It's only been two weeks, but it's safe to say that the Bakery is officially open in Tampa Bay.
Baker Mayfield has quieted the doubters with how he's played in his first two games with the Buccaneers, and all signs point toward him continuing to rise up. He was a lightning rod for trolls when he signed in Tampa Bay back in March and he's only attracted more and more attention as he's moved further and further away from the guy everyone assumed he'd be this season.
There's a lot of road left, but right now Baker is driving the Bucs out of the darkness and toward the playoffs.
Tampa Bay is 2-0 after convincing wins over the Minnesota Vikings (meh) and the Chicago Bears (lol). It's not exactly a world-beating gauntlet but good teams are supposed to beat the bad ones which is the first big step the Bucs have taken this season toward proving everyone wrong.
Baker is in the driver's seat, and it's time to start seriously putting some respect on his name.
Baker Mayfield MVP odds heading into Week 3
Okay, maybe not that much respect. To be fair, Baker's MVP odds have moved up slightly since the start of the season, but he has a looooooooong way to go before he's seriously considered.
It's worth mentioning that he's PFF's third-highest graded quarterback through the first few games of the season. Right now Baker is holding court with Patrick Mahomes when it comes to overall offensive rating.
PFF has Mahomes graded 83.0, with Mayfield on his heels with a 82.6 grade.
That's not a clear indication that he's going to usurp the reigning MVP, but it's delicious to see him alongside Mahomes in the face of all the criticism he recieved this offseason.
Best Baker Mayfield futures bet to make before it's too late
There is one bet that Bucs fans might want to sprinkle some action on and truly invest in Baker this season. As much good will as he's earned so far, your money has more chance of multiplying if you drop it into the sewer than if you place an MVP bet.
A much better bet is Baker Mayfield to win Comeback Player of the Year. Heading into Week 3 his odds are still high enough that the return would be worth it, and there's a chance they continue to move toward even money if he keeps playing the way he is.
Much like all NFL Awards, this one is all about narrative. What a story it would be if the former No. 1 overall pick who is on his fourth team in a two seasons mounts a comeback campaign. Not only that, but Baker would be leading the Buccaneers -- a team that has been dead and buried in the eyes of pundits since the moment Tom Brady retired -- to glory.
The Bucs don't even need to win the Super Bowl for his season in Tampa Bay to be deemed the best of his career. Adversity is the name of the game and right now Baker is winning, and the better he and the Bucs look the greater his chances are of getting recongized at the end of the season.
Not for nothing, but it would mark back-to-back years that Dave Canales went full Tarantino and revived the career of someone who once showed so much promise. He did it with Geno Smith in Seattle last season and through two weeks appears to be on a similar track with Baker.
This upcoming stretch for the Bucs presents a true Sliding Doors moment, with games against Philadelphia, Detroit, New Orleans, Atlanta, and Buffalo on the schedule. How Baker and company navigate those choppy waters will be telling but if he's able to stay the course then we are very seriously in Comeback Player of the Year territory.