The 2021 NFL Season is upon us and the Music City Drive In has you covered. We’ll be previewing all 32 teams, as well as our picks for award winners and playoff participants each day through Monday, September 6. Check back daily at 4 p.m. EST for each new piece in our preview series.
The defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers are trying to be the first NFC team to go to back to back Super Bowls since the Seahawks in 2014-15, but they are also trying to be the first team since Brady’s 2004-05 Patriots teams to win back-to-back Super Bowls. The road to get there will not be easy at all.
When Tom Brady entered the scene, expectations were high, but after back-to-back losses dropping the team to 7-5, everyone had basically written off the team. Then, four straight wins to end the season, the Bucs were still written off by everyone because they would have to go on the road and win three straight to reach the Super Bowl, and well, the rest is history.
The big question is can they repeat?
The Bucs bring back a lot of the pieces that helped propel them to a championship. After Brady cut back his salary, it opened up $19 million for the team to bring back Chris Godwin (franchise tag), Lavonte David, Shaq Barrett and brought back Gronk on a one-year deal. All 22 starters from the Super Bowl team are back. I like the addition of Giovani Bernard and the addition of the speedster of Jaelon Darden.
Brady is in at an ADP of 52nd overall (9th QB), and honestly, that is a solid little slot for him. Brady finished the season with 4633 yards and 40 touchdowns with a shorten off-season with a new team. I will say that I would not be surprised that a full off-season and the entire crew coming back, Brady has a chance to be a top-five quarterback with a full bill of health. Age is always in question. Will this be the year he finally falls off? Who knows at this rate, but I am buying into him for another year, especially if you wait in the first couple of rounds at the QB position.
The running back position for this team is as murky as ever. Fournette was an afterthought during the season and broke out during the postseason. Ronald Jones had an up and down season fantasy-wise but remains a factor, and of course, the addition of Giovani throws a wrench into the pass-catching plans for the team. The ADPs for each of the guys are Fournette (29th RB), Jones (33rd), and Bernard (53rd).
Of the three, I do like Bernard’s value the best. If he can carve out the James White role in this offense, we could ee an easy 60 catch season out of him, and that would make his ADP of 53 extremely beautiful. I really don’t have a whole lot of interest in this backfield otherwise.
The rest of the weapons also is a cause of concern, but we know that Brady is more than capable of spreading the ball around. In addition, we have three guys with ADPs within the top 50, with Evans (14th WR), Godwin (18th), and Brown (45th).
It took a little while for Brown to get acclimated to being the #3, and when he did, he started to thrive. He was consistent, scoring double-digit fantasy points in four out of the last five games on the season, including four touchdowns. Any potential injury could propel Brown into that #2 role, and I see him thriving in his current ADP.
I am not interested in Godwin, but I think he has massive upside potential if he plays an entire season. He missed two games in 2019 and four games in 2020, full seasons in both. He would easily be a WR1 caliber player. However, I like other players like Robert Woods and Adam Thielen at his current ADP, making me want to fade Godwin.
Finally, with Evans, he is lights out year in and year out with consistency. We saw him grab double-digit touchdowns for the first time since 2016 with Brady in at QB, and he continues his string of now seven straight thousand-yard seasons. Evans, for me, is the guy to own in this receiving core and has easily 12-1300 yard potential with another season of double-digit touchdowns forthcoming.
Here we are, another position, another puzzle we are left to figure out. Brate, Gronk, and the return of OJ Howard, and honestly, I will make this short and sweet for those of you reading. I want none of these guys on my roster—the end.
Barring a Brady injury, the Buccaneers should unseat the three-time reigning NFC South Champs, the Saints and win the South. The Saints and the Falcons took steps back this off-season and the Panthers are re-tooling, and with the Bucs returning the entire roster, I could see them easily winning this division by a couple of games.