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After Super Bowl LI, it’s the Buccaneers’ turn

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons somehow managed to blow a 25-point against the New England Patriots. I have no clue how they managed to do that. It was as impressive a display of incompetent implosion as I’ve seen in quite some time. It was also one exciting Super Bowl, which is apparently what you always get when the Patriots get the chance to win the Lombardi Trophy.

Matt Ryan put up a terrific performance, and the Falcons defense was surprisingly dominant until the fourth quarter. But they couldn’t keep Brady and company contained forever, and Kyle Shanahan somehow could not drain enough time off the clock to preserve a 25-point(!) lead.

The Falcons’ loss marks the second year in a row that the Super Bowl loser is an NFC South team. Last year, the Carolina Panthers couldn’t make a dent in the Denver Broncos defense and went down in Cam Newton’s first Super Bowl bid.

Drew Brees already has a Super Bowl ring, from way back in 2010 when the New Orleans Saints beat the Indianapolis Colts, in part because of a clever onside kick that seems to have been mostly forgotten. So it’s not his time: that NFC South team has had its day, and there’s no reason to believe they’ll be able to turn that defense around, ever, given recent performances.

No, it should be Jameis Winston’s time now. The Bucs took some massive strides last year, and looked like a very tough team late in the season, especially with the way their defense was playing. Winston still struggled a little, but he’s coming along as a future franchise quarterback. And Mike Evans will help him along in that department, too.

Hopefully, Winston won’t follow in Newton’s and Ryan’s footsteps, though. Getting to a Super Bowl is nice. Winning it is a whole lot nicer. I’m not sure that’s a realistic goal for next season, but it’s certainly going to be what they’ll aim for. Shoot for the moon, and land on the moon.