We’re hitting the dog days of summer, which means the NFL season—barring major developments with the ongoing global pandemic—isn’t too far off (we’re really going to try for this, aren’t we?).
We’re about a month and a half away from when training camps typically begin and two and a half(ish) months away from the scheduled start of the 2020 regular season. With that, predictions are flying in from everywhere. Last weekend, we broke down the game-by-game predictions for the Buccaneers that NFL Network’s Adam Rank put together.
And now, we’re back with another Bucs-related prediction from the national level. NFL.com’s Dan Hanzus predicted the 2020 MVP for all 32 teams in the league. Honestly, his pick for Tampa Bay’s MVP isn’t a shocker by any stretch. He went with the G.O.A.T., otherwise known as Tom Brady.
The Bucs are a popular playoff pick for many right now, given that they’ve added Brady and Rob Gronkowski—plus a draft class full of potential—to an already-talented roster. But let’s be honest. Would this team be getting the same amount of love (to the tune of five prime-time games) if not for the signing of Brady? Of course not.
Projecting Brady as the MVP of the team this fall isn’t the boldest prediction, but it’s interesting nonetheless—especially when you look at the amount of talent around him on both sides of the ball. Here’s what Hanzus had to say about his pick:
“I will readily admit I’ve been consumed by the hype. We have significant circumstantial evidence, from both last season and the season before, that Brady — set to turn 43 in about six weeks — is in the midst of a gradual and irreversible decline. And yet ... and yet! ... I can’t help but buy into the setup in Tampa. A vastly improved supporting cast (including Gronk!), a proven offensive mind and veteran QB whisperer in head coach Bruce Arians, and yes, that impossible-to-measure competitive fire that rages inside the old man. They can spin it along Patriot Place all they please, but Tom Brady was booted out of town. Even if I’m wrong (I’m not), you know Brady’s mindset is tuned that way. Bill doesn’t think he needs me. Bill believes he already got the best of me. Bill thinks he’s better off with ... JARRETT STIDHAM. I must destroy everything and everyone.”
Brady’s age seems to be the biggest question mark for anyone doubting his ability to get this franchise back in the playoffs for the first time since 2007. Granted, he hasn’t had a normal offseason to get acclimated to the offense and his teammates, but he’s taking matters into his own hands these days and it doesn’t seem like there’ll be much issue there.
It’s not hard to see Brady having a massive season with the amount of exciting weapons he has around them. Having Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski, O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate to throw to should lessen the pressure on Brady to prove that his age isn’t a problem. Not to mention, the likes of Tyler Johnson, Scotty Miller and Justin Watson have the potential to provide some solid depth at the receiver position as well. Add in Ronald Jones II and rookie Ke’Shawn Vaughn out of the backfield and you can easily see why Tampa Bay is getting so much hype these days.
While I won’t argue with the prediction of Brady being the team’s most valuable player this year, I will throw out some other guys who certainly have a shot at earning that title over him. On the offense, Evans and Godwin are obvious choices, while Jones could prove to be a dark horse candidate. Defensively, you’ve got to like the chances of Lavonte David, Devin White, Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul to prove themselves as the team’s MVP. And perhaps someone from that young secondary—maybe Jamel Dean—could find himself in the conversation as well.
Regardless, it’s still pretty surreal to look at a predictions list like this and see Tom Brady’s name next to the Buccaneers logo. Will that ever feel more real? Maybe once he takes the field in pewter and red. We’ll see.
Is Brady your predictive team MVP in 2020, Bucs Nation? Who else’s odds are you liking to beat him out for the title? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.