ESPN Boston's picks: Patriots vs. Bucs
September, 20, 2013
Here's how ESPNBoston.com's experts see Sunday's Patriots-Bucs game (1 p.m. ET, Fox) playing out. What's your prediction? Leave your pick in the comments section.
|PATRIOTS 27, BUCCANEERS 20
I don't think the Patriots' problems on offense will go away in one week. Expect to still see some struggles from Brady and his receivers. The unit that will continue to carry this team will be the defense. The Patriots have to continue to force turnovers, and they will. Devin McCourty's pick-six will be the difference.
|PATRIOTS 24, BUCCANEERS 17
On special teams, Bill Belichick pointed out this week that the Buccaneers have had some success blocking punts in the past. With a rookie punter in Ryan Allen, that's something else to keep an eye on Sunday. Last year in Week 2, we saw the Cardinals come into Gillette Stadium and upset the Patriots; coincidentally, there was a blocked punt that day. It wouldn't surprise me if the Buccaneers pull a Cardinals-type upset if they can avoid the sloppy play that has hurt them. But until they prove they can do it, I will stick with the Patriots.
|PATRIOTS 20, BUCCANEERS 18
The Patriots passing attack will aim to pick things up after a difficult Week 2, but the Buccaneers secondary is about as stiff of a test as they'll face this season. Nonetheless, the Patriots defense will force Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman into enough mistakes to secure the team's second home victory in as many tries this season.
|PATRIOTS 17, BUCCANEERS 10
Tom Brady is named captain of Tampa Bay following the game.
|PATRIOTS 25, BUCCANEERS 19
|PATRIOTS OVER BUCS
Twelve of the 13 ESPN experts pick the Patriots to beat the Bucs. Only Ron Jaworski picked Tampa Bay.
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