Here’s a statement that no one thought they’d ever read two seasons ago: Tom Brady will take the field at Gillette Stadium for the first time wearing an opposing team’s uniform.
In what should be an emotional night in Foxborough, Brady returns to the place he spent the first 20 seasons of his illustrious NFL career. The future Hall of Famer’s accolades with the Patriots features six Super Bowl victories, four Super Bowl MVPs, three NFL MVPs, and 14 Pro Bowl selections.
Him and longtime New England head coach Bill Belichick formed what many consider to be the greatest dynasty in NFL history.
No one knows for sure what Brady’s reaction will be once greeted by the New England crowd, but Brady says his focus his placed solely on the game.
Brady isn’t the only Patriots legend set to make his return to Foxborough. Rob Gronkowski is also set to face his former team. He and Brady won three Super Bowls together and linked up for 79 touchdowns while in New England.
When asked about facing Brady and Gronk, Belichick was greatly appreciative for their massive contributions to New England, but he too was focused on getting ready for the game.
Keys to the Game
Rookie QB Mac Jones has had an efficient start the season for the Patriots and has largely held his own. However, he needs to be more dynamic with the play call and find his receivers more often downfield if New England stands a chance on Sunday.
Jones has yet to form a strong rapport with WR Nelson Agholor but did take strides with Kendrick Bourne last week against the New Orleans Saints. The two connected for 96 yards and a touchdown. However, Jones may struggle to connect with his receivers against a stingy Tampa Bay defense.
Brady continues to play exceptional football for the Buccaneers at age 44. Entering Week 4, he leads the league with 1o passing touchdowns. He also ranks second with 1,087 passing yards. He continues to develop strong connections with Pro Bowl wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Additionally, Gronkowski has four touchdowns, tying for second in the NFL.
Coming in as seven point favorites, the Buccaneers can very well run away with this game. This is especially true if Tom Brady continues to play the way he has this season. It will be a difficult matchup for the Patriots, but having home field advantage never hurts. If their defense can step up and make big stops against Brady’s offense and Mac Jones can elevate his game to a higher level, this game can remain competitive.
Make sure to have tissues accessible on Sunday night. Emotions will be running high in Foxborough.