Super Bowl 56 Could be a Brady vs. Belichick Battle
Heading into the final stretch of the current NFL Regular Season, it's possible history repeats itself. For starters, Tom Brady looks solid to play in another Super Bowl.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback notched his tenth appearance in this year's NFL Championship game. Although fallout happened due to Antonio Brown's COVID vaccine card scheme, the former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver hasn't factored into Tampa's season due to an injury.
So even without AB, Tampa's offense ranks first in the NFL in yards and points per game. The defense is also a top unit, so Brady and the Bucs could march into their second straight Lombardi Trophy game.
The team representing the AFC in Super Bowl LVI is up for debate. Heading into Week 15, Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs had won four straight and five of six. The Chiefs beat the Chargers to secure first place in the AFC.
But although Kansas City is playing like the Super Bowl favorites, Mahomes and his teammates aren't a lock to secure home-field advantage in the AFC Playoffs. Heading into Week 15, the AFC's best record team was the New England Patriots.
Brady's former team had won seven straight before their December 18 contest versus the Indianapolis Colts.New England had been so hot that an NFL handicapper recently dropped $20,000 on the Pats to win Super Bowl 56.
Bookmaker software agents have also said their players are dumping on the Patriots. Odds have fallen so far and so fast on New England that some individual bookies have cut off Super Bowl LVI betting.
Brady and the Bucs and Bill Belichick's New England squad have played well enough in recent weeks that NFL fans are clamoring for a Brady versus Belichick Super Bowl. See why a Tampa Bay Buccaneers versus New England Patriots Super Bowl 56 has a significant likelihood of happening.
Brady hasn't slowed, and Tampa is getting healthy at the right time
Heading into his match with the New Orleans Saints, Tom Brady is playing as if he's got a shield around Father Time. The Terrific One is having one of the best seasons of his career.
Before the Week 15 matchup against the rival New Orleans Saints, Brady had thrown for 4,136 yards, 36 TDs, and just 10 interceptions. The seven-time Super Bowl winner's performance has been so fantastic that even though the Bucs average under 96 rushing yards per, they lead the NFL in total yards each game.
If a healthy Tom Brady for the regular season's final stretch wasn't enough, the Buccaneers are getting healthy on defense. Starting linebacker Shaquil Barrett and cornerback SeanMurphy-Bunting are both healthy.
Starting safeties Antoine Winfield and Jordan Whitehead are almost one hundred percent. Starting corner Richard Sherman remains banged up, but as long as Winfield, Whitehead, and Bunting are on the field, coach Bruce Arians can work around Sherman's uncertain status.
The front seven is healthier than it has been this entire season. Before the season started, NFL football fans were singing the front seven's praises.
Defensive line members Ndamukong Suh, Vita Vea, William Gholston, and Jason Pierre-Paul are ready to roll. The starting linebacker unit, Barrett, Devin White, and Lavonte David, are gearing up for a deep playoff run.
If the defense doesn't suffer any more injuries, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should play like the current Super Bowl favorites, which they are. Everything starts with Brady, and the winningest Super Bowl quarterback in history is playing as well as he ever has during his long career.
New England quarterback Mac Jones gets better week-to-week
Although rookie Alabama quarterback Mac Jones struggled in the Patriots' 27-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, we shouldn't discount what he's done this season. Bill Belichick built the 2021 Patriots team on a stifling defense.
Once the Pats went down by 20 points, Belichick had to pressure his rookie quarterback to rally New England. Not surprisingly, Jones almost got it done.
The Patriots had cut the lead to 20-17. But then New England gave up a 67-yard TD run to the best running back in the NFL, Jonathan Taylor.
Taylor's run sealed the deal. Indianapolis' NFL Week 15 victory ended the Patriots' seven-game winning streak.
The loss also sent the Patriots from the first seed in the AFC to the conference's third seed.
New England can overtake the Tennessee Titans and the Kansas City Chiefs for the first seed.
But the Patriots must get back on track.
If the Patriots secure the 1-seed, they will be difficult to beat because the defense is one of the best in the league.
Before allowing 20 points to the Colts, one of Indianapolis' touchdowns was a pick-six off a Jones' interception, New England's defense had led the league in points allowed per game. Opponents averaged just 16.2 points per game versus New England.
Like Tampa, the defense must stay healthy. The Patriots should have a shot at home-field if the defense gets back on track in New England's final three games.
Bill Belichick has a defensive first philosophy. So whatever Mac Jones does depends on how well the defense plays. If Belichick can game plan to where Jones throws the bowl less than thirty times a game, the likely NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year should flourish.
The New England head coach had the same philosophy in the 2002 Super Bowl, Tom Brady's first. Brady completed 16-of-27 for 154 yards and a TD in New England's improbable 20-17 win over Kurt Warner and the St. Louis Rams.
Belichick knows the best way for his team to make Super Bowl 56and win it is by leaning on a top defense and allowing his rookie quarterback to make simple throws. In that sense, the New England Patriots must repeat history to secure their spot in the 2022 Super Bowl.
If the Patriots play for the Lombardi Trophy, don't be surprised if Brady and the Bucs are at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood to greet them.
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