Tom Brady Patriots
The New England Patriots are favored over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for Week 5 "Thursday Night Football," according to the latest betting odds. Pictured: Tom Brady looks to pass against the Carolina Panthers at Gillette Stadium on Oct. 1, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Getty Images

“Thursday Night Football” oftentimes features a one-sided, lowing-scoring game, but there’s a good chance that won’t be the case in Week 5 of the 2017 NFL season. The New England Patriots visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in one of the best matchups on the upcoming schedule.

The latest betting odds have New England favored by 5.5 points on the road, via OddsShark, and the over/under is 54.5. Here’s a closer look at the Week 5 game, as well as a prediction against the spread:

Why the Patriots could cover the spread

New England is going to give up their share of points in Tampa Bay. After surrendering a franchise-high 128 points in the first four games of the season and losing 33-30 to the Panthers at Gillette Stadium, the team’s defense isn’t going to get fixed in just three days.

The Patriots can still win this game going away if their defense continues to struggle. New England’s offense is just that good.

Averaging 423.8 yards per game, New England is the only team in the league that puts up more than 400 yards of offense per game. Even after playing poorly in Week 1, Tom Brady still leads the NFL with 1,399 passing yards, having thrown for 10 touchdowns and no interceptions. He leads a unit that’s been a model of consistency, scoring at least 27 points in each contest. Including last year’s playoffs, the Patriots have scored 27 points or more in nine straight games. They’ve put up at least 30 points in eight of those games.

Brady will face the same Tampa Bay defense that made Case Keenum look like the second coming of Fran Tarkenton in Week 3. The career backup completed 75.8 percent of his passes for 369 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions against the Bucs. In both of his other starts, Keenum has been held to fewer than 220 yards and a 55 percent completion rate while throwing for no scores.

How well might the greatest quarterback of all time perform against that defense?

Why the Buccaneers could cover the spread

Alex Smith, Drew Brees, Deshaun Watson and Cam Newton have all put up big numbers against New England this season. It’s Jameis Winston’s turn Thursday night as the quarterback takes on the NFL’s worst defense.

No one has a worse pass defense than the Patriots. Opposing quarterbacks have a 116.5 passer rating against New England, totaling 1,296 yards in the air. Alex Smith threw for a combined 406 yards in the two games following his 368-yard, four-touchdown performance in New England. Cam Newton threw for 316 yards with a 130.8 rating against the Patriots after he didn’t surpass the 228-yard mark and an 87.3 rating in any of his previous three games.

Winston has thrown for at least 328 yards in two straight games. He posted a 113.0 passer rating in Sunday's win against the Giants’ formidable pass defense. His numbers Thursday night could be his best of the season.

That’s not to say New England has been any better in defending the run. The Patriots rank near the bottom of the league in that department, as well, giving up 5.1 yards per carry. Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt was introduced to America in the season opener by rushing for 148 yards at Gillette Stadium. The way Tampa Bay took advantage of a poor New York run defense Sunday, they should do the same Thursday night.

Two teams have already upset the Patriots at home, and New England needed an impressive game-winning drive in the final two minutes to avoid another loss. Why can’t the Buccaneers pull out the win in Tampa Bay?


Thursday’s betting line is similar to the one in Week 2 when New England was a 6.5-point road favorite in New Orleans. That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, given that the Buccaneers are a better team than the Saints and it’s now clear how bad the Patriots’ defense is.

If history means anything, Bill Belichick will eventually right the ship. There’s a reason why the Patriots are always in contention for the Super Bowl, and the team has too much talent not to turn things around.

Doing so in half a week, however, doesn’t seem possible. If New England wins, it’s probably going to be in a close, high-scoring game like their 36-33 victory over Houston in Week 2.

New England over Tampa Bay 37-36