Patriots

Bucs OL: 'Yeah, a little bit' excited to face struggling Patriots defense

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Bucs OL: 'Yeah, a little bit' excited to face struggling Patriots defense

Patriots opponents aren't typically looking forward to seeing Bill Belichick and Tom Brady on the schedule. Now . . .

Buccaneers offensive lineman Kevin Pamphile was asked this week if he was excited to see the Patriots defense on Thursday night since they're giving up 32 points per game (31st in the league) and 456.8 yards per game (32nd).

"Yeah, a little bit," he said, "but we can’t take anything away from them. That’s a great team. [They’re] the defending champs. We want to attack them regardless [of] if they are giving up points or not. [We] want to prove ourselves. We want to make sure we let them know we’re a competitive team."

Given what the Patriots showed against the Panthers in Week 4, the Bucs receiving corps may be licking their chops. Their top option, Mike Evans, is coming off of a five-catch performance against the Giants in which he racked up 67 yards and scored a touchdown. DeSean Jackson and slot man Adam Humphries combined for 90 yards on eight catches, and tight ends Cameron Brate and OJ Howard also scored in the 25-23 win.

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Patriots-Steelers tale of the tape

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Patriots-Steelers tale of the tape

0:41 - The BST crew breaks down the Celtics’ 107-95 loss to the Utah Jazz. A. Sherrod Blakely joins Tom Giles from the TD Garden and Michael Holley and Kayce Smith analyze Gordon Hayward’s pregame comments about his recovery and return.

8:07 - Do Bill Belichick and the Patriots attempt to shut down Le'Veon Bell or Antonio Brown this weekend against the Steelers? Tom Giles and Michael Holley discuss and Phil Perry and Kayce Smith break down the matchup with this week’s tale of the tape.

14:36 - The Red Sox watched another slugger get scooped up, as the Philadelphia Phillies signed Carlos Santana. Michael Holley, Kayce Smith and Tom Giles discuss Boston’s interest in still-available J.D. Martinez and how much he could cost the club.

Injury report: Branch out, 10 Patriots questionable

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Injury report: Branch out, 10 Patriots questionable

The Patriots final injury report before their showdown with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday includes 10 players listed as questionable and defensive lineman Alan Branch ruled out.

Branch, who hurt his knee in the Monday night loss to the Dolphins, missed three days of practice this week. Among the questionable are linebacker Kyle Van Noy and defensive lineman Trey Flowers, who didn't play against Miami. Tom Brady (Achilles), Brandon Cooks (hand) and Malcolm Butler (ankle) have been removed from the injury report. 

Cornerback Joe Haden (fibula) and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (hamstring) among the Steelers listed as questionable. The full injury report: