There is no question that one game stands apart from the rest around the NFL in Week 4: Tampa Bay at New England as Tom Brady returns to Foxboro for the first time. Here’s a breakdown of that matchup and one other good one Sunday odds NFL.
NFL Game Preview Week 4
Tampa Bay at New England (+6)
The Sunday night game, with both coming off a loss. The Buccaneers are 2-1 after seeing their 10-game win streak snapped by the Los Angeles Rams, 34-24, and the New England Patriots are 1-2 following a 28-13 home loss to the New Orleans Saints.
Tampa Bay QB Tom Brady passed for 432 yards and one touchdown and added a rushing touchdown on Sunday in the loss. Brady has 80,291 career passing yards and joined Drew Brees (80,358) as the only players with at least 80,000 career passing yards in NFL history. Brady will obviously pass Brees in this game. And he’ll do it against Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots — the team he won six of his seven Super Bowl titles with.
This matchup has sparked questions about why Brady isn’t still playing for the Patriots after spending the first 20 years of his career with them, which Belichick fielded in his weekly interview on Monday.
“I think we’ve been through all the dynamics of that. There were a lot of things there,” Belichick said. “He looked at his options and made his decision. We weren’t as good an option as Tampa. You’d have to ask him about that, but it wasn’t a question about not wanting him, that’s for sure.”
Tampa Bay was without receiver Antonio Brown in Week 3 as he was in COVID protocols but he should be good to go here.
The Patriots were dominated in a 28-13 home loss to the Saints on Sunday. Rookie QB Mac Jones has thrown for 737 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions, with all of his picks coming vs. New Orleans. The Patriots will be moving forward with Jones, hoping to find another long-term starter like they did with Brady in 2000.
New England lost valuable third down back James White to injury in the Saints loss as he was carted off the field. Entering Sunday’s game, White led the Patriots with 12 receptions for 94 yards, while adding nine rushes for 32 yards. The 6-yard rush he was injured on was his only carry of the game. The eight-year veteran, who has spent his entire career with the Patriots, entered this season having the most receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns by a running back in the NFL since 2015. Since taking over the third-down role in his second season, White has missed just five games due to injury as he’s been a model of stability.
Baltimore at Denver (-1.5)
Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson recorded one touchdown pass and kicker Justin Tucker converted a game-winning 66-yard field goal as time expired, the longest made field goal in NFL history, in the Ravens’ 19-17 win at Detroit on Sunday.
In 40 career starts, Jackson has 90 touchdowns (70 passing, 20 rushing) and joined Patrick Mahomes (107 touchdowns) and Hall of Famers Dan Marino (95) and Kurt Warner (91) as the only quarterbacks with at least 90 combined passing and rushing touchdowns in their first 40 career starts.
Tucker, who also converted a 50-yard field goal in the third quarter, has seven career games with multiple 50-yard field goals, tied with Brandon McManus (seven games) and Matt Prater (seven) for the most such games in NFL history. Tucker is more than the record holder for the longest kick and the most accurate kicker in NFL history. He’s also the most clutch. Tucker improved to 16-for-16 in his NFL career on field goals in the final minute of regulation.
Of Tucker’s 13 missed field goals since 2016 (a span of 83 games), nine have been on tries over 45 yards. Tucker is an astounding 98.1% on tries inside 40 yards for his career (162-of-165).
Denver is 3-0 but has played the easiest schedule in the NFL, beating the winless Giants, Jaguars and Jets. Sunday’s 26-0 victory over the Jets was the Broncos‘ first shutout since 2019 and means the team has outscored its first three opponents 76-26. Denver hasn’t surrendered a point in the third quarter this season. With three victories of double-digit margins the Broncos have as many wins by 10 or more points in three weeks as they did in the previous 31 games.
“It’s just the schedule … that’s a fact,” said Broncos coach Vic Fangio. “That’s the way it is in the NFL … you have to take care of business.”
Broncos safety Justin Simmons did not play the last four defensive snaps in Sunday’s win over the Jets. That ended a streak of 3,378 consecutive snaps that began at the start of the 2018 season. Simmons is healthy, though.
However, Broncos receiver KH Hamler has been lost for the season to a torn ACL. Through three games, Hamler had caught five passes for 74 yards (14.8 average). Hamler is the latest receiver the Broncos have lost to an injury, as Jerry Jeudy has not played since Week 1 due to a sprained ankle.
- Bucs and Ravens