New England Patriots (4-2) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-6)
New England vs. Tampa Bay (in London)
Wembley Stadium got a reactionary reputation for low scoring and bad weather when the Giants squeaked by the Fins 13-10 in 2007. The notion was nixed in 2008, with New Orleans and San Diego combining for 77 points. Don't expect a baseball score in this one, as the forecast is mostly fair (high 50s, 20% chance of showers) save for 18MPH winds. Of course, not even a snowstorm can stop the Patriots' offense. Play Tom Brady, Randy Moss, and Wes Welker against a Bucs defense allowing the biggest YPA (8.5) in the league and the third most passing touchdowns (13).
New England will also be successful on the ground. The Bucs already rank 31st against the run, and NT Chris Hovan is battling an ankle injury. The Gaines Adams trade moves Greg White, or "Stylez G.," into the lineup at weak-side end. White is a poor run defender. With Sammy Morris (knee) and Fred Taylor (ankle) out, Laurence Maroney will start. Risk-taking owners can also give BenJarvus Green-Ellis a long look. He's the Patriots' best short-yardage/goal-line back left and could play extensively if 1) Maroney struggles early, or 2) the Pats jump out to a big lead (likely).
Predicting that a team will have to play "catch up" is always a gamble, but the Bucs simply can't keep up with the Pats' offense. If New England dominates time of possession, though, it won't matter. Every Bucs skill player is a risk, including Kellen Winslow. Pats FS Brandon McGowan has routinely shut down tight ends since entering the lineup early this year. Winslow is more athletic than any TE McGowan has faced, but K2 remains boom or bust...Antonio Bryant's fantasy production has fallen each week since Josh Johnson took over at QB. Keep him benched.
The Patriots have allowed one rushing TD all year, and the prospect of New England getting ahead early or dominating the possession battle reflects poorly on Carnell Williams' Week 7 outlook. Cadillac is playing well (4.3 YPC, on pace for career highs in catches and touchdowns) but he won't be usable for another five weeks. After this one, the Bucs play Green Bay (previously discussed), Miami (third in run defense), and New Orleans (fifth vs. run) before visiting Atlanta.
My Pick- Patriots