Death. Taxes. Tom Brady winning in the Divisional Playoff round. With a 13-2 record in the Divisional Playoffs, any team with Brady is worth a spot on your top NFL picks. He’ll get a chance to build on this when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers meet Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.
Brady against Brees presents one of the most intriguing NFL matchups. Despite Brady’s near-immaculate Divisional Playoff record, he and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be underdogs per online betting odds.
It’s rare to see Brady as a playoff underdog and it’s rarer that he loses. But he has a new team and one that online sports betting odds says is behind the Saints in Super Bowl odds. But as if Brady needed more motivation to deliver another vintage performance.
Whether he wins or loses this Sunday, Brady won’t go down without a fight. We take a stroll down memory lane and pick the most memorable Divisional Playoff games from Brady’s history.
Brady’s most impressive Divisional Playoffs victories
Picking just four out of Brady’s Divisional Playoffs wins was a task-and-a-half, but focusing on the stakes, narrative, and numbers ultimately narrowed the selection. Here are four of Brady’s most unforgettable Divisional Playoffs wins:
Oakland Raiders, 2001-02
I’m not going to argue on the “Tuck Rule” incident here, which has overshadowed the grit Brady showed during this hellacious game. People often forget or don’t know about the full circumstances.
Brady was in his first full year as a starter playing under two storms: the blizzard and savvy Oakland defense. New England was down 13-3 heading to the fourth until Brady shoveled his way into tying the game and eventually leading a game-winning drive in overtime.
It would be the first of Brady’s nine postseason fourth-quarter comebacks and 13 game-winning drives. A few weeks later, he’d pull another comeback in the biggest stage of them all and the legend of the G.O.A.T. was born.
Denver Broncos, 2011-12
Tim Tebow was coming off a miracle after defeating the 12-4 Steelers. “Tebowmania” had created enough hype to deceive enough fans to think he and his Broncos would stand a chance.
It took Brady half a game to remind everyone who the true football Messiah was as he liquidated the Broncos’ defense with five easy touchdowns en route to a 45-10 drubbing. Brady finished with 363 passing yards, six touchdowns, and a 137.6 QB rating.
And Tebow? He finished with 136 passing yards and completed 9-of-26 attempts. Tebow did see the light and tried to learn from Brady when he signed with the Pats in 2013… for all of two months.
Baltimore Ravens, 2014-15
There were only two opponents in the AFC who consistently gave Brady problems in the playoffs: Peyton Manning and the Baltimore Ravens. Any game where Brady manages to get the upper hand on the Ravens is a worthy achievement but this 2015 Divisional Playoffs game stands out.
Down 28-14, Brady engineered a ferocious comeback with 10 minutes left in the third. There was some trickery involved as Julian Edelman got into quarterbacking and the Pats declared eligible receivers ineligible.
With the Ravens up 31-28, Brady would connect with Brandon LaFell to seal the game 35-31. Brady didn’t let up as he took parting shots at Ravens’ coach John Harbaugh during the postgame presser.
Los Angeles Chargers, 2018-19
Brady didn’t do anything too particularly impressive in this game. He threw for 343 passing yards, one touchdown, and a 106.5 rating, most of which happened in the first half of the game.
The Patriots were whipping the Chargers and the game was already over by the third period. Now add this to the narrative that Brady was supposed to “fall off a cliff” in the same vein as Manning and other legends before him.
Add the narrative that the Chargers would finally get over the hump, beat the Patriots, and get Philip Rivers his overdue Super Bowl moment. Instead, Brady and the Pats overcame them and other trendy contenders to win their sixth Super Bowl.
Divisional Playoffs losses
Fun fact: Tom Brady has lost more Super Bowl games than he’s lost Divisional Playoffs games. It behooves us to think something strange or phenomenal occurred during these rare losses. Let’s examine:
Denver Broncos, 2005-06
At first glance, the Patriots losing was just one of those things that happened. But one does not simply beat Brady and the Pats. This Broncos team was a defensive dynamo led by the likes of Champ Bailey, Al Wilson, and John Lynch.
Despite the stacked Broncos defense, Brady still managed to throw for 341 yards as the Patriots outgained the Broncos 420 to 286. The differences were in turnovers: the Pats coughed up the ball five times, which included a Bailey pick for a 100-yard TD return.
Brady attempted to put together another comeback by connecting with Deion Branch on a 73-yard pass but it was too little too late.
New York Jets, 2010-11
In what would be Rex Ryan’s crowning achievement as a coach, he managed to beat both Manning and Brady in the same playoffs. This game was one of Brady’s more forgettable games as he started off with a pick, his first since Week 6.
The Jets played one hell of a game sacking Brady five times and limiting him to 299 passing yards and an 89.0 passer rating. New York won 28-21 then succumbed to the Steelers in the AFC Championship. Stunning considering the Patriots had beaten