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Greg Cote's Thursday night NFL pick

Greg Cote, Miami Herald on

Published in Football

PATRIOTS (2-2) at BUCCANEERS (2-1)

Line: NE by 5 1/2.

Cote's pick: Patriots 34-23.

TV: 8:25 p.m., CBS.

Beyond prime time, this game feels special because the defending champion Patriots are making their first visit to Tampa Bay since 1997. New England arrives with its worst defense through four games -- an average of 32 points and 457 yards allowed -- in the Bill Belichick era. The Pats also arrive with a still really great offense led by a good-as-ever Tom Brady. So the question isn't so much if Brady will outscore the other team as it is whether he'll outscore his own defense. The answer here: Yes. I have too much faith in the Patriots' sustained success to see them 2-3. I also believe the Buccaneers' injury-depleted linebacking should make it a big night for Rob Gronkowski and Brady slicing up the Bucs with underneath stuff.

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