The Patriots need to get back to the basics that have been a staple of this team: stop allowing so many extended drives and first downs. However, the defense–particularly the passing defense–has been putrid.
This Thursday night the Buccaneers will highlight young tight ends Cameron Brate and rookie O.J. Howard in addition to wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans. In 2017 Brate has ten receptions for 137 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Rookie O.J. Howard has just four receptions for 92 yards in three games but last week he got on the score sheet with a 58-yard touchdown.
The Patriots need to find a way for the beleaguered secondary to counteract two excellent wide receivers and two young and dynamic tight ends. Strong safety Patrick Chung is primarily responsible for tight end coverage in man-coverage. While other defensive players such as linebackers Kyle Van Noy and Dont’a Hightower and safeties Jordan Richards and Devin McCourty will have a role in covering the duo, the two-tight end offense of Tampa Bay could be a headache for New England.