Patriots Fall At Home; Brady Done In Foxborough?
After nearly two decades of greatness, the New England Patriots dynasty could have just been dismantled by back-to-back losses to the Miami Dolphins and Tennessee Titans.
If not for Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Dolphins taking down Tom Brady and the Patriots in a huge Week 17 upset, New England would have earned the second AFC seed and a bye week to the divisional round. Instead, Bill Belichick couldn’t hold off Miami coach Brian Flores, the former Patriots defensive coordinator.
So, the Patriots were forced to play in the Wild Card round for the first time in 10 years. On Saturday, Belichick, Brady, and company played host to the Tennessee Titans and coach Mike Vrabel, another former Patriot.
A New England defense that dominated the NFL for much of the season had great stretches in this contest, but it couldn’t withstand a Tennessee offense that continued battering it with running back Derrick Henry.
To make up for a lackluster performance from Tannehill, who threw for 72 yards with a TD and a pick, Henry rushed for 182 yards and a touchdown of his own.
For the Patriots, who couldn’t manage even a single point at home in the second half, Brady threw for 209 yards with no touchdowns and one interception, which came in the form of a pick-six on Brady’s final throw of the game.
Now, the 9-7 Titans advance to play the top-seeded Ravens, and the 12-4 Patriots have been eliminated after losing their third game of the season in Foxborough.
For the Patriots, one big question remains: Is Brady done in New England?
The NFL’s Biggest Mystery
It’s surreal to think that we may have just witnessed Brady’s final game in a Patriots uniform. Even more bizarre to ponder is the fact that Brady’s final game for New England could have ended without a touchdown pass.
Although the majority of the post-game buzz surrounded the outlook for Brady and the Patriots, none of the decision-makers in New England provided any clarity to the situation. In fact, the likes of Brady, Belichick, and owner Robert Kraft only managed to shroud the quarterback’s future deeper in mystery.
Let’s start with Brady himself, who enters free agency for the first time in his career, who said of retirement, “I would say it’s pretty unlikely, hopefully unlikely. I love playing football. I don’t know what it looks like moving forward.”
Although he couldn’t give reporters anything concrete, Kraft was talking about his starting quarterback when he said, “My hope and prayer is No. 1, he plays for the Patriots. Or No. 2, he retires.”
This will be the first time in roughly 20 years that Kraft enters an offseason without the luxury of knowing who his starting quarterback will be the following season.
Belichick, who’s famously deflective and mute with the media, was peppered with questions about his and the team’s stance on Brady. In one response, Belichick said, “Any decision made is not an individual decision. There are other people involved.”
What the Odds Say About Brady in 2020
Nobody really knows if Brady would like the chance to prove that he was the more valuable piece of New England’s dynasty by leaving the Patriots and earning success elsewhere. And nobody knows if Belichick, who’s always gotten rid of a player a year too early rather than a year too late, will handle Brady any differently.
So, instead of trying to dissect every little thing said amongst the New England hierarchy, let’s let the odds do the talking.
First of all, how likely is it that we just witnessed Brady’s last game in the NFL? According to the odds, not very. Odds of a Brady retirement before the 2020 season are sitting at +700, which isn’t surprising considering the quarterback has been most open about his intent to play next year.
More interesting is the question of whether or not Brady will suit up as a Patriot next season. Betting either way holds -120 odds, which means we’re looking at the flip of a coin regarding Brady’s likelihood of remaining in New England in 2020.
Most interesting is looking at Brady’s likely landing spots should he decide to go elsewhere.
Who will Brady be playing for in Week 1 of the 2020 season? If it isn’t the Patriots, Brady’s most likely team is the Browns, who hold 11/2 odds.
Both the Panthers and Raiders hold odds of 6/1, and the trio of the Chargers, Colts, and Cowboys are sitting at 7/1 odds.
Dallas would perhaps be the most shocking landing spot of the bunch, as they’re expected to sign quarterback Dak Prescott to a long-term deal or hit him with the franchise tag.
For the first time in his career, Brady’s future is anything but certain.
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