NFL: Tom Brady and the Buccaneers face a team they can’t shake



CNN

The US’s most popular sport is back for what is sure to be another exciting season.

Week 1 of the National Football League was no exception, with seven season-opening games decided by three points or less.

Week 2 features another slate of great matchups, with Tom Brady’s Buccaneers (1-0) meeting their Achilles’ heel New Orleans Saints (1-0), Joe Burrow’s Cincinnati Bengals (0-1) facing at the Dak Prescott-less Dallas Cowboys (0-1), and another round of the NFC North rivalry between the Chicago Bears (1-0) and Green Bay Packers (0-1).

Brady made headlines this week on and off the field, discussing his retirement and marriage to Gisele Bündchen, and leading the Bucs to a comfortable 19-3 season-opening win over the Cowboys.

His second matchup of the season presents an even bigger challenge as the Bucs travel to New Orleans to face the team they can’t shake. The Saints have won their last seven regular season games against the Bucs, four of those in the Brady era.

Most recently, the Saints handed Brady the first shutout home loss of his storied NFL career. The 45-year-old quarterback, who returns for his 23rd season, hasn’t lost more than three consecutive games against an opponent since the Patriots’ 0-3 streak against the Broncos from 2005-09.

The biggest challenge this Sunday for the Bucs? Eliminating turnovers and sacks. In Brady’s last four losses in New Orleans, the Saints boast an 11-2 turnover advantage and the defense has 13 sacks to Tampa Bay’s four.

On the other sideline, the Saints will need to perform better than they did in their season opener against the Atlanta Falcons to keep the streak alive.

New Orleans fell behind on both sides of the ball early in the game, putting them down 16-3 at halftime. However, led by quarterback Jameis Winston, the team rallied, sparking a 16-point fourth-quarter comeback behind Winston’s 213 passing yards and two touchdowns.

The Saints left Atlanta with a narrow one-point win, but just barely. The Bucs should be the stronger opponent and the Saints will need to deliver for all four quarters, not just the final minutes if they want to come away victorious.

It’s also worth noting that the Saints’ current head coach, Dennis Allen, is the former defensive coordinator who orchestrated the defense that shut Brady down in the past. He has a proven history of finding and exploiting weaknesses in the seven-time Super Bowl Champion’s game.

Even with just two weeks left, both teams have an early chance to fight for first place in the division. They will face off for their first of two regular season meetings on Sunday at 1 pm ET.

Joe Burrow’s Bengals have had an inauspicious start to the season, to say the least.

A poor performance from Burrow (he threw five interceptions), and a series of missed opportunities, led to a wild overtime loss to the Steelers.

The Cowboys also opened the season with a dud as the only team in week one not to score a touchdown, a testament to the offense’s lackluster performance.

To make matters worse, quarterback Dak Prescott injured his throwing hand in the fourth quarter, which would sideline him for several weeks.

Joe Burrow drops back to pass during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Despite the disappointment that follows an 0-1 start to the season, starting the season with a losing record shouldn’t worry either of these teams.

Since 2002, 59.4 percent of playoff teams have started the season either 1-1 or 0-2. This past season, the Los Angeles Rams emerged Super Bowl Champions after starting the season 0-2. All this to say, getting a win in week two would be a huge confidence boost.

The Cowboys will have to adapt on offense without Prescott. Back-up quarterback Cooper Rush has just one career start, which came in Week 8 last year when Prescott was sidelined with a calf strain.

Rush had an impressive showing, throwing a clutch game-winning touchdown to wide receiver Amari Cooper in the final minute of the game. However, his inexperience could show against a gritty Bengals defense.

Kickoff is set for Sunday at 4:25 pm ET.

Aaron Rodgers in the second quarter against the Minnesota Vikings.

The Bears meet the Packers at historic Lambeau Field on Sunday night.

The Packers look to rebound from a 23-7 drubbing by the Vikings and continue their reign in this lopsided NFC North rivalry.

The Packers have won 20 of their last 23 regular season matchups, the Bears’ last win coming in 2018. But with the way things are looking for Green Bay, this could be the Bears’ chance to muscle into the win.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers struggled against the Vikings, obviously missing wide receiver Davante Adams. Throughout the game he was visibly frustrated when Green Bay couldn’t break double-digit scoring, and Rogers finished 22 for 34 for 195 yards with no touchdowns and an interception.

Entering Sunday night, the Bears were riding their biggest win of the week against the 49ers, scoring 19-unanswered second half points at a rain-soaked Soldier Field. The Bears have the momentum, but the Packers have the history. We’ll find out Sunday night, 8:25 pm ET.

Josh Allen poses for pictures with fans.

The Buffalo Bills knocked off the reigning Super Bowl champion Rams in their season opener, with quarterback Josh Allen throwing for 297 yards and four touchdowns in a 31-10 blowout win.

What is the key to the Bills’ wins? The numbers speak to Allen’s versatility. The team’s winning percentage is 20-1 when the QB rushes and passes for at least one touchdown in the same game.

Including the season opener, Allen’s 21 games with at least one rushing touchdown and at least one passing touchdown are the most in the NFL since he entered the league in 2018.

Allen and the Bills will try to make their season record 2-0 against the Tennessee Titans on Monday night at 7:15 pm ET.

Here’s how to catch these teams and others across the league in action, from wherever you are.

Australia: NFL Game Pass, ESPN, 7Plus

Brazil: NFL Game Pass, ESPN

Canada: CTV, TSN, RDS, NFL Game Pass on DAZN

Germany: NFL Game Pass, ProSieben MAXX, DAZN

Mexico: NFL Game Pass, TUDN, ESPN, Fox Sports, Sky Sports

UK: NFL Game Pass, Sky Sports, ITV, Channel 5

US: NFL Game Pass, CBS Sports, Fox Sports, ESPN, Amazon Prime