Fresh off his sixth Super Bowl victory, Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers entered this NFL season as the heavy favorite to get back to the big game on a Sunday night in February.
However, the same couldn’t have been said about his former team, the New England Patriots, back in September, but with the Pats surprisingly sitting in first place in their division over the Buffalo Bills, Vegas NFL odds believe they too can get back to the big game.
The Buccaneers currently have the best odds at sportsbooks, sitting at +550. The Patriots currently sit with +700.
Evaluating Buccaneers’ Chances
The Bucs have the continuity going for them as they head into the postseason, with Brady as reliable as they come in the most hostile games of the season.
At 44 years old, Brady is showing absolutely no signs of slowing down, leading the NFL in passing yards and completions.
Brady may not be in the better half of qualified quarterbacks in yards gained per pass completion, but the Bucs’ offense is loaded with offensive weapons, with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski all being there to haul in Brady’s pass attempts and Leonard Fournette reverting back to the elite running back he was during his days with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Bucs’ defense is still ranked as one of the better groups in the league, with their pash rush a threat to take QBs out of their game plan. Just look at what they were able to do to Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl last year.
All in all, as long as you have Brady on your team, you’re in pretty great shape to get to the Super Bowl. Especially with all of the other NFC teams having weaknesses Tampa can exploit.
How Did Patriots Get Here?
Bill Belichick is arguably the greatest coach in NFL history. Especially when you consider what he’s been able to do with Brady and other pieces that came in and out during his time in New England.
Mac Jones was no sure thing heading into his first season with the Pats, but now he looks like he could very well be the best QB in his draft class.
Brady appeared to be replaceable in New England, but it seems like the Pats found their long-term replacement for the future in just two years. It can take certain teams decades to find their answer at the QB position (looking at you, Jets).
Damien Harris has also embraced a bigger role in his third season in the league, as he has nine touchdowns this season after coming into this season with just two of them, with both coming during his second season in the league.
The receiving corps has also stepped up their play and are playing in sync, with Kendrick Bourne, Jakobi Meyers, Nelson Agholor and Hunter Henry all getting a pretty even piece of their pie.
Because of the buy-in from guys on both sides of the ball, winning football is back in New England.
Will it Happen?
Both teams are pretty heavily favored to get to the Super Bowl this season. Storylines will be endless given the apparent fallout between Brady and Belichick.
However, the Arizona Cardinals could very well stand in the way of the Bucs’ chances of repeating with Kyler Murray enjoying an MVP-type season, and you gotta figure the Chiefs stand in the way of the Pats as well.
All of this said, the track record of Brady and Belichick speaks for itself, so it would be absolutely no shock to see these two teams meet in February.