When Tom Brady made the decision to leave New England last offseason and head to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Bucs made the necessary moves (as they should) to compete for a Super Bowl right away. Brady has it all on the offensive side of the ball from Mike Evans, Antonio Brown, and Chris Godwin to Ronald Jones Jr and Leonard Fournette in the backfield. Strangely enough, this team has really struggled at times and has not shown an ability to execute in big games. Tampa has been awful on prime time this year which is worrisome seeing as though the bright lights are even more bright in the playoffs.
Tom Brady’s team has been able to execute against average to below-average opponents but outside of a drubbing of the Green Bay Packers it’s been tough sledding against really good teams. The Buccaneers have lost to the New Orleans Saints twice, the LA Rams, and the Kansas City Chiefs. To have a chance at a Super Bowl, they’ll probably have to face 2 out of those 3 opponents. So when you put it like that, it’s hard to see a scenario where this team can make a run to the final game of the NFL season.
Let me go about this a different way, because I think they are going to the Super Bowl. The Buccaneers are my pick to make it out of the NFC and I must say, I’m quite confident in it.
First things first, I want to start with the first half of this season for Tampa. It was a choppy start for the offense where it became apparent that Bruce Arians and Tom Brady were going to have to make adjustments to life in the NFL with each other. Brady is a guy who’s known for death by a thousand cuts, he takes what the defense gives him and punishes them when they make even the slightest mistake, especially in the biggest moments.
Bruce Arians has a history of “no risk it, no biscuit,” he likes to take shots down the field and get chunk plays. That was something Brady struggled to do, as we all heard the chatter about whether his arm was still there at age 43. Now in this second half of the season, Tampa is playing better on the offensive side of the ball with much more flow.
Brady has executed the deep ball more over the last 7 games, and is going to finish the season just under his career average of 30.3% on passes beyond 20 yards even after a very rough start. That leads me to my next point because while Tom and Arians have started to mesh during the Buccaneers latest 3 game winning streak heading into the playoffs, this idea that Brady isn’t playing at a Super Bowl level is foolish.
Buccaneers’ Tom Brady Doing Tom Brady Things
If you watched his 2017 MVP season, he was still widely regarded as the best quarterback in the game and most people knew the Patriots were probably going to make it out of the AFC. In that MVP year he had:
4,577 yards, 32 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions.
In this 2020 season with one game still left to play;
4,234 yards, 36 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions.
When it comes down to it, this man is still playing at an extremely high level and has the ability to lead this offense through an NFC bracket that will not be easy. Tampa has been slowly but surely working on figuring out how they’re all going to thrive in this new twist on the offense that Brady brings to the table. Over the last 6 games he has 17 total touchdowns, 4 300+ yard games passing, and he’s throwing the ball at over 66% completion. The offense is rolling and the best part is, the defense is too.
The Buccaneers have not just been a flashy inconsistent offense that is finally finding their stride at the perfect time in the season, their defense can ball. With one game remaining in the season, they’re 8th in the NFL in average points allowed and 6th in opponents yards per game. They’re also tied for 5th in turnover differential and after looking despite getting lit up by Patrick Mahomes they’ve been very good over the last 7 games. Jared Goff had a solid game as well, but the Bucs D forced 2 interceptions and he threw the ball 51 times.
The Bucs defense is playing it’s best football at the right time as well as the offense clicking, and everything is trending in the right direction. In the last 3 games this defense has allowed 16 PPG and say what you want about the competition but this is the time in the season you want to see a team executing on both sides of the ball and that’s what they’re doing.
At the end of the day Tom Brady is most likely going to put up very simlar, if not better (more TD passes already) than his 2017 MVP season. He’s gotten the hang of this offense and is using the subpar competitors as perfect tune up regular season games going into the postseason. Last Sunday we saw the GOAT sit down at the half after throwing for 348 yards, 4 TD’s, and no interceptions.
It’s all starting to trend in the right direction and right in time for Brady to pull one of his classics; get his team rolling at the perfect time and prove everyone who doubted him wrong. You can harp on the first half of the season where this team looked fairly shaky, or you can acknowledge that they’ve really gotten it going in the second half and realize that everything I said is the reality.
Tom Brady is going to make it back to the Super Bowl at age 43, you heard it here first right before Week 17 of the NFL season.
By: Bradley Shatraw CruelFan.com