. The Patriots have a lot less weapons in the passing game this year, so it will be very interesting to see where they turn to replace all of their lost production. Defensively, the Patriots have gotten a lot better in the past year or so. New England’s defense is no longer a liability.
Free NFL Pick: Tampa Bay +3
The Patriots don’t care all that much about the preseason, and they’ll probably care a little less after their scare earlier in the week. Tampa Bay should show some heart after being drubbed last weekend.