Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Washington Football Team: Storylines, prediction for 2020 playoff rematch

Week 10's Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Washington Football Team game is a rematch of a 2020 playoff matchup. Can Tom Brady keep up his MVP march?

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Washington Football Team isn’t the sexiest matchup in Week 10 of the 2021 NFL season — but it was supposed to be. It turns out that no matter how talented a defense may be, consistency is incredibly hard to achieve. Meanwhile, Washington’s offense will be searching for a repeat performance of last season’s Wild Card showing against Tampa Bay.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Washington Football Team storylines

There is no shortage of topics to discuss when it comes to this game. 44-year-old Tom Brady is the MVP favorite, and the Washington defense isn’t the unit we expected to see.

Tom Brady is MVP favorite now

At age 44, Brady should be selling facial cream and making cameos in every New England-themed movie being produced. Instead, he’s not just hanging on in the NFL — he’s dominating.

The traditional statistics love him. He’s thrown 25 touchdowns to only 5 interceptions, and he’s second in passing yards behind only Matthew Stafford, who has played one more game. And the advanced metrics like Brady a lot as well. He’s top 10 in nearly every efficiency metric you can find. Sure, he has receivers that make plays for him, and with the upcoming return of Rob Gronkowski, Brady should only get stronger.

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Brady is flourishing in an outstanding situation. As we know, the MVP award doesn’t actually go to the most valuable player in the league, but the one with the best statistical output on a great team.

Brady is primed for the award, particularly because Tampa Bay’s schedule offers lackluster competition. He should continue his reign of offensive terror. The only thing that hurts his cause is his own sustained greatness. Brady fatigue is real. But if we know one thing about Brady, it’s that he’s a winner.

The Washington defense is an abomination

There is absolutely no excuse for how bad Washinton’s defense has been. Sure, the linebacker play has been pretty foul. Yes, the defensive line isn’t performing up to the standard we set for them. And I understand that losing Montez Sweat and William Jackson hurts.

But this defense was terrible even before injuries set in. That’s pathetic. This isn’t a case where a very talented defense slightly underperforms.

By advanced efficiency metrics, WFT’s defense is worse than every unit in the NFL aside from the Lions. Yes, that includes the Jets, Jaguars, Texans, and Falcons.

Four of their next five games are against the Buccaneers, Seahawks (with Russell Wilson), Raiders, and Cowboys. The only way defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio survives this is if the Football Team dominates down the stretch. But we haven’t seen them do anything close to that yet.

The 2020 playoff rematch

This may seem inconsequential, but is there a chance Washington has been searching for Taylor Heinicke to reproduce his playoff performance against the Buccaneers? The return timeline for Ryan Fitzpatrick seems grim, and Heinicke offers close to nothing to this point. Has WFT stuck with him for this long because he played above his potential one time before anybody in the league really knew what to expect from him?

I wouldn’t expect backup QB Kyle Allen to be much better. But he would be different. He wouldn’t represent the Football Team bashing their heads against the wall, hoping not to crack their skull.

Tampa Bay vs. Washington betting line and game prediction

The Buccaneers are 10-point favorites in this road matchup, and everything we’ve seen from both teams this season suggests this should be a two-possession game. However, the past 14 days in the NFL have been anything but expected, so I’m not betting on expected results in this game.

I think — by some stroke of luck for Washington — the Buccaneers struggle offensively this week. The Football Team hangs on to lose a close game but wins in the eyes of Las Vegas.

Buccaneers vs. Football Team Prediction: Buccaneers 23, Football Team 17

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