Bill Belichick never overlooks an opponent, whether its undefeated or winless — like the next team on the Patriots’ schedule.
The Buccaneers will visit Foxboro on Sunday, reeling from a pair of heartbreaking last-second losses. Greg Schiano‘s team has endured a rough start to the regular season, allowing late fourth quarter leads to slip away in both Week 1 and Week 2. Those losses, though, have shown that the Bucs are much better than their 0-2 record might indicate, according to Belichick.
“I really feel like we’re playing a 2-0 team,” Belichick said during a conference call on Monday.
The Patriots are 2-0, after grinding out wins in similar down-to-the-wire games to start the season. The Bucs haven’t enjoyed much luck late in games this season, which has ultimately cost them two wins.
“Really, talk about a team that’s two plays away from being 2-0, that’s Tampa,” Belichick said. “They’ve been really close the last two weeks and have come up short but a couple plays that just turn out a little differently, wouldn’t have taken much, we’d be looking at a 2-0 team.”
Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David‘s unnecessary roughness penalty late in Week 1 gave the Jets perfect field position for a game-winning field goal, costing them a win. Then Drew Brees was the culprit in Week 2, leading the Saints 54 yards down the field in just over a minute late in the fourth quarter to set up a game-winning kick of their own.
The Patriots and Buccaneers have some familiarity with one another already, as the Bucs visited New England for a week of joint practices ahead of their preseason game at Gillette Stadium last month. They’ll go at it again at 1 p.m. Sunday.