Oct 31, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA;  Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) looks to pass the ball against New Orleans Saints during the second half at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Idle Tom Brady pulls even with Josh Allen in MVP race

Tom Brady came out of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Week 9 bye as the co-MVP favorite after his closest competitors endured a damaging week.

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen was the +250 favorite last week, but he turned the ball over three times while leading the offense to only six points in a stunning loss at Jacksonville. His odds lengthened to +350 at BetMGM and DraftKings, as Allen and Brady are now the co-favorites at both sportsbooks.

Brady is also leading the way with 22 percent of the money at DraftKings backing him to win his fourth MVP award.

Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray is +500 at BetMGM and +750 at DraftKings after sitting out the Cardinals’ rout of the San Francisco 49ers due to an ankle injury. Matthew Stafford (+750, +800) saw his odds lengthen following the Rams’ lopsided home loss to the Tennessee Titans.

Dak Prescott’s odds also took a hit — from +700 to +900 at BetMGM and from +650 to +1200 at DraftKings — after the Dallas Cowboys had to rally late to avoid a shutout during a loss to the Denver Broncos.

Aaron Rodgers wasn’t even on the field for the Green Bay Packers’ loss to the Kansas City Chiefs after testing positive for COVID-19. Combined with the fallout from his explanation for not being vaccinated, and Rodgers’ MVP odds also slipped to +900 and +1200, respectively.

However, Rodgers, the reigning MVP, continues to be the most-backed candidate at DraftKings with 17 percent of the bets since the market opened. He’s also responsible for 10 percent of the money wagered at the book.

Another quarterback on the rise this week also hasn’t taken a snap in weeks. The news that Russell Wilson has been medically cleared to return for the Seattle Seahawks’ Week 10 game at Green Bay resulted in his MVP odds shortening from +25000 to +10000 at DraftKings.

Cincinnati wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase remains the -140 favorite to win Offensive Rookie of the Year honors, with New England quarterback Mac Jones (+350) his closest competitor.

Dallas linebacker Micah Parsons is coming off a 2.5-sack performance against Denver. He also has 21 tackles, including 7.0 for losses, in his past two games, resulting in his Defensive Rookie of the Year odds shortening from +600 to -120.

Parson has overtaken Broncos cornerback Patrick Surtain II, who moved from +500 last week to +1000 along with Giants linebacker Azeez Ojulari and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jayson Oweh.

–Field Level Media

Oct 31, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) drops back to pass against the Miami Dolphins during the second half at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Bills QB Josh Allen’s MVP odds continue to strengthen

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen has put a little more distance between himself and his closest competition for NFL MVP honors.

Allen is now the +250 favorite at several sportsbooks. At BetMGM, the next shortest odds belong to fellow quarterbacks Tom Brady (+400), Kyler Murray (+500) and Matthew Stafford (+600).

The trio are each being offered at +600 at DraftKings.

The Bills hold a 1 1/2-game lead in the AFC East over the New England Patriots, with Allen leading the way 17 touchdowns against only three interceptions while throwing for 1,972 yards. That includes 249 yards with a pair of touchdowns and no picks in Buffalo’s thrashing of Miami last Sunday.

Meanwhile, Brady and Murray are coming off losses — the second of the season for Tampa Bay and the first for Murray’s Arizona Cardinals. Brady still leads the way at DraftKings with 17 percent of the MVP handle backing the Buccaneers’ quarterback, while Stafford is now second with 13 percent, ahead of Allen and Murray at 11 percent each.

Reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers opened the season at +1200 and has seen his odds steadily shorten to +800 this week with Green Bay riding a seven-game winning streak. He has been backed by 17 percent of the total bets at DraftKings, well ahead of Allen at 11 percent and Brady and Stafford at 10 percent each.

Dallas’ Dak Prescott still has shorter odds both books — +650 at DraftKings and +700 at BetMGM — despite missing last week’s win over Minnesota.

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry remains +4000 at DraftKings despite foot surgery that will sideline him until the playoffs, if not for the season. He has been taken off the MVP market at BetMGM, where the top non-quarterback now is Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp at +10000.

–Field Level Media

Oct 10, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA;  Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) gives thumbs up before the game against the Miami Dolphins at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Tom Brady (thumb) OK, Lavonte David (ankle) out Thursday

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is not expected to miss any time after injuring his right thumb in Sunday’s win against Miami, NFL Network reported Monday.

Linebacker Lavonte David, however, is reportedly expected to miss at least this Thursday night’s game with a low-ankle sprain suffered in the 45-17 victory over the Dolphins.

The defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers (4-1) visit the Philadelphia Eagles (2-3) for the Week 6 contest.

Brady, 44, hurt his thumb early in Sunday’s game but finished with 411 yards and five touchdown passes. It was the first time in his 22-year career that he passed for 400-plus yards with five TDs in the same game.

David, 31, injured his ankle in the first half and was ruled out for the second half. He has 34 tackles and one sack in five starts this season, his 10th year with the Buccaneers.

He is considered week-to-week.

–Field Level Media

Oct 3, 2021; Foxboro, MA, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) runs off the field after the win over the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady-Patriots matchup draws big TV ratings

Tom Brady’s television appeal knows few limits.

When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ quarterback returned to face his longtime team, the New England Patriots, on “Sunday Night Football,” the NBC telecast drew huge ratings.

The broadcast from Foxborough, Mass., posted a 34 share nationally, meaning 34 percent of all households watching TV at the time were tuned in to NBC. That’s the highest figure in the 16-year existence of “Sunday Night Football.”

Tampa Bay’s 19-17 win logged a 14.6 national rating, which means 14.6 percent of all TV households were watching.

Factoring in people watching the game on NBC, Peacock, NBC Sports Digital and NFL Digital platforms, the contest attracted around 28.5 million viewers, the second-highest figure ever for “Sunday Night Football.” The record was 30.3 million viewers for a regular-season-ending, Dallas Cowboys-Washington Redskins game on Dec. 30, 2012, that determined the NFC East champion.

The game drew enormous viewing numbers in New England and Florida. Providence posted the highest figures with a 45.1 rating and a 73 share. Boston (43.8/70) was second, followed by Tampa (27.1/51), Hartford (23.9/44), Cincinnati (21.2/40) and Jacksonville (20.9/39).

The online stream drew approximately 1.3 million viewers, the largest ever for an NBC broadcast of an NFL game.

Each of the first four “Sunday Night Football” telecasts this season has attracted at least 20 million viewers, the first time that has happened in six years.

–Field Level Media

Oct 3, 2021; Foxboro, MA, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) drops back to pass against the New England Patriots during the second half at Gillette Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Bucs edge Patriots on Tom Brady’s return to New England

Ryan Succop kicked four field goals, including a 48-yard field goal with 1:57 left, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers recorded a 19-17 victory over the New England Patriots on Sunday night in Tom Brady’s return to Foxborough, Mass.

Brady completed 22 of 43 passes for 269 yards and became the NFL’s all-time passing-yardage leader during his highly anticipated homecoming. He passed Drew Brees (80,358) and finished the game with 80,560 yards.

Nick Folk had a chance to put New England ahead, but his 56-yard field goal clanked off the left upright with 55 seconds remaining.

Rookie Mac Jones was 31-of-40 passing for 275 yards, two touchdowns and one interception for New England (1-3). Jones completed 19 consecutive passes at one point and tossed scoring passes to Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith.

Ronald Jones II rushed for a touchdown for Tampa Bay (3-1), which outgained New England 380 to 294.

Brady won six Super Bowls in 20 seasons with the Patriots before leaving for the Buccaneers prior to last season and then winning his seventh Super Bowl crown.

Brady moved ahead of Brees by one yard when he completed a 28-yard pass to Mike Evans with just over six minutes left in the first quarter.

Tampa Bay played without another former Patriots star in tight end Rob Gronkowski (ribs).

The Buccaneers took a 13-7 lead when Ronald Jones scored on an 8-yard run with 3:29 left in the third quarter.

Mac Jones responded by guiding a seven-play, 77-yard drive, capping it with a 1-yard scoring pass to Smith on the first play of the fourth quarter to put New England back ahead.

Brady then engineered a 15-play, 68-yard drive that took 6:59 but stalled inside the New England 10-yard line. Succop entered to kick a 27-yard field goal to give Tampa Bay a 16-14 edge with 7:58 remaining.

New England inched back ahead on its next possession. A trick play in which former high school quarterback Jakobi Myers completed a 30-yard pass to Nelson Agholor to the Buccaneers’ 9 set up Folk’s 27-yard field goal with 4:34 to play.

Brady guided the Buccaneers to a 29-yard field goal by Succop on his first possession. Tampa Bay didn’t score again until Succop booted a 44-yard field goal with 13 seconds left in the first half to cut Tampa Bay’s deficit to 7-6.

