Tale as old as time, song as old as the rhyme: “Brady’s gonna go down this year.”
Like Samuel L. Jackson’s character Jules at the end of “Pulp Fiction,” people have been saying this shit for years, yet year after year the Brady naysayers come out of the woods to spew the most heinous, disrespectful nonsense. Whether it was Max Kellerman and the infamouscliff theory” in 2016, or the The Miami Dolphins have reportedly selected Ryan Fitzpatrick against Brady in 2020, the three-time MVP continued to defy expectations at every turn. But, a year after leading the league in yards, touchdowns and completions, all while finishing second in MVP voting, THIS it will be the season when we see the decline!
According to Caesars’ Sportsbook editorial content writer Max Meyer, Buccaneers wins under 11.5 are the most incorrect bet at Caesar’s with 87.8 percent of punters believing Brady won’t reach 12 wins in 2022.
Okay, let’s break this down from a fundamental standpoint. The first thing I want to note is that Brady was so confident in his abilities willing to go to the Miami Dolphins, who have an arguably worse receiving corps, definitely a worse offensive line, definitely a worse defense, are definitely in a tougher division and have a rookie head coach — all at 45 years old. Yes, I know he wanted his family together, but Brady also wants to win. He likes to win and was willing to leave a team he had won a Super Bowl with to play with an objectively worse offense in a tougher division. That should tell you all you need to know about his confidence in his abilities this season.
That’s just Brady. There are other factors that go into how well a team will do next season. Obviously, the Buccaneers are in a worse position than they were a year ago. The team lost guard Alex Cappa, guard Ali Marpet, tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Antonio Brown, and there’s a good chance wide receiver Chris Godwin will miss time as well as rehabilitate a torn ACL. There are also injury concerns with left tackle Tristan Wirfs after he had to undergo ankle surgery during the playoffs last year. The Bucs may not have replaced all of those losses, but the additions of Russell Gage and Julio Jones minimize potential damage at the wide receiver position, and second-round rookie guard Luke Goedeke also hopes to fill any holes he can to have stayed. never Marpet retired. There are still some holes, but nothing that can’t be overcome as long as injuries don’t destroy the talent of the team.
The defense has more or less remained the same. Sure, the in the absence of Jordan Whitehead it will hurt, especially after the monumental impact he showed last year, but again, this isn’t a loss the Bucs can’t overcome.
Let us now consider their program. The Bucs will have eight games against playoff teams from 2021 this season (Cowboys, Bengals, 49ers, Cardinals, Rams, Packers, Chiefs and Steelers). While only four of those games will be at home, the four that will be on the road are against the Cowboys, Steelers, 49ers and Cardinals – arguably the four worst teams on this list. I also don’t think it’s a stretch to say that every single one of these teams (except maybe the 49ers) got worse during the offseason. Additionally, the Cardinals game will be in December. “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2” will be released in late October, so we know Kyler Murray will not be at his best.
However, the Buccaneers have some other tough games, particularly against the Ravens, Browns and Saints. Obviously, the Bucs and Saints will go home and home with each other since they are in the same division. As for the Browns and Ravens, the Bucks have to face Baltimore on a short week (Thursday Night Football), but the game will be in Tampa. We don’t know who the Browns quarterback will be when the Bucs face Cleveland in Cleveland, but even if Deshaun Watson can take the field for this game, it will be against a Bucs team coming off of their bye week. They will be fresh and relaxed. Meanwhile, the Browns will hit the road against Buffalo. They may be very beaten up.
Sure, the Saints might have Brady’s number. Well, let’s assume the Saints win both of those games. Brady struggles early in the season too, right? So let’s say it goes 2-2 to start the season. The Bucs will beat the Falcons, Steelers and Panthers. Let’s say they lose to the Ravens and Rams. That’s four losses already, with the fifth coming against the Saints three weeks later. They’ll beat the Seahawks, probably beat the Browns with everything I said in the last paragraph (also a great matchup since the Bucs defense is stifling against the run), lose to the Saints, and beat the 49ers (unless the Trey Lance expectations out of the water), then have two tough games against the Bengals and Cardinals before finishing the season against the Panthers and Falcons. By my estimation, the floor for the Buccaneers is 10-7, a game and a half below where the over-under is at Caesar’s. However, let’s say they beat the Saints once this year (which I don’t think is impossible). They probably beat the Cardinals anyway. They could also beat the Bengals, Rams and Packers. They could go as high as 14-3, two and a half games over where the over-under is.
I’m not guaranteeing the Bucks will win 12 or more games next season. Like I said, I can see them going as low as 10-7. However, with 87.8 percent of players predicting the Buccaneers won’t win 12 or more games, that means the Bucs are in a much worse position now than they were a year ago. In his two years at Florida, the Bucks’ worst record was 11-5. This is over the course of a 16-game season. It’s very likely they would have won 12 if they played a 17-game schedule in 2020.
I think 11.5 wins is a solid place to put the over-under for the Bucs win total in 2022. That said, I’d expect a near 50-50 split on the issue, not the near 90-10 that we are currently watching. Brady has never fallen before, and while that day will come eventually, what has he done to make us think it’s coming this year?