Two National Football Conference teams in very similar situations in their division standings meet tonight in Florida when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Los Angeles Rams. Both these teams have lost three games this year, the Bucs have won one more because they are one of the final two teams that are yet to enjoy their bye week. All 32 teams are in action this coming week, beginning with the three games on Thanksgiving, and the Bucs will get their bye the week after the holiday.
Both the Rams and Buccaneers need a win to keep pace with the leaders in their divisions. The Buccaneers looking for a victory to catch New Orleans in the NFC South with eight wins, they would still have one more loss. With a win tonight, the Rams equal the Seattle Seahawks mark at seven wins and three losses in the NFC West. The Rams also own the tiebreaker against the Seahawks, having beaten them last week in the first of their two 2020 head-to-head matchups.
Have you ever spent the final days with an elderly loved one?
My experience is that their demise is often preceded by a burst of alertness and energy before they pass.
Last week, Tampa Bay was in Carolina to play a Panthers team looking to end a four game losing streak. In the first half, Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady didn’t look like the greatest of all time. In fact, on his first offensive possession, which lasted only two plays, his offense turned the ball over. When the two teams headed for the halftime locker room, the game was tied at 17 and there were more questions than answers about Brady.
After all, this is an aging quarterback that got blown out on his home field in a critical NFC South Division showdown the week before by the New Orleans Saints, 38-3. The week before that, Brady looked old while nursing his team to a two-point win over the win starved New York Giants.
What would we see in the second half of the Panthers game?
Would the downtrend of Brady continue, or would the best to ever play his position have a resurgence?
He played the second half like it was the Atlanta Falcons in the Super Bowl, he hit all his marks and his receivers and runners had a field day working under his leadership. The Buccaneers turned the Panthers into little more than roadkill, ending the game with twice as many points as their overmatched competition, 46-23.
Now, I ask you again, have you ever spent the final days with a loved one ending their days on earth?
Have they had that late rally when everyone seems to think they are improved, even almost back to their old selves? And doesn’t that happen just hours before eight of their best friends are carrying them by the handles?
Is it premature to bury Brady?
The man is 43 years old, playing a game dominated by kids that are bigger and faster than him who are looking to pile drive him into retirement.
Okay, I may be premature to write his obituary, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to bet on him backing up his second half performance in Carolina with another big effort against a stellar Rams defense.
Not going to do that, but am also not looking to buck him in the first game he has played in his home stadium since that 38-3 whipping he suffered against the Saints.
Just remember this, I told you so. I just don’t know what I’m telling you.