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New York Jets vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Week 17 preview: Tom Brady’s final bow

Zach Wilson, Tom Brady
Zach Wilson, Tom Brady, New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jet X Graphic, Getty Images

Tom Brady’s final bow against the New York Jets is on tap

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ—One … more … time. Or, one … more … time?

If Tom Brady ever does take on the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium again, either Joe Douglas’s team somehow turned it around in epic fashion, qualifying for Super Bowl 57, or No. 12 simply is not human.

He’d have to hang around for another eight years—the next time the NFL schedule rotation would pit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers against the Jets on the road (save for an unlikely 17th-game matchup).

The man who played the Jets in enemy territory at least once a season when he was the face of the New England Patriots, will now, most likely, play his final game against the Jets on the road.

New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2021-22, Week 17 Preview
New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2021-22, Week 17 Preview, Jet X Graphic, Getty Images

Jets vs. Bucs game info

  • New York Jets (4-11)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-4)
  • NFL, Week 17, Jan. 2, 2022, 1 p.m. ET, FOX
  • MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ

The Jets have dropped 11 games this season, the same number the Bucs have captured. Tampa already has the NFC South crown locked up, thanks to the sorry state of the division.

Meanwhile, the Jets are simply playing out the string in the hopes that the young talent shows face while heading into the offseason.

New York will wear its all-green uniforms. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. ET and will broadcast on FOX, thanks to the NFC road-team status.

Jets vs. Bucs history

  • The Jets lead the all-time series, 10-2.

Well, it’s now obvious that Brady has not been in Tampa for too long. The Jets own a dominant 10-2 all-time record against the Bucs—one of the few franchises the Jets own a winning record against.

The Arizona Cardinals (6-4), Cincinnati Bengals (18-10), Green Bay Packers (8-5), Houston Texans (6-3) and Minnesota Vikings (8-3) represent the other five that have a losing record against Gang Green.

As far as Tampa is concerned, New York won 10 of the first 11 games, the only blemish resulting in a 41-21 loss in December 1984.

The Bucs captured the most recent meeting, a 15-10 victory in November 2017. Then-Bucs quarterback Josh McCown threw for 262 yards and a score to just one interception on 23 of 39 passing. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson hauled in six passes for 82 yards in the tilt.

Jets vs. Bucs odds (FanDuel Sportsbook)

  • Spread: Jets +13 (-110), Bucs -13 (-110)
  • Moneyline: Jets +590, Bucs -850
  • Over/Under: 45.5 (O: -110, U: -110)

Well, representing the favorite was nice while it lasted. A week after Vegas favored the Jets by 1.5 points over the Jacksonville Jaguars, New York heads into this one as a 13-point home underdog.

Jets vs. Bucs injury report

NYJ-TB, 2021, Week 17, Injury Report
NYJ-TB, 2021, Week 17, Injury Report, New York Jets Communications

New York Jets

  • Jamison Crowder (Calf): Doubtful

Elijah Moore is still out, as are many others still dealing with reserve statuses via injuries or COVID. Quinnen Williams, Tyler Kroft, Ryan Griffin, Tevin Coleman and Jarrad Davis all join Moore on the team’s current Reserve/COVID-19 list, meaning all will likely not play Sunday.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Shaquil Barrett (Knee): Out
  • Jason Pierre-Paul (Shoulder): Out
  • Richard Sherman (Achilles): Doubtful
  • Antonio Brown (Ankle): Questionable
  • Mike Evans (Hamstring): Questionable
  • Justin Watson (Quad): Questionable
  • Antoine Winfield (Foot): Questionable

Although it should be argued that the Jets enter the game as the more banged-up and limited team, the Bucs injury report is much more loaded thanks to more traditional injuries.

Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul will both miss the game, which should be music to Zach Wilson’s ears. Richard Sherman is doubtful, whereas Antonio Brown, Mike Evans, Justin Watson and Antoine Winfield are all dealing with questionable statuses.

Furthermore, head coach Bruce Arians has confirmed that he will be back on the sideline. Arians dealt with a brief absence via COVID-19.

Jets’ keys to victory

Don’t hold back Zach Wilson

Tampa defensive coordinator Todd Bowles is a man known extremely well around these parts. Although his first stint as an NFL head coach didn’t go as planned, he’s still an excellent defensive coordinator.

What Bowles loves to do, first and foremost, is stop the run. Therefore, Mike LaFleur has to allow Zach Wilson to let it fly in this one.

With Pierre-Paul and Barrett out, Wilson will have every opportunity to do some damage. Bowles’s stubborn rush defense in spite of oftentimes hurting his pass coverage is the cherry on top of why LaFleur has plenty of options in this one, especially early in the first quarter.

Interior pressure on Brady

It’s never been about hitting Brady as much as it’s been about getting him off his spot.

The man is the purest pocket passer in every sense of the term, so bringing the heat inside, in the hopes he’s forced to move laterally and not have the ability to step up in the pocket, is Jeff Ulbrich’s unit’s only shot to slow him down.

Jets vs. Bucs prediction

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers 37, New York Jets 27

Expect Zach Wilson to put up some numbers, perhaps over 250 yards and two touchdowns. But also expect Tom Brady to have his way with this Jets defense.

There’s just no way this New York Jets defense can slow down this Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense, even without Antonio Brown and Mike Evans (if they both miss the game).

No matter the end result, once this one is in the books (hello, Howie Rose), New York Jets fans will most likely get their long-awaited, two-decade wish: They will no longer have to deal with Tom Brady.

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