Curran: Quick thoughts on Patriots-Bucs

Curran: Quick thoughts on Patriots-Bucs
September 22, 2013, 12:30 pm
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Stevan Ridley needs to take care of the football to be able to get back onto the field.

(AP Photo)

FOXBORO -- Quick thoughts before today's Patriots-Bucs game . . .

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Speaking to Buccaneers GM Mark Dominik about an hour before kickoff, he told me the key to this game for Tampa Bay is stopping the run. “It may seem odd going against Tom Brady, but when they run the ball well at home, they don’t lose.”

If that’s the case, look for the Patriots to be presented with opportunities down the field as Tampa tries to bottle up Stevan Ridley and LeGarrette Blount.
 
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Zach Sudfeld is active. Put his over-under on targets at six. And I’ll take the over. The return of Rob Gronkowski has been framed as a panacea to the offense, and there’s no question he will be a major upgrade once he’s able to play Gronkian. But having Sudfeld on the field to combine with Michael Hoomanawanui, leaving Hooman in to block and letting Sudfeld get out into patterns means the Patriots will be covered in pass protection and have a tight end weapon.
 
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Julian Edelman has been targeted 27 times in two games, making 20 catches. Aside from all the Welker-Amendola conversation, what those numbers should tell everyone is that -- in the Patriots offense -- the slot receiver position is going to enjoy more chances and more production than in conventional offenses. The numbers, therefore, are not as important as what your eyes tell you in terms of what a player can do. If Edelman gets a steady dose of Darrelle Revis today, start the hell out of Kenbrell Thompkins in your fantasy league.
 
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Vince Wilfork hasn’t been Vince Wilfork since the preseason. He seems like he’s dealing with something health-wise. With the Patriots already shallow at defensive tackle, that’s an overlooked aspect so far because New England’s defense has produced. Big concern, though, today, especially with the Bucs being able to run Carl Nicks and Donald Penn together on the left side.