Rumors have been spreading that this could be the end of the line for the man they call ‘Breesus’ (Drew Brees) and the G.O.A.T (Tom Brady). This could be the last time we see this iconic matchup between the two future Hall-of-Famers. It’s also a revenge game for a former first-round pick.
The Saints will be trying to get past their former embarrassments in the playoffs that have held this team back from multiple Super Bowl runs. The Buccaneers have their own storyline too, with such a win-now mentality, can they actually seal the deal? Can Brady further cement his standing as the G.O.A.T?
My answer is unfortunately, no. I think, and hope, that the Saints come out victorious this week en route to a game in Lambeau Field in Green Bay. While the Buccaneers have a lot of impressive players, boasting names like Brady and Evans, they just barely beat the Football Team last week. Although everyone agrees that Taylor Heinicke is the second coming of Brady, or maybe Vick with some of those explosive runs, the Washington Football Team should have been a pushover. All sarcasm aside, they started a quarterback for his second overall start… ever. And it was in the playoffs against arguably the best quarterback the league has ever seen. They were doomed from the start and yet the game came down to the last drive, one drive that could have sent the game to overtime and even given the Football Team a chance at a win.
On the other hand, the Saints won easily, holding the Bears to just nine while dropping 21 on one of the best defenses in the league. Drew Brees was effective with his two touchdowns and zero picks but what’s scary is that the defense only posted 1 sack and no picks on Mitch Trubisky, that ineffectiveness on defense could be their downfall against Brady.
Some painful benefits the Saints have are the memories of their past playoff failures. With the Minneapolis Miracle, the famous no-call, and a second embarrassing loss to the Vikings last year in the playoffs all accursed reminders from the last three years, the Saints should have more than enough bulletin board material to motivate the team. If that isn’t enough, Drew Brees’s imminent retiring announcement should be enough to have the team at their best, trying to reach one more Super Bowl for the aging legend.
The quarterback room is full of motivators with former Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston sure to add his own motivation too, most likely with calls to eat a dub on Sunday. The Buccaneers have had their own hardships, with Jameis Winston being a bust and their last division win coming in 2007 via one Jon Gruden but nothing compares to the Saints’ continual heartbreaks over the past years. Are the Saints in for another this year at the hand or rather the arm of Brady?
Of course, the real story of this game are those quarterbacks playing. Brees and Brady are the two best quarterbacks ever to play the game, statistics-wise. Brees is #1 all-time in passing yards and completions with Brady sitting at #2 for each. In addition, Brady is #1 all-time in pass attempts and passing touchdowns while Brees sits at #2.
Time will tell if these records will stay unbroken but football will always be associated with the names of these two. Brees and Brady have always been friendly rivals and this game is likely to go down in history. Akin to Jim Kelly and Dan Marino’s final game together, this will be a game unable to be missed, two legends dueling one last time.
Sadly this may not only be the last time we see a Brady-Brees duel but the last for many of the faces that line the halls of both teams. Big-name players are going to be gone soon and there is very little either team can do. The Bucs are projected to have around 30 million in cap space next season, and the Saints are about 80 to 90 million OVER the cap.
What’s worse than this are the names that could be leaving, players like Marcus Williams, Shaquil Barett, Jared Cook, and Chris Godwin are set to hit free agency this year. Both sides need to win now and take advantage of the teams they have before all is lost. The AFC South is set for big changes next season, which team will be able to stifle the blows best? First, one team has to win and either team could easily be a Super Bowl contender. I’m predicting the Saints to have that win-now mentality pay off as they beat the Bucs 28-24 on Sunday.