It’s been an unusual training camp for the NFL with no preseason games. Bucs fans haven’t got more than a peak of Tom Brady under center. However, camp is over and the Bucs now shift their focus to the New Orleans Saints and a matchup between two of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. With Brady now residing in the NFC South, there are two scheduled duels between Drew Brees and Brady. Could we see the growth of a new rivalry this late in their careers?
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Brees is 3-2 against Brady head-to-head. Two of the three wins for Brees came as the quarterback of the San Diego Chargers in 2002 and 2005. Against Brady-led teams, Brees has thrown 12 touchdown passes and just one interception for a passer rating of 116.1. Brady and the Patriots picked up victories in 2013, (30-27) and 2017 (36-20) against the Saints. Against the Saints, Brady has 11 touchdowns and only three interceptions and a rating of 103.6.
“Yeah, we’re going to be tested by a great football team and a team that’s been great in this division for a long time,” said Brady on August 28th. “(Head) coach (Sean) Payton, Drew, they’ve been together. They always have a good offense. They’ve got really great players on defense. They’ve got a tough scheme. They challenge you in every way. They’re great in the secondary. Really athletic group of linebackers. Cam Jordan’s one of the best defensive ends and really one of the most underrated defensive players in the league. They’ve got a strong D-line.”
Despite only going head-to-head five times, both quarterbacks know each other well. Both players entered the league at relatively the same time and have been leading Super Bowl contending teams in their respective Conferences. Now, we are guaranteed at least two matchups this season, with, perhaps a third taking place in the playoffs. In a short period of time, could it rival the Brady/Manning rivalry of old?
It is the marquee matchup on Sunday. Despite the talent across the board for both teams, it all takes a backseat to the two quarterbacks who are a combined, 84-years-old. Each quarterback comes into this year with a very small window remaining to win another Super Bowl. Brees is looking for his second with Brady looking for lucky number seven. In order for Brees or Brady to win another Super Bowl, they will have to get through each other every step of the way.