The calendar says Thursday but it's game day for the Patriots, who are in Tampa and set to take on the upstart Buccaneers on Thursday Night Football.
The Boston Globe says the task for the struggling defense won’t be any easier as the Patriots take on dynamic young quarterback Jameis Winston. They also provide some keys to victory. Winston says taking on Tom Brady is a chance to witness greatness says MassLive.com.
The defense needs to avoid the knockout blows it has taken thus far this season writes ESPN.com. NBCSports.com has Alan Branch unhappy with his limited role thus far this year. Various reports indicated Branch did not make the trip to Tampa with the team.
As if the Patriots didn't have enough to worry about, Rob Gronkowski found himself added to the injury report with the thigh injury. Gronk did make the trip to Tampa, however, and is expected to play tonight according to reports.
Offensively, the Patriots are starting to see signs of improvement with the running game according to the Boston Herald. *They add five things to watch in the Bucs game. Forget your assumptions, says the *Herald, the Patriots must prove they can win now. MassLive.com offers a preview as well. The Boston Sports Journal has five questions from the Tampa perspective.
The Eagle Tribune has Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy gushing about the inspiration he’s received from Tom Brady.
MassLive.com looks at some trade options for the Patriots.
In Tampa, the Tampa Bay Times believes Winston and DeSean Jackson need to get on the same page quickly in order for the Bucs to succeed. They also wonder if the Bucs are ready for prime time.
Finally, ESPN.com offers some quarter-season awards.