Tom Brady makes his first appearance in the play-offs with Tampa Bay Buccaneers when Washington comes to Florida on Sunday evening for a wild card game. Washington made it to the play-offs with a poor 7-9 record thanks to the dreadful standard of the NFC East. Although many might not pick the Bucs as Super Bowl contenders, Brady has a career-long habit of taking teams to victory when it really matters. Read on to see what we think are the key points of what should be an entertaining game!
Brady really is key for the Bucs
If Tampa Bay didn’t have Tom Brady they would not be as much of a threat as they look like being in the post-season. The Bucs have looked great this season when hammering sub-par teams like Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons, but have looked a lot less accomplished when they have faced better sides. Brady has something of an all-star offensive line-up to conduct, with Mike Evans (who was injured on Sunday but might still make it and face Washington), Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown alongside him. That line-up puts the pressure on every opposing defense, and Brady is experienced enough to choose the right option at the perfect time. He also knows that he doesn’t have to complete every pass when he has such good receivers to put defenders under pressure. Heading into week 17, the Bucs receivers had drawn 20 pass interference penalties for 362 yards – the highest in the NFL in both categories.
One thing that Brady will have to improve is the Bucs’ tendency to start games slowly. Opponents in 2020 have outscored Tampa 100-88 in the first quarter of games. Washington will therefore want to put the pressure on the Bucs offense early. The best feature of this Washington team is their defensive front seven, so they definitely have the tools to do so. Whether that is enough to cause an upset when their offense is so poor remains to be seen.
Our Pick: Tampa Bay by 13-18
Our tips for this game comes from 888Sport, which is offering tempting odds of +425 on Tampa winning by 13-18 points. While Washington has a strong defense, we expect that Brady and his all-star offense will really purr into life this weekend and dismantle a Washington team that is lucky to be in the play-offs. The Bucs have proved themselves to be good at dismantling poor teams in 2020 and we expect that trend to continue on Sunday.
Our pick: Bucs by 13-18 @ +425 with 888Sport