New England Patriots vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Game Five Preview and Prediction
By Hal Bent
Come on. Everyone has seen this defense so far in 2017. There is no magic switch that will get flipped and make the defense play better. There are simply too many improvements to make and puzzling decisions made by the defensive coaches as far as personnel groupings and coverage schemes..
On offense, the Patriots have had trouble keeping quarterback Tom Brady from being hit, pressured and sacked so far in 2017. This week they face the explosive interior pass rusher Gerald McCoy. In the last four years McCoy has put up 9.5, 8.5, 8.5, and 7 sacks and will put pressure on Joe Thuney, Shaq Mason, and center David Andrews.
On defense, Jameis Winston has become one of the most dynamic young passers in the game and his strength, smarts, and mobility make him a tough match-up for the struggling New England defense. Winston throws to two excellent wide receivers in veteran speedster DeSean Jackson and the athletic, speedy and tall Mike Evans.
Evans is just 24 years-old and at six-foot-five and 231 pounds and has over 1,000 yards receiving in each of the past three seasons and twice had a dozen touchdowns. The Buccaneers imported former Eagles and Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson to stretch the field vertically. He is a big play receiver who is overdue for a big game.