New England doesn’t have much time to work on patching up that leaky defense.
And next up are Jameis Winston, Mike Evans and perhaps the returning-from-suspension Doug Martin for the Buccaneers.
Only Indianapolis has yielded more than the 128 points the Patriots have given up. Mobile quarterbacks (Alex Smith, Cam Newton, Deshaun Watson) have given them fits.
The Patriots have scored 129, so the offense is in good form. Is there finger pointing among the New England players heading into Thursday night’s game?
“Well I’ve been on teams where we didn’t score many points and we just relied on the defense to do everything,” Tom Brady says. “That’s just the way football is. There’s going to be games this year where we don’t do well on offense and we’re going to need our defense to play well. It’s four games in. We’ve got … a long way to go.
“This team has never been about ‘Hey, what are you guys doing wrong?’ We just focus on what we need to do. It’s score more points than the other team. It doesn’t matter if it’s three points or 30 points or 50 points. Whatever they score, we need to score more and if they score three then we need to score four. That’s how you win. That’s all we care about. That’s all we’ve ever really cared about.”
The Patriots, No. 8 in the AP Pro32 — seems weird to see them so low — are 3-point favorites over No. 17 Tampa Bay. These teams hardly ever play, with the Patriots leading the series 6-2 and not having lost to the Bucs since 2000, before Brady was a starter. They haven’t visited Tampa Bay since 1997.
A loss drops New England to 2-3. Can’t see that.
KNOCKOUT LEAGUE TIP
Seattle’s big second half kept us in the mix, and we’ll turn to PITTSBURGH this week to keep it going.
No. 22 Arizona (plus 6) at No. 7 Philadelphia
Something about Eagles excites us. Can’t say same for Cardinals.
BEST BET: EAGLES, 28-20
No. 19 Tennessee (minus 2 1-2) at No. 26 Miami
Dolphins finally get to play at home, curing some ills.
UPSET SPECIAL: DOLPHINS, 20-16
No. 1 Kansas City (minus 1) at No. 12 Houston
Chiefs won’t go unbeaten, but will win this one.
No. 2 Green Bay (plus 2) at No. 13 Dallas
Great early season matchup in great all-time series.
No. 9 Carolina (plus 3) at No. 6 Detroit
Lions only win close games that go down to wire.
No. 11 Buffalo (plus 3) at No. 25 Cincinnati
We probably should believe more in Buffalo than we do.
No. 14 Seattle (plus 1) at No. 10 Los Angeles Rams
We probably should believe more in Rams than we do.
No. 23 Jacksonville (plus 8 1-2) at No. 3 Pittsburgh
Schizophrenic Jags too unpredictable to pick.
No. 31 San Francisco (plus 1 1-2) at No. 30 Indianapolis
Frank Gore gets back at his former team? Don’t think so.
No. 21 Baltimore (plus 5) at No. 16 Oakland
Even without Derek Carr, going with Raiders to wake up.
No. 24 New York Jets (pick-em) at No. 32 Cleveland
Jets 2-0 at home, 0-2 on road. Make it 0-3.
No. 29 Los Angeles Chargers (plus 3) at No. 28 New York Giants
Did someone say nil-nil draw?
No. 18 Minnesota (OFF) at No. 27 Chicago
Would’ve been our BEST BET had there been a line.
Last week: Against spread (9-6). Straight up (9-7)
Season Totals: Against spread (27-33-1). Straight up: (38-25)
Best Bet: 2-2 against spread, 2-2 straight up.
Upset special: 4-0 against spread, 4-0 straight up