The Patriots scored on Mac Jones’ 11-yard scoring pass to Henry with 8:28 left in the half.

–Field Level Media

Feb 7, 2021; Tampa, FL, USA;  Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) and tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) celebrate after beating the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Belichick resists nostalgia as Tom Brady Week begins in New England

They won six Lombardi trophies together before Tom Brady split for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and claimed a seventh Super Bowl ring last season.

But Bill Belichick is not planning to dive into nostalgia as New England prepares for Brady to visit the Patriots for the first time on Sunday night.

Brady demanded and received a contract stipulation in his contract for the 2019 season that would prohibit the Patriots from using the franchise tag to retain their longtime quarterback. In his first full foray into free agency, Brady signed a two-year deal with the Buccaneers in March 2020 and called Tampa Bay a “better option” than others on the table. That included New England.

“I think we’ve been through all the dynamics of that,” Belichick said on Monday. “He looked at his options and made his decision. We weren’t as good an option as Tampa. … It wasn’t a question of not wanting him, that’s for sure.”

Belichick and the Patriots released statements at the time of Brady’s departure, and New England eventually signed Cam Newton to be the starting quarterback last season.

But the Patriots, and specifically Belichick, did not publicly discuss losing Brady or the dynamics behind his departure.

He stood that ground again Monday but will surely face similar questions in media sessions ahead of the Sunday night primetime affair with the 2-1 Buccaneers.

“I’m not gonna go back and rehash all that,” Belichick said. “We’ve talked about that.

“Our focus is on the game here. Look, I have so much respect and appreciation for Tom and everything he did here and for me and for our team,” Belichick continued. “We’re just getting ready to compete against Tampa this week, and we’re gonna keep our focus on that.

“We made a statement when Tom left, and that covered it,” Belichick said.

Tampa Bay’s roster also includes former Patriots Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown.

Gronkowski briefly left Sunday’s game with a rib injury but Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said the tight end, who returned following X-rays, is “fine.”

Brown did not play last week because he was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Arians said Brown should be back this week.

–Field Level Media

Sep 19, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) looks on against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady throws way toward top of MVP race

It only took one monster week for Tom Brady to insert his name back into the thick of the NFL MVP race.

Brady saw the gap between himself and Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes lengthen after the three-time MVP threw four touchdowns against a pair of interceptions in Tampa Bay’s Week 1 win over the Dallas Cowboys.

After following that up with five touchdowns without a pick in Sunday’s win over Atlanta, Brady now has 655 passing yards and nine touchdowns through two games.

The Buccaneers’ quarterback is now being offered at +550 at PointsBet, just behind Mahomes at +500. Brady was being offered at +1200 after Week 1 while Mahomes’ odds have lengthened a bit from +400.

The next-shortest odds at PointsBet belong to Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray (+750 from +1000). However, Murray is the current +550 favorite at BetMGM, followed by Mahomes (+600) and Brady (+700).

Matthew Stafford has the fourth-shortest odds at both sportsbooks: +1000 along with Seattle’s Russell Wilson at PointsBet and +1100 at BetMGM. Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers saw his odds improve to +1200 and +1300, respectively, following Monday night’s convincing win over Detroit.

Las Vegas’ 2-0 start has also resulted in Derek Carr’s MVP odds being slashed to +2000 at both sportsbooks.

Going the opposite direction after a lopsided loss to Carolina is New Orleans’ Jameis Winston, whose odds doubled from +2000 to +4000 at PointsBet while lengthening further to +5000 at BetMGM.

The top non-quarterback remains Tennessee running back Derrick Henry, who is being offered at +5000 at BetMGM and +10000 at PointsBet.

Notable adjustments in other award winner futures at PointsBet include:

Defensive Player of the Year
–Nick Bosa (49ers) +1200 to +800
–Aaron Donald (Rams)/Myles Garrett (Browns) +600 to +700

Offensive Rookie of the Year
–Trevor Lawrence (Jaguars) +375 to +500
–Zach Wilson (Jets) +800 to +2000
–Mac Jones (Patriots) +250 to +190
–Kyle Pitts (Falcons) +1200 to +650

–Field Level Media

Sep 19, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA;Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws the ball against the Atlanta Falcons  during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady fires 5 TDs as Buccaneers dispatch Falcons

Tom Brady tossed five touchdown passes Sunday and Mike Edwards returned two fourth quarter interceptions for scores to finalize the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 48-25 win over the Atlanta Falcons in Tampa, Fla.

