Sunday Night Football this week brings a bittersweet feeling to the area. Much like Robert Parish’s Chicago Bulls ring, many in the area wish that Tom Brady just called it quits and retired as a member of the New England Patriots. Many will speculate as to why he left. Disrespected, sick of the coach, wanted to keep playing, money, all of the above, none of the above. Just like someone with an iPhone thinks that they are Ansel Adams, and someone selling GAP insurance on auto loans thinks that they are an epidemiologist, the local media failed its followers, yet again. Stories blaming the coach, the owner, the player…they’ve all surfaced this week. Much like declining a call from TEC, some conversations are better kept to themselves.
Someday, Bill, or Tom, or maybe even both, will write the book. Until then, all of the stories and speculation are simply heresay. This is the last we will speak of this matter for a few paragraphs.
This is a large game for the Patriots, and mainly because it can get them to 2-2 early in the season. Unlike the Indianapolis Colts, the Patriots understand that there are no banners hung for regular season records, or anything that goes on in the regular season (except that blasphemous 16-0 banner that was hung after the 2007 season). A large part of this game is going to hinge on the health of Trent Brown. I firmly believe that he would have been out there last week, but they wanted to give him one more week to get healthy; as this is going to be more of a pass protect line this week.
Tampa Bay comes to Foxboro off a 10 point road loss in Los Angeles. Matthew Stafford threw for 343 yards and 4 TDs in a game that wasn’t even as close as the final score indicated. Look for New England to play fast on offense. Losing an offensive weapon as versatile as James White is not going to be easy as well, but as the Patriots mantra has always been, next man (sic) up.
From a defensive standpoint, look for the Patriots front line to be a key factor in the game. As reported by the fake/real/not sure Spike King, it appears that former Arizona Wildcat star TE Robert Gronkowski is going to be
doubtful out for this game. That said, the weapons that the Bucs bring in on offense are quite impressive. Former domestic abuser and sexual harasser turned non-Patriot and now great guy Antonio Brown is likely to play this week, after missing last week due to COVID concerns. I have a call in to my doctor friend, Jim in Peabody to see if he will be okay or if he will need to be masked during the game. Mike Evans and Orenthal James Howard also bring spark to the Tampa Bay offense. Can expect numerous defensive backs shuttling in and out for the Patriots, in an effort to stay fresh.
Abbott and Costello. Peanut Butter and Jelly. Coffee and Cigarettes. Benzos and MAGA talk. None of these the same without the other. The same has been said for Brady and Belichick. Yet, the first chapter has already been written. We’ll see what the next chapter has in store.
The Buccaneers come in as a 7 point road choice. It’s all the same; only the names have changed. Except for the man coaching the Patriots. The Owl. Since the year 2000, the Patriots are 9-2 ATS in games they are grabbing 7 or more. I’ll take the points. Think this ends up a FG game at the end. Time will tell who comes out on top.
Sunday brings us the showdown that we’ve all been waiting for. So, friends, get your apple picking out of the way sooner than later. Enjoy the Saco IV show. Get all those pesky chores done a little early. While we all know Saturdays are For the Boys, we might have to extend that into Sunday this week.
S. Tzu-Pei is an Intern and Lead NFL Writer for The15.