Patriots vs. Bucs: What to Watch For

1. Defensive Backs — Fernando Bryant is still a bit dinged up and rookie Terrence Wheatley will probably start in his place Sunday night. Bryant gave the Raven receivers a ridiculous cushion, which Wheatley was able to shorten up a bit. They both gave up big passes at times, however Wheatley was beaten by some unbelievable throws. Wheatley is angling for a place on the first team, although he will get plenty of time at nickelback even if he fails to make the top eleven.

2. Hold the Mayo? — The Ravens failed to contain the first round pick from the University of Tennessee, as Jerod Mayo continually blew up plays at or around the line of scrimmage. Mayo needs to continue to read plays effectively in order to succeed. The Bucs will need to get a hat on him immediately to negate his incredible lateral speed.

3. Special Players — Larry Izzo has been a staple on Special Teams for the Patriots during this decade. Gary Guyton and Vince Redd, two undrafted free agents, are challenging for Izzo’s role on the team this year. Both are strong, quick, rangy athletes that know how to get to the ball. We expect one of them to be the 45th man on Sundays.

4. Tom Brady’s Foot Injury — Tom Brady won’t be making the trip tomorrow, due to the Patriots wanting him to rest his foot. That said, there will be a huge opportunity for one of the three other Patriot QB’s to either step up or blow up. Look for Matt Cassel to either assert himself as the #2, or show himself out of town.

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