Winston, Bucs poised for prime-time test against Patriots

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans is hit by New York Giants strong safety Landon Collins after a reception during the second quarter Sunday in Tampa Fla

If you just look at the scoreboard, Thursday night's 19-14 win over the Buccaneers was a rebound performance for the struggling Patriots defense.

But the team is, as they say in the industry, lining up for an attempt. Remember: Oddsmakers are trying to get 50-50 action, and realize the public will be quick to bet the beloved Patriots in the lone National Football League game of the night.

But as history continues to show - and exemplified by Bucs kicker Nick Folk's three missed field goal attempts - you still can't make as many mistakes against New England as Tampa Bay did and have a realistic chance of winning.

The Super Bowl champions rebounded from a 33-30 loss to Carolina, despite Brady turning the ball over twice - on his first interception in eight regular-season games and a fumble on one of Tampa Bay's three sacks. The tight end was listed as limited on Wednesday and questionable for the game. I think everyone was expecting a higher scoring game. The Patriots can not afford to extend opposing offenses' drives and give teams extra chances or have their own first down conversions called back due to penalties.

Brady was sacked thrice by a Bucs defense that had generated just one sack through its first three games. Against Tampa Bay New England committed too many penalties, including four that gave the Bucs first downs.

While both teams are playing on a short week of practice, the Bucs are at home while the Patriots had to spend Wednesday traveling. And even they had to boot a last-second field goal against Washington to keep their unblemished record. "Obviously, they're very, very important but there's a lot of things that go into how it all comes together and I thought those two players defensively did a real good job for us this week". For the first time all season, they held an opponent to less than 20 points, carrying a bigger share of the load on a night when Tampa's pass rush was getting to Tom Brady easily.

"They may not have the elite pass rusher they have had in similar seasons, but they still have a heck of a defense and they are well-coached". Quarterback Tom Brady has started strong, throwing for 1,399 yards entering the game and with 10 touchdowns through the air. "There is no better way to welcome our passengers to Rhode Island than to have them see this attractive red, white and blue 767 sitting on the airfield as they taxi to their gate". The Buccaneers are 2-1 on the season and have a great young quarterback in Jameis Winston and one of the best wide receivers in all of football, Mike Evans.

The Patriots' star tight end was a late addition to the team's injury report Wednesday and had been listed as questionable for the game. He missed a field goal and an extra point in Tampa Bay's narrow win over the Giants in Week 3, almost sinking the Buccaneers' ship; Folk's game-winner salvaged the wreckage.

After New England added a pair of Gostkowski field goals to build a 16-7 lead, the Bucs were unable to convert a second Brady turnover into points. We should have won the game. We made some plays.

"We didn't play ideal", safety Devin McCourty said after Thursday night's victory.