Thursday Night Football is often known for its underwhelming matchups, but Week 5 could bring us a fireworks show when the New England Patriots visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Patriots are always a threat to post a big bundle of points with Tom Brady behind center, and young signal-caller Jameis Winston could be the latest quarterback to take advantage of New England's hapless pass defense. The Buccaneers are in the mix in the NFC South with a record of 2-1, while the Patriots have gotten off to a disappointing 2-2 start. Let's take a look at the most notable aspects of this upcoming ballgame.

Will Jameis shred the Patriots?

It will be interesting to see whether Jameis Winston, now 23 and in his third NFL season, will be able to showcase his superstar potential against a defense that has allowed huge numbers to a struggling Cam Newton, rookie Deshaun Watson, and conservative Alex Smith. The Patriots are allowing a league-worst 324 passing yards per game, and their mark of 8.6 yards allowed per pass attempt, which also ranks 32nd in the NFL, is staggering. Winston has been up and down through three games, posting impressive numbers against struggling defenses (Chicago Bears and New York Giants) but chucking up three interceptions against the Minnesota Vikings' stout unit.

With weapons like Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Adam Humphries, Cameron Brate, O.J.

Howard—the list goes on and on—2017 should be Winston's true breakout season. If he wants to show us that he's ready to take the next step toward becoming a championship-caliber passer who can put his team on his back, he's going to need to show his skills against this terrible Patriots pass defense and trade blows with Tom Brady.

It's easier said than done when New England head coach Bill Belichick is scheming against you, but Winston was drafted No. 1 overall in 2015 for a reason, and now is his time to show that he was truly worth the pick.

Can the Patriots slow down Jameis?

This may look like the same as our first item, but now we're looking at it from a different angle.

If the Patriots want to return to their dominant ways and take home another Super Bowl trophy, they are going to need to get their pass defense turned around. Yes, Tom Brady and company are shredding opponents and rank first in passing yards and total offense, but later in the year, when Brady is squaring off with elite defenses in the freezing cold, he's going to need a little help from his teammates on the other side of the ball.

The Patriots rank 27th in the NFL with just eight sacks through four games, and cornerbacks not named Malcolm Butler have been horrible in coverage (yes, that includes $65 million free agent Stephon Gilmore). The Patriots have the talent on paper to be much better against the pass than they have been.

Gilmore showed flashes of true shutdown ability during his time with the Buffalo Bills, Eric Rowe is playing significantly worse than he played a year ago, and Devin McCourty is uncharacteristically struggling against the pass from the safety spot.

While the pass rush is concerning, especially considering the poor coverage on the back end, the Patriots do have a few players with potential up front. 2015 first-round draft pick Malcom Brown has upside at defensive tackle next to Lawrence Guy, a starter for the Baltimore Ravens last season. Trey Flowers (three sacks) and Deatrich Wise (two sacks) have been surprisingly efficient off the edge, and the team has even gotten a boost from Cassius Marsh (one sack) at times.

What the Patriots need is a stronger interior push from players like Brown, more impact plays from rotational players, and for role players to take advantage when offensive lines focus on the edge-rushers coming from the outside.

The Patriots will by no means turn into the Denver Broncos' "No Fly Zone" any time soon, but they have enough talent to be much better against the pass than they have been over the first four games. If they can contain Winston and the Buccaneers, it would be a great first step toward shoring up the pass defense, which will need to be better to win games in January.

The return of the Muscle Hamster

Doug Martin's four-game suspension (for a violation of the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy) is over, and while there is uncertainty as to how involved Martin will be out of the gate, he could find himself in a featured role quickly if he runs well.

The Buccaneers were one of the more run-heavy teams in the league last season, ranking seventh in rushing attempts and 16th in passing attempts. This year, the Buccaneers rank just 25th in rushing attempts and 10th in passing attempts, which is most likely due to their poor mark of 3.8 yards per carry as a team.

Jacquizz Rodgers is a viable backup and change-of-pace runner, but he has a career average of 3.9 yards per carry and isn't quite built to lead a backfield at 5-foot-7 and 190 pounds. Peyton Barber (4.1 yards per carry) hasn't shown much as the second leading rusher on the team, and passing-down specialist Charles Sims has struggled in all facets of the game this season.

Martin, a 5-foot-9, 223-pound load nicknamed the Muscle Hamster, could give the Buccaneers backfield just the boost it needs.

A first-round draft pick in 2012, Martin is still 28 years old and just two years removed from a first-team All-Pro season.

Though he is coming off a career-worst year—during which he played in just eight games, averaging 2.9 yards per carry on his 144 totes—Martin has bounced back in the past (3.7 YPC over 11 games in 2014 to 4.9 YPC over 16 games in 2015), and multiple reports over the offseason spoke glowingly of the sixth-year runner. Winston has said that Martin "looks incredible," per Pewter Report, and Winston also spoke about how hard Martin has worked to bounce back from his down year.

The Patriots run defense is not much better than their awful pass defense, allowing a whopping 5.1 yards per carry (31st in the league), so Martin will have ample opportunity to start his season with a bang.

It is interesting to note that while the Patriots will be playing on short rest, Martin will have fresh legs. There could very well be some rust, but don't be surprised if Martin pounds the ball mercilessly against New England.