Wembley ones to watch

skysports.com runs through the top stars for Sunday's game

By Paul Higham.   Last Updated: 21/10/09 5:33pm

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Brady: Pats leader

Brady: Pats leader

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Wembley Stadium plays host to an NFL game for the third time on Sunday, and skysports.com takes you through the men who will be taking centre stage for the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.


New England v Tampa Bay Sunday October 25, 4.30pm
Live on Sky Sports 2 & HD2

The Pats are huge favourites at Wembley, as they sit on 4-2 heading into the contest while the Bucs are 0-6 and still waiting for their first victory of the season.

New England will hope for a case of déjà vu as in 2007 the New York Giants faced winless opposition in the Dolphins at Wembley, won the game, and went on to lift the Super Bowl - ironically against the Patriots.

The Pats are coming off a huge 59-0 victory against Tennessee Titans, while Tampa Bay obviously lost again - this time to Carolina Panthers - and have only scored 89 points all season.

But who will be the difference-makers, the gamer-breakers and the show-stealers in Sunday's grid iron showdown, here skysports.com takes you through the main men.

Tom Brady

Predictable but Tom Terrific is undoubtedly the star attraction at Wembley, with the all-American hero being a huge name both on and off the field over in the USA.

Brady has the model wife and full trappings of a sporting hero, but he has also delivered on the field more often than not - with three Super Bowl rings proving that point - and two MVPs in those big games showcasing his talents.

A knee injury ruled him out of all but a few minutes of last season, and his early form this year seemed to show he was still struggling to shrug off the rust from that absence, but he proved he was back with an almighty bang last Sunday.

Brady threw six touchdown passes, five in the second quarter, in the rout of Tennessee, while also amassing 380 yards and, with the Bucs allowing 13 passing TDs already this season it could be a monster game again from the Pats QB.

Randy Moss

Invariably, if Brady has a big game, then Randy Moss has a big game, with the wide receiver one of the best deep threats in the NFL, and Brady just rediscovering the deep ball in time for Wembley.

Moss leads the team with 496 receiving yards and four TDs, although three of them came last Sunday in what has been a slow start by Moss' lofty standards, but he is still aiming for a 63rd 100-yard game of his career on Sunday - he is behind only Jerry Rice in this category .

The 12-year veteran remains a huge target for Brady though, and he is only two seasons removed from his huge 23-touchdown performance in 2007 when Brady was fully healthy.

Wes Welker

Diminutive wideout Wes Welker is a darling of the fantasy football world, but in real life he has also proved to be some player as one of the speediest slot receivers in the game.

Welker leads the league in receptions since 2007 with 259, and he is always a keen target of Brady with his quickness and ability to get open even in the tightest of situations.

A proud Texas Tech product, Welker is as tough as they come and despite struggling himself with injury this season he is beginning to find his old rhythm as he re-connects with Brady.

Josh Johnson

Second-year quarterback Josh Johnson only made his first NFL start in Week Four, and in just his fourth start he will be lining up under centre at Wembley.

With Tampa going nowhere under Byron Leftwich, Johnson was given the chance to learn his trade, and he has shown flashes of his talent, especially in his running ability.

The 23-year-old has 141 yards rushing already this season and he will be scrambling around trying to extend the play in London, but he will also need to throw the ball with the Bucs expected to be down early.

Kellen Winslow

Winslow was an elite tight end before things took a downward spiral at Cleveland, but things slowly start to be looking up in Florida as his performances start to rise even if the team still can't find that elusive win.

Winslow leads the Bucs in receiving yards and touchdowns scored and seems to be the favourite target of Johnson, especially when he is under pressure as he will be come Sunday.

The 26-year-old is a big target with good hands and at his best he can be a real thorn in the side of opposing defences, and in his only previous game with the Pats he found the endzone.

Cadillac Williams

Carnell 'Cadillac' Williams has had a sputtering start to the season and, while he has shown some promise, he has not yet reached the top gear people believe he can hit.

Williams is still fully getting over a serious knee injury but started well enough as he found the endzone in the first two games of the season, but his production simply has not been good enough.

Being a decent receiver out of the backfield has helped his numbers, but in three games he has been held to under ten yards rushing. He will need to improve but his 20-yard TD last week was a sign of better things to come.

Best of the rest...

Derrick Ward will come in at running back for Tampa Bay at some stage, and he will hope to get on the Wembley pitch at the second time of asking after missing the Giants' game against the Dolphins in 2007 with injury.

Watch out for Bucs receiver/returner Sammie Stroughter after his blistering 97-yard return TD on Sunday, when he had 207 all-purpose yards and over 43 yards per touch.

Laurence Maroney will likely lead the New England rushing attack with Fred Taylor out and Sammy Morris hurting, and he will need to establish the ground game quickly to avoid Brady taking to the skies.

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