Buccaneers: Will Tom Brady Play Vs. Falcons In Week 18?

Buccaneers: Will Tom Brady Play Vs. Falcons In Week 18?

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers plan to play Tom Brady and the rest of their starters vs. the Atlanta Falcons in Week 18.

Despite having already locked up the No. 4 seed and a second consecutive NFC South crown, Tom Brady and the rest of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers starters will play vs. the Atlanta Falcons in Week 18.

While this might be a controversial move to trot out there a 45-year-old quarterback in a meaningless regular-season game, Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles does not see it that way.

“We can get better at a lot of things, so right now, we plan on playing him,” said Bowles to ESPN’s Jenna Laine about Brady’s status for the Falcons game on Sunday. “We’ll see how the week goes going forward, but we can get better at a lot of things that we need to work on, and we don’t need our foot off the gas.”

At 8-8, Tampa Bay has a great opportunity to finish the regular season with a winning record and even more positive momentum heading into the NFC Wild Card round. Keep in mind that this is a division game and against an opponent Brady has historically owned. The Falcons have played the Buccaneers well in recent meetings, but the Dirty Birds have never beaten Brady in a game before.

With this potentially being Brady’s last year in the NFL, Tampa Bay cannot afford to take its foot off the gas.

Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers starters expected to play vs. Atlanta Falcons

No doubt about it, injuries have largely contributed to the Buccaneers’ underwhelming division title. They are fortunate to play in arguably the weakest division in football, as well as having The GOAT as their franchise quarterback. Atlanta carried so much dead cap, the Carolina Panthers fired their former head coach and the New Orleans Saints lost Sean Payton in his offseason retirement.

Regardless, Tampa Bay is technically one of 14 teams that has a shot at winning the Super Bowl. Under-seeded teams have hoisted the Lombardi Trophy on multiple occasions. Heck, the 2020 Buccaneers did not even win the NFC South that season, the Saints did. In two weeks, it will be a new season and the Buccaneers will have a home game vs. the best wild card team from the NFC.

As far as Atlanta is concerned, the Falcons want to carry positive momentum into the new year. Their rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder has played better each week since taking over for Marcus Mariota last month. While he has yet to throw for a touchdown, he has not thrown a pick either. He also won his first game as an NFL starter vs. the Arizona Cardinals at home last Sunday.

Ultimately, the Buccaneers starters need to play, at least initially, to avoid being rusty heading into their NFC Wild Card game vs. a worthy adversary. The Brady era of Tampa Bay football cannot go out with a dud. Although losing at home in two weeks would not be the end of the world, the Buccaneers must play a competitive style of football every Saturday or Sunday the rest of the way.

Even if Brady starts, expect to see Blaine Gabbert get plenty of running vs. the Dirty Birds as well.