- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the New Orleans Saints 30-20 in Sunday’s divisional round playoff game.
- Drew Brees threw three interceptions in what could’ve been his final NFL game.
- Tom Brady and the Bucs advance to the NFC title game where they are currently three-point underdogs against the Green Bay Packers.
It was labeled as a History Channel showdown between two 40-something future Hall of Famer quarterbacks. In the end, one is expected to have thrown his final pass while the other moves on to add more to his legacy.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers outlasted the New Orleans Saints 30-20 in the NFC divisional round playoffs to advance to the NFC title game next weekend.
BRADY DOES IT AGAIN ?#Bucs upset #Saints 30-20. Tampa Bay cashes +120 on the moneyline ?
TB received consistent sharp action from start to finish (+3.5 to +2.5). Never any buyback on NO
Next up: Brady vs Rodgers for a trip to the Super Bowl. Doesn’t get any better than that pic.twitter.com/LRtkYIhric
— Josh Appelbaum (@Josh_Insights) January 18, 2021
Brady completed 18 of 33 passes for 199 yards with two passing touchdowns and one rushing score. It wasn’t the kind of playoff performance from Tom Brady but it was enough to beat the Saints which saw QB Drew Brees struggle in what could have been his final NFL game.
Brees’ Last Game?
As Tom Brady and Drew Brees hug and say goodbye after a long talk on the field, Brady throws a touchdown pass to Brees’ son. One walks off to play in the NFC championship, the other stays to play with his kids. pic.twitter.com/wdWDro9YD4
— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) January 18, 2021
It was another playoff disappointment for Brees and the Saints, and maybe this is the last one. There have been talks that Brees could be retiring at the end of the season and while he hasn’t confirmed anything, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he did. He already owns several NFL record and is a sure first ballot Hall of Famer. But the latter years of his career will always be remembered for the playoff heartaches.
To be fair, both Brady and Brees looked like their respective ages during the first half of action. Brady completed just 10 of 21 passes for 93 yards while Brees went 10-17 with 63 yards and one interception. In fact, it was former Bucs starting QB Jameis Winston, who is now with the Saints, who threw the best pass of the half- a 56 yard TD on a trick play.
But while Brady wasn’t spectacular, he was solid and his team did just enough to win the game. Tampa Bay’s plan was obvious. They didn’t want to do too much early and get the risk of getting blown out in a shootout. Instead, the Bucs tried to keep the game close and hoped to pull off the upset in the 4th quarter. Everything fell into place.
Brady and his team capitalized on the Saints’ turnovers by scoring touchdowns in three of New Orleans’ four mishaps. Two of those touchdowns were short passes by Brady to Mike Evans and Leonard Fournette. And after linebacker Devin White forced the second of three interceptions by Brees, Brady ensured a 14th career appearance in the Conference Championship by pulling off the QB sneak from the 1-yard line to give the Bucs a 30-20 lead.
NFC Title Game is Set
The NFC Championship matchup is set. #Packers vs. Buccaneers at Lambeau Field with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line ?: https://t.co/lsWrOzoShf#TBvsGB | #GoPackGo pic.twitter.com/DFp6vHdCFy
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) January 18, 2021
With the Bucs’ win over the Saints, the NFC Championship game is set for Sunday, January 24, 2021 at Lambeau Field. The NFC top seed Green Bay Pacers will host the Buccaneers at 3:05 PM ET and according to online sportsbook SportsBetting.ag, the Packers are three-point home favorites over Tom Brady’s new bunch. The same bookmaker also says that Green Bay is a -196 odds on favorite at the Moneyline.
But while there is no doubt as to why the Packers are favored, you can’t count out the Buccaneers, especially with Tom Brady playing behind center. As starters, Brady holds a 2-1 head to head record against Aaron Rodgers and in their only meeting this season, Brady’s Bucs defeated Rodgers’ Packers 38-10 with Tampa Bay DC Todd Bowles giving Rodgers a hard time with disguised coverages and well-time blitzes.
This should be an epic an matchup with stars all over the field in this classic NFC showdown at Lambeau Field. Everyone will be looking forward to Brady vs Rodgers but more than the QBs passing showdown, turnovers will be the key in this game.
Green Bay committed two turnovers in that October game and those turned a 10-0 deficit to a blowout. Turnovers could decide the outcome of this game as Green Bay is 11-0 in games without turnovers and just 3-3 in games with at least one. Meanwhile, the Bucs are 7-0 when playing without a turnover and 1-4 when turning the ball over at least twice.