It has been one of the worst starts of Tom Brady’s illustrious career, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are still in a playoff race.
Bucs legend Mike Alstott believes they will fulfill that playoff goal.
Alstott will be on hand for history this Sunday when the Bucs and Seattle Seahawks face each other in Munich – the first ever NFL game held in Germany. Ahead of that matchup, the ex-fullback was also present for "USAA’s Salute to Service NFL Boot Camp" at U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria to put some military members through the 40-yard dash, broad jump and more friendly competition.
Alstott took some time to tell Fox News Digital that he is a believer that the Bucs will somehow make their way into the NFC playoff picture come January.
"I do, especially with the NFC South and the way they are a little bit," Alstott said. "There’s not one team running away with it and I think with Tom and the other veteran leadership they have on that team and the way, for the most part, their defense has been all year.
"I think in both phases, last game really showed they have what it takes to do this, and they need to get on a run. With Tom and the other guys, I think that they’ll get it done."
Alstott is referring to Brady’s 55th career game-winning drive, which resulted in a touchdown to Cade Otton to defeat the Los Angeles Rams, 16-13. During the comeback, Brady also surpassed 100,000 career passing yards, reaching another milestone in his Hall of Fame career.
However, at 4-5, Alstott knows that a run is needed by the Bucs, even if they are just below the Atlanta Falcons right now with the same record in the division.
If they are going to do it, it will take Brady at his best. Brady was dealing with personal life off the field, as has been well documented with his divorce from Gisele Bundchen now finalized. Rumors were swirling before the season began, and Brady quickly fell into an even bigger spotlight than he is used to.
"It’s difficult," Alstott said when asked if there is a way to turn off the outside world when the pads go on. "At the end of the day, though, you have to perform, and Tom would say the same thing. You gotta perform and do what he’s been doing for 20-plus years.
"Sometimes it’s an unfortunate situation, but you still gotta go out there and do your job and perform."
Alstott mentioned the number of injuries the Bucs have been dealing with, especially to the offensive line, which has made the offense slow. Brady is still getting the ball out quickly, but without a solid run game to set up play action passes, defenses have been teeing off.
In turn, the Bucs are 25th in points per game (18.0). They were second in the NFL by the end of the 2021 regular season with 30.1 per contest.
However, that classic Brady comeback drive might have been the spark needed for the Bucs to take over in the NFC South. One win and a Falcons loss to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, and the Bucs are at the top again.
The Seahawks, though, will not be an easy opponent overseas, sitting at a surprising 6-3 with Geno Smith under center in the NFC West. Alstott was with Seattle legendary running back Shaun Alexander at U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria, and though he said they did not talk football just yet, the week will surely bring out the competitive juices.
"I know the Seahawks are having a pretty good year, so I think it’s going to be a great matchup for the first game ever in Germany," Alstott said. "I think it’s going to be a good thing. I think the Bucs are hopefully on track a little bit. They got a veteran ballclub and great leadership. It’s going to be a pretty good game."
"USAA’s Salute to Service Boot Camp" represents the evolution of authentic military appreciation events that USAA and the NFL have created to foster an understanding and appreciation for the local military community, bringing our military closer to a game they love.