The marquee storyline and loudest noise reverberating from Week 4 of the NFL Season will most certainly be Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers visiting his old team, the New England Patriots in Foxboro.
The Bucs are coming off of a tough 34-24 road loss against the Los Angeles Rams while the Patriots fell at home last week to the New Orleans Saints, 28-13. Last week was New England rookie quarterback Mac Jones’ worst game as a pro as he threw his first three interceptions of the season. One of those was an early third quarter pick six that basically put the game out of reach.
The focus on Sunday night for the media and most of the public at large will be the narrative of Brady returning to take on his former Head Coach Bill Belichick for the first time since leaving New England after the 2019 season. So many of the industry talkers on television and radio are making it seem like the only people in the stadium competing will be Tampa Bay’s QB and the guy on the other sideline that coached him for 20 years.
All of that should be background noise drowned out by the Bucs this week and going forward. There’s a job to be done and a message to be sent to the rest of the league. One loss, and so many outside of the Tampa Bay fan base think that their reign as champions is certain to end this year.
Could the Bucs be complacent after winning it all in 2020? Will injuries be Tampa Bay’s ultimate downfall in 2021? Has a consistent formula for beating the Champs been found after only 3 games?
All of those questions and probably more have been swirling around since last week’s defeat. They’re actually valid ones regardless of who is asking. Yet, it will take more than just one game to answer them.
This, however, is simply Week 4. The Buccaneers have a great chance to start answering some of those queries by beating a Patriots team they frankly shouldn’t have any trouble with. A convincing win would quiet some of the naysayers and get things back on track towards the ultimate goal of winning another Lombardi Trophy.
The often fabricated mountains made out of the smallest benign molehills will follow Tampa Bay all season. All the Bucs have to do is ignore the distractions and focus on getting better week by week, compiling victories as they do. If the team accomplishes this, they should be standing on top of the real NFL mountain again when all is said and done.