By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Tom Brady is leaving the Patriots, giving New England football fans even more football to pay attention to in 2020.READ MORE: Boston Marathon Favorite Spencer The Dog Undergoes Surgery
Maybe that’s a far too positive way to look at the situation, but New Englanders will no doubt be interested to see what Brady does with the Buccaneers. That’s just human nature. And if you really need an excuse to watch more football in 2020, the quarterback has some pretty sweet matchups coming his way as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
It doesn’t include a return trip to New England, but fans won’t have to wait too long for that to occur (more on that in a bit). And given whomst Brady will square off against in 2020, there are plenty of great matchups to hold us over until TB wears a new TB12 in Gillette Stadium.
The NFL schedule won’t be released for a few more months, but we already know Brady’s opponents for the upcoming season (you know, assuming there is an upcoming season). And if you like head-to-head matchups between great quarterbacks, there are a couple of doozies for you:
vs. Atlanta Falcons
vs. Carolina Panthers
vs. New Orleans Saints
vs. Green Bay Packers
vs. Minnesota Vikings
vs. Kansas City Chiefs
vs. L.A. Chargers
vs. L.A. Rams
at Atlanta Falcons
at Carolina Panthers
at Chicago Bears
at Denver Broncos
at Detroit Lions
at New Orleans Saints
at New York Giants
at Las Vegas Raiders
With Brady now in the NFC South, he gets two matchups against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints this season. Their collective age will be 84 when they take the field, which will simultaneously make everyone feel a little it younger while also realizing how old we’re getting.
The two future Hall of Famers had their first head-to-head matchup wayyyyyyyy back in 1999 when Brady was a Michigan Man and Brees was a Boilermaker. They’ve met five times during their NFL careers, with Brees owning a 3-2 edge over Brady, though Brady has won the last two.
While their previous meetings were mostly mid-season treats for NFL fans, their two showdowns in 2020 could decide the NFC South.READ MORE: MBTA Making Service Cuts Due To Bus Driver Shortage
Brady will also square off against Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons twice, giving everyone a few excuses to look back at the Patriots’ amazing comeback in Super Bowl LI. He’ll also meet up with the new Carolina law firm of Bridgewater & McCaffrey on two different occasions.
Outside of his new division, Brady’s matchups are even more intriguing.
We’ll be treated to another Brady vs. Rodgers showdown with the Packers visiting Tampa Bay. This will mark just the third time the quarterback titans will face off, with each of them leading their teams to a victory in the previous two meetings. This rubber match is destined for national TV.
But perhaps the most intriguing showdown of them all will come when the defending Super Bowl champions visit Raymond James Stadium. In what had to be seen as just another game last week could now be one of the games of the year.
Brady is 2-1 in his matchups against Patrick Mahomes, and Patriots fans will argue that record should be 3-0 if it wasn’t for some officiating tomfoolery at Gillette Stadium last season. That will just add to Bradys motivation to beat the dynamic young QB and the reigning Super Bowl champs.
The best head-to-head QB matchup will come when Brady matches up against Kirk Cous…. sorry. We almost made it through that one. If it’s a 1p.m. kickoff, Brady’s matchups with Cousins and the Vikings will probably be pretty good. If it’s any later, well at least we’ll probably see some quality QB play from Brady.
The Bucs will also host both L.A. teams, giving Brady a chance to play the team that couldn’t sign him this offseason — the Chargers — and the team that he beat in the Super Bowl two years ago — the Rams. He also gets to visit Vegas to face Jon Gruden and the Raiders, which will no doubt lead to some discussion about a snowy game in Foxboro two decades ago.
Brady will also square off against former Patriots special teams coach Joe Judge — and now, Nate Ebner — in New Jersey with a visit to the New York Giants. He gets to face Matt Patricia and a bunch of guys he used to practice against (including Trey Flowers, Jamie Collins, Duron Harmon and Danny Shelton) when the Bucs visit Detroit.MORE NEWS: 2 Men Hospitalized After Shooting Outside Worcester Bar
And not that we’re looking too far ahead, but the Buccaneers make a trip to New England in 2021. No matter what the two teams look like in 2020, we’re going to go ahead and pencil that one in for national TV.