After 18 mostly barren years in which the Buccaneers only made the postseason on two occasions – both turning out to be wild card losses – Tom Brady arrived and took Tampa Bay to the Super Bowl again last year.
After showing Patrick Mahomes that he was still the king of football, with some help from a superhuman effort from his defense – all looked good for a repeat this season. Recent games have changed the outlook somewhat though, with the online sportsbooks now making the Bills favorite to win Super Bowl LVI.
But can the Bucs fight back in the remaining weeks of the regular season and set themselves up nicely for another victory in the big game? We’ve taken a look at what needs to happen for Tom Brady to win yet another ring this season.
The Season So Far
Everything had been looking so good up until a few weeks ago. The Bucs were 6-1, with the only defeat coming at the hands of a very good LA Rams team. It seemed like the NFC South was for the taking and the main worry would be who the Buccaneers would face in the postseason.
But a month later it is all change in the division – and the league. Losses to the Saints and then Washington have moved the goalposts and made the NFC South one of the closest divisions in the league. There is no guarantee to be the number one ranked team in the NFC now.
The other NFC divisions are not as close as the South and that means that the Buccaneers will need to make sure that they beat their closest rivals – at the very least. There are two games before any further intra-divisional match ups, but then it will all get very serious in the final six weeks of the regular season.
Cam Newton’s return to the Panthers has rejuvenated that organization and the two games against Carolina in the last three weeks of the campaign will go a long way to deciding who comes out on top. If the Bucs can win both of those then the division should be won.
What the Bucs Need to Do
Although Tom Brady needs to concentrate on showing Cam Newton who’s in charge, as he did with Mahomes last year, there are other factors crucial to success this season. The next four games are against the Giants, Indianapolis, Atlanta and Buffalo. Three wins out of four should be the very least that Bruce Arians is planning for.
The Bills have now been installed as the new favorites to win Super Bowl LVI and the match up in week 14 will be seen as a curtain raiser for the big game in Inglewood in February. With mostly divisional games to finish off the regular season, a win against the Bills would do very nicely.
Can the Buccaneers Win Super Bowl LVI?
The simple answer to that question is ‘yes’. The Bucs were 6-3 at this stage last year – and then went to 7-5 after losing to the Rams and the Chiefs. Brady then went into overdrive and led the team to four straight wins. That still only earned second place in the division and a wild card game against Washington. But by then the winning impetus had returned.
It had looked as though the Buccaneers were going to make it slightly easier on themselves this season, but that doesn’t seem to be the case now. The East isn’t as weak this year, so a wild card game against the Cowboys will not be as straightforward.
Tom Brady has shown that he is truly the best player that ever played in the NFL. There are no real signs of slowing down, even if he is changing his game to accommodate his advancing years. The postseason is Brady time – and a momentary setback does not mean that he won’t be triumphant in February once again.