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NFC Playoff Mix Contains Both Brady and Rodgers

Written by:
Don Shapiro
Published on:
Nov/16/2022

The deaths of the careers of Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers have been unfounded.

Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were so bad lately, they were trailing the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC South. They’d been routed by the Carolina Panthers and “Who’s he?” quarterback P.J. Walker. Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers lost five games in a row, including one to the sad-sack Detroit Lions in which Rodgers threw a pair of interceptions in the end zone.

With last season being the first conference title showdown without Brady and/or Rodgers since 2009, this was looking as the first season both finished below .500 since… ever. Remember, a Brady-led team has never finished below .500, Rodgers finished with a losing record just twice.

At least this past week, the two future Hall of Famers proved they can still get it done. 

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Brady’s International Incident

Just because Tom Brady needs even more on the resume, he is now the first quarterback in NFL history to record regular-season wins in four different countries. He’s now 4-0 in games played outside the United States.

This past Sunday, in the NFL’s first-ever game in Germany. Brady and the Bucs did not disappoint. Facing the NFC West-leading Seahawks, Brady completed 22-of-29 passes (258 yards, two touchdowns), combining with a lethal ground game as Tampa Bay never trailed in its 21-16 victory.

Brady and the Bucs have now won their last two (Rams and Seahawks), taking their record back to .500 at 5-5. They’re in first place in the NFC South, and in line to host a playoff game.

If you think Brady and the Bucs are on to something, they are priced at +750 to win the NFC, according to NFL conference odds. 

Rodgers Owns the Cowboys 

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers claims “ownership” of a number of teams, starting with his declaration in Soldier Field that he owns the Chicago Bears. He’s not incorrect. Rodgers also owns the Cowboys, improving to 8-2 versus Dallas, in spite of the Packers’ inability to generate any sort of offense against the Cowboys’ stellar defense.

Those two narratives were flipped on their heads Sunday at Lambeau Field, as the Packers used three Rodgers-to-Christian Watson touchdowns–including two in the final quarter–to send the game into overtime. 

Prior to Sunday, the Cowboys were 195-0 when leading by at least 14 points in the fourth quarter. That’s with defenses that weren’t nearly as good as this season’s version. Now, they are 195-1, and of more importance in 2022; they’ve dropped to third in the NFC East.

Rodgers and the Packers are still well behind the Minnesota Vikings. Winning the NFC North is nothing more than a longshot at this point. However, the San Francisco 49ers are the current seventh seed in the NFC playoff picture, and just one win ahead of the Packers.  

AFC Playoff Picture Reshuffles 

We don’t mean to overreact to the Buffalo Bills’ 33-30 home overtime loss to the Minnesota Vikings Sunday. Justin Jefferson channeled every great wide receiver in history, taking over the game. Then, the Bills channeled the Miracle at the Meadowlands, when the New York Giants were a kneel-down away from beating the Philadelphia Eagles (instead, they fumbled to cornerback Herman Edwards, who ran it to paydirt in the closing seconds).

Quarterback Josh Allen will never fumble the snap in the end zone to lose again. However, it happened. That, and with his two interceptions, meant the Bills lost again. They are one of the best teams in the league, and that doesn’t change. 

Buffalo has remained favored to win the title, priced at 4-1, or +400, as per Super Bowl odds.

What has changed dramatically is their current road to the Super Bowl. Buffalo’s loss, coupled with Miami’s win, put the Dolphins in first place in the AFC East, the idle New York Jets into second place. Buffalo fell out of the top seed in the AFC to No. 6, and that would mean an entire playoffs spent on the road.

The Kansas City Chiefs are now No. 1, the Dolphins are No. 2, the Tennessee Titans at No. 3 and the Baltimore Ravens are fourth. Then, the three potential wild-card teams in the Jets, Bills and New England Patriots.

Buffalo still plays everyone in their division at least once, so they control what happens there. However, in order to catch the Chiefs, they will need some help. 

- Don Shapiro, Gambling911.com

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