By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — People love to argue, and it can be difficult to compare two different people doing two different things at two different times in this godforsaken universe of ours, so the debate about Tom Brady being the greatest quarterback to ever live won’t ever be unanimous. (Also, people tend to be dumb. That’s a big factor.)
Yet while people can fight about that all they want, there is simply no arguing against the fact that Tom Brady is the most accomplished quarterback to ever play the sport. His six Super Bowl titles, and his 229 regular-season wins and his 30 playoff wins say all that need to be said on that front.
He also has the chance this week to pull perhaps the silliest of silly accomplishments known to man. If his Bucs can beat the Falcons on Sunday, and if the Saints lose in Carolina (that’s a big if, admittedly), then Brady will finish the year at least in a tie for first place in his division for every single one of his full seasons as a starter. When the Patriots missed the playoffs in 2002, it was via tiebreaker in a three-way tie atop the AFC East. In all 17 of his other seasons as starter, he was a division champion.
Obviously, that “streak” (which I just now invented) probably comes to an end this year, but the point is this: Tom Brady is accomplished, man. More than anybody ever.
But if there’s one area where Tom Brady has been an abject failure, a complete and total loser, a bumbling bozo, a real BLOCKHEAD, it’s been in playoff games against the New York (football) Giants.
Brady is 0-2 when facing the Giants in the postseason. Winless! A true bum!
Now of course, it’s a small sample size. But it’s nevertheless a rather significant sample size, because, you know, they were Super Bowls.
In a somewhat humorous development, the Giants are the only team that Brady has faced in the playoffs without beating. His remaining nine postseason losses — three to Denver, two to Baltimore, and one apiece to Indy, Philadelphia, Tennessee, and the Jets — have all come against teams he has beaten in the postseason. (Side note: Tom Brady is 30-11 in the playoffs. LOL! Joe Montana, the former GOAT himself, was 16-7. Terry Bradshaw was 14-5. John Elway was 14-7. Peyton Manning was 14-13, which … Yikes!! Big Ben? 13-8. Tom is 30-11. Hilarious.)
Long story short: The world’s most successful quarterback’s lone failure has come in the playoffs against the New York Giants.
But he may get to slay that beast this year. With the key word being may.
For this to happen, it’s really quite simple. The Giants need to beat the Cowboys on Sunday afternoon, and the Eagles have to beat the Washington Football Team of Washington on Sunday night. If those two things happen, and if the Bucs take care of business against the Falcons, then we’ll all be gifted a wild-card round meeting that looks like this:
The 11-5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers visiting the 6-10 New York Giants
Folks, it would be a beautiful thing.
And though it seems like a mismatch on paper, the Bucs had a whole lot of trouble dealing with that Giants team at MetLife Stadium in early November. Despite the Giants being a very sad 1-6 heading into that game, they held a 14-6 lead in the second quarter and took a 17-15 lead in the waning moments of the third quarter. Brady had an excellent passer rating (106.1) but his overall performance was mostly mediocre.
So a Bucs win in northern New Jersey? Not a sure thing. Not at all.
And while all Tom Brady games are ratings gold (his one-half decimation of the Lions on Saturday was a hit!), adding that Giant intrigue could make for some must-watch television for every football fan in this beautiful world.
I hope it happens.
But first — PICKS.
(Home team in CAPS; Thursday lines)
I actually climbed back over .500 on the season last week after the 1 p.m. games, but I face-planted in the afternoon and prime-time games to drop to 117-120-3 on the year. Good gravy.
Now we’ve got Patrick Mahomes sitting out, 9 million different playoff scenarios, COVID in Cleveland and Miami, Kyler Murray on a bum leg, a ridiculous end to an embarrassing NFC East season, and all of the other uncertainty of a Week 17 slate of games. I’m sure I’ll do great.
Fortunately, due to my oath of silence, I don’t have to say anything about any of the games. So if I end up being more right than wrong, I’m a genius. If the opposite happens … SEE YOU IN THE PLAYOFFS, BABY!
BUFFALO (-3) over Miami
Baltimore (-13) over CINCINNATI
Pittsburgh (+9) over CLEVELAND
Minnesota (-6.5) over DETROIT
New York Jets (+3) over NEW ENGLAND
NEW YORK GIANTS (+2) over Dallas
TAMPA BAY (-6.5) over Atlanta
Green Bay (-5.5) over CHICAGO
DENVER (+2.5) over Las Vegas
Jacksonville (+14) over INDIANAPOLIS
KANSAS CITY (+3.5) over L.A. Chargers
L.A. RAMS (+3) over Arizona
Seattle (-5.5) over SAN FRANCISCO
New Orleans (-7) over CAROLINA
Tennessee (-7.5) over HOUSTON
Philadelphia (+2) over WASHINGTON
Last week: 7-9