The Tampa Bay Buccaneers brought in Tom Brady last season for one purpose. Mission accomplished. In his first season Brady led the Bucs to their most wins in nearly two decades and they reached the playoffs for the first time since 2007 with an 11-5 record. Brady’s arrival put a charge in the team’s win total and they hit the over of 9.5. And big things are again expected this season.
For those who thought the system in New England made Brady they were sorely mistaken. It was obviously the other way around. Brady continues to flip off Father Time adding to his record with a seventh Super Bowl title at the ripe age of 43. You might expect a decline in his performance this season but we said that last year, and the year before, and the year before that. The Bucs did the best they could to keep the Lombardi Trophy winning team together with every key performer back in the fold.
The last time a team went back-to-back was in 2004 and 2005 when the Patriots did it with Brady calling the shots. And with the entire NFC South in transition the Bucs are poised to not only win more than 11 games but also win a division title, something they haven’t accomplished since 2007.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2021 Regular Season Win Total Odds
Buccaneers Over 11.5 Wins (-146)
Buccaneers Under 11.5 Wins (+130)
(Odds provided by BookMaker.eu as of July 22, 2021)
One reason Brady chose Tampa – other than the fact he can wear a Speedo during the winter months – was the number of play makers on offense. The Bucs have a deep and talented receiving corps led by Mike Evans, who posted team highs of 70 receptions, 1,006 yards and 13 touchdowns. Chris Godwin would have joined him in the 1,000-yard club if he hadn’t missed four games. Still, Godwin produced the most receiving yards per game totaling 840 with seven TDs on 65 catches.
Tight ends have always been a big part of Brady’s game and the chemistry with former New England teammate Rob Gronkowski was instantaneous. Toss in Cameron Brate and a returning O.J. Howard and that group is as good as it gets. All the weapons allowed Brady to complete nearly 66 percent of his throws with 40 touchdowns, his highest total since tossing 50 in 2007. The Bucs had the second best passing attack in the NFL with nearly 290 yards per game and ranked third averaging 30.8 points.
The Bucs were strong defensively finishing first against the run. They did have some issues defending the pass but that tends to happen when opponents are playing catch up in a shootout. Take those numbers with a grain of salt and remember what the group did to Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in the Super Bowl. And three key members of that unit were re-signed with Ndamukong Suh, Lavonte David and Shaq Barrett giving coordinator Todd Bowles the necessary pieces to produce a top unit.
2021 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Schedule
Week 1: vs. Dallas Cowboys, Thursday, September 9, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)
Week 2: vs. Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, September 19, 4:05 p.m. ET
Week 3: at Los Angeles Rams, Sunday, September 26, 4:25 p.m. ET
Week 4: at New England Patriots, Sunday, October 3, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)
Week 5: vs. Miami Dolphins, Sunday, October 10, 1 p.m. ET
Week 6: at Philadelphia Eagles, Thursday, October 14, 8:20 p.m. ET (NFLN)
Week 7: vs. Chicago Bears, Sunday, October 24, 4:25 p.m. ET
Week 8: at New Orleans Saints, Sunday, October 31, 4:25 p.m. ET
Week 9: BYE
Week 10: at Washington Football Team, Sunday, November 14, 1 p.m. ET
Week 11: vs. New York Giants, Monday, November 22, 8:15 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Week 12: at Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, November 28, 1 p.m. ET
Week 13: at Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, December 5, 1 p.m. ET
Week 14: vs. Buffalo Bills, Sunday, December 12, 4:25 p.m. ET
Week 15: vs. New Orleans Saints, Sunday, December 19, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)
Week 16: at Carolina Panthers, Sunday, December 26, 1 p.m. ET
Week 17: at New York Jets, Sunday, January 2, 1 p.m. ET
Week 18: vs. Carolina Panthers, Sunday, January 9, 1 p.m. ET
With Drew Brees retiring, the Falcons starting over without Julio Jones and the Carolina Panthers entering Year 2 of their rebuild, the division is there for the taking. While they may not sweep those games the Bucs should win at least six of them and maybe even seven putting them on the cusp of surpassing their projected total. The biggest game of the season, though, comes in Week 4 with a visit to New England for a Brady/Belichick reunion. Playing the East Division from each conference should help. I doubt the NFC East will be as bad as it was last year but the clubs haven’t improved enough to reach the caliber of the Bucs.
The Bucs certainly have the talent to put together another monstrous campaign and the addition of one regular season game will push them over the win total. One question is motivation after winning the Super Bowl. That hasn’t been an issue with Brady and he won’t let his teammates get complacent. But if Brady is lost for any length of time, which is a possibility given his age and the beating QBs take in this league, there is no Plan B. That’s why it’s called a futures bet because we don’t know what will happen.
Our prediction: Tampa Bay Buccaneers OVER 11.5 Wins