Can Brady make another title run?

by Gary Shelton on December 24, 2022

in general

Saturday, 4 a.m.

Is he nearing the end? This end, of course.

Is Tom Brady, for all his celebrity, for all his yardage, down to three games with the Tampa Bay Bucs? Is his lease up? Is he down to his last 1,000 yards or so? Is he ready to head to parts unknown?


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Certainly, Brady is nearing the end. But the question remains of whether that will be here or elsewhere, and right now, elsewhere seems to lead the guesswork. The Raiders, maybe. The Colts. Even the Patriots. Maybe even retirement.

If he goes, yes, it was worth it. He brought a Super Bowl. He brought relevancy. He gave you a reason to hope.

In a way, Brady is still bringing it. Oh, there is no question that the last two weeks have been a low point for him. He has been skittish, and scatter gunned, and turnover-prone. He is no longer a guaranteed cure to the rest of the problems of his team.

But with three games to go, and a playoff in sight, he still remains the No. 1 reason for Tampa Bay fans to tune in. For Brady, today has always been the most important time. If this is his final run with the Bucs, I think he wants it to be memorable.

His next game, of course, is against the Cardinals on Christmas night. Usually, that would be a reason to clap your hands. Brady was bred in prime-time games, and he chewed up teams like the 4-10 Cardinals. He left beginning quarterbacks dazed, wondering however they could achieve such efficiency.

No more. These days, Brady has been outplayed by P.J. Walker and Jacoby Brissett, by Mitch Trubisky and Brock Purdy. Any warm body can run up five touchdowns against the Bucs these days, who struggle to reach 20 points.

The disappointments, of course, have been listed. A bad running game. A weak offensive line. A secondary that gets lost. A pass rush that depends on the blitz. Silly penalties. Crushing turnovers. And s coaching staff that lacks the answers to fix any of it. Face it, if not for two miracles (the Rams and Saints), the Bucs would be 4-10, too.

On the other hand, it's hard to imagine the NFL when Brady isn’t contending at Christmas.

Look, the Cardinals have problems, too, and they aren't all named Trace McSorley.

So what can you expect? You can expect sloppy. You can expect ugly. You can expect the Bucs to play down to Arizona’s level. But, in the end, I think the Bucs make more plays than the Cardinals. I think they go into the new year ahead in the NFC South, for whatever that's worth.

Prediction: Tampa Bay 24, Arizona 20.

In other NFL games:

New Orleans 30, Cleveland 14.

Kansas City 28, Seattle 20.

Cincinnati 30, New England 24.

Baltimore 26, Atlanta 17.

Dallas 28, Philadelphia 21.

Miami 24, Green Bay 23.

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