Sep 8, 2013; East Rutherford, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Darrelle Revis before the game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Chris Faytok/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports
The Patriots are set to take on the Tampa Bay Bucs today at 1:00 ET in Foxboro, and there are several intriguing matchups that you should keep an eye on throughout the contest.
1. Darrelle Revis Vs. Patriots Receivers
We don’t know who Revis will be matched up with come game time, but we do know that whoever gets the honor of having to go up against him, will struggle in producing for the Pats. I am thinking that the rookie Kenbrell Thompkins may have to deal with Revis, as I doubt Revis will move in to the slot to handle Edelman, and Aaron Dobson’s size could present Revis with problems. But Thompkins is the type of guy that Revis usually feasts on, so if Thompkins could somehow make some plays against him, that would be a bonus to the Patriots attack. Him beating Revis occasionally would produce different things that would normally not have been there for Brady and company. But if Revis does his usual thing (pre-surgery, we don’t know if his knee is 100% yet) and shuts down one side of the field, then the Patriots passing attack could be in for another long day.
Sep 12, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones (95) celebrates after a sack of New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) during the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
2. Chandler Jones Vs. Donald Penn
On Friday, I mentioned that one defensive key for the Patriots, was going to be to get some pressure on quarterback Josh Freeman, and defensive end Chandler Jones is key to a successful pass rush for the Patriots. He will be going up against Donald Penn for the majority of the game, and if Jones can beat him cleanly one on one, then the Pats will drop more people into coverage, and further confusing Freeman. However if Penn stones Jones in this matchup, then the Patriots will have to bring the blitz, which will negate some of the needed coverage to handle Tampa’s talented pass catchers.
Sep 15, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson (83) works out prior to the game against the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
3. Aqib Talib Vs. Vincent Jackson
Boy is this matchup going to be fun to watch. On one side you have Talib, who is a big, aggressive corner who loves to make momentum building plays for his squad. On the other side there is Jackson, and I think that he is one of the most underrated receivers in the NFL. The combination of size and speed that he brings to the table is nearly unrivaled in the league, and the Bucs make it a priority to get him the ball. I am sure that Belichick will give Talib some help on Jackson, but there will be times when these two will be isolated, and I guarantee exciting moments will ensue.