Leading 28-25 as the fourth period started, the Buccaneers (2-0) pulled away as Brady hit Chris Godwin for a 12-yard touchdown with 9:18 left. Edwards picked off Matt Ryan less than 90 seconds later and lugged it 31 yards to make it 41-25. Edwards sealed the outcome with 4:01 remaining with a 15-yard interception return.

Brady completed 24 of 36 passes for 276 yards and has thrown for nine scores in the first two games. Ten different receivers caught at least one pass, with Mike Evans grabbing five for 75 yards after being limited to three by Dallas on Sept. 9.

Matt Ryan had a good game going for Atlanta (0-2) until the late interceptions. He finished 35 of 46 for 300 yards and two scores, but also tossed three picks. Calvin Ridley caught seven passes for 63 yards and a touchdown in the losing effort.

The Brady-Gronkowski pairing got Tampa Bay off to a 14-0 lead before the second quarter was a minute old. They capped the Buccaneers’ first possession with a 20-yard touchdown strike less than three minutes into the game, then finished their second scoring drive with a 1-yard pass 53 seconds into the second quarter.

Atlanta got on the board on its ensuing possession when Cordarrelle Patterson ripped off a 10-yard touchdown run with 11:48 left, but Brady made it 21-7 on a 3-yard scoring strike to Evans with 43 seconds left. Younghoe Koo made a 36-yard field goal as time expired to pull the Falcons within 21-10.

After Brady and Evans hooked up on a 1-yard touchdown just over two minutes into the third quarter, Atlanta made its move. Ryan found Ridley for a 3-yard scoring connection with 6:35 remaining, then hit Patterson on a 7-yard touchdown pass with 1:45 showing to make it a three-point game.

–Field Level Media

Dec 15, 2019; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) celebrates after throwing a second quarter touchdown against the Los Angeles Rams at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Forbes: Dak Prescott is NFL’s highest earner in 2021

Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott and Tampa Bay counterpart Tom Brady will square off in the NFL’s season opener Thursday night.

The Cowboys star already holds a sizable lead over the Buccaneers legend when it comes to their wallets, however.

According to Forbes magazine, Prescott is the league’s highest-earning player so far in 2021 with $87 million. Brady ranks No. 2 with $72.5 million, per the figures reported by the publication on Friday.

Prescott, 28, received a record $66 million signing bonus when he signed a four-year, $160 million deal with Dallas in March. His pretax earnings include $12 million from endorsements.

Brady, 44, has the bragging rights when it comes to endorsements. Coming off his seventh Super Bowl title, he has supplemented his $27.5 million in on-field earnings with $45 million in endorsement deals.

Seven of the top 10 spots in the Forbes rankings are quarterbacks.

Trailing Prescott and Brady are Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes ($44.8M), Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers ($33.4M), San Francisco offensive tackle Trent Williams ($33.3M), Washington defensive tackle Jonathan Allen ($31.2M), Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson ($31M), Jacksonville rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence ($30.8M), Detroit quarterback Jared Goff ($27.7M) and New York Giants defensive tackle Leonard Williams ($26.2M).

The top 10 NFL players are set to make $418 million in 2021, an increase of 9 percent from last year.

–Field Level Media

Jun 8, 2021; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) works out during mini camp at AdventHealth Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady on Bucs’ repeat: ‘Reality is, everything is very different’

Tom Brady understands the energetic narrative around the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

In the aftermath of winning the Lombardi Trophy, the Buccaneers brought most of the roster back to make a run at a repeat championship.

“The assumption comes from the belief that it’ll just be exactly like it was last year. I think that’s what you’ve got to not fall into,” Brady said on “The Late Late Show with James Corden.” “The reality is everything is very different. It’s way too competitive. A lot of the games we won last year were very razor-thin margins. One or two plays makes the difference in every game.”

He continued: “We’re not finished products. … We’ve got to improve the things we did well and build on a lot of things we didn’t do well.”

Brady is recovering from offseason knee surgery and played with what offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich labeled a “significant” knee injury.

Brady will turn 44 during training camp and credits a competitive group of teammates for keeping his focus on his own improvement.

“It’s hard to walk away from something that you still feel like you can do and you want to do,” Brady said. “So it’s not about proving it to others what you can do, it’s more about proving it to yourself. And I still feel like even though I’ll be 44 this year, I still have a chance to still prove it to myself that I can still do it at 44, because I really worked to a point where I can still do it at this age.”

The Buccaneers retained Brady’s full complement of skill-position players and signed running back Giovani Bernard to join a group that already included Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones.

–Field Level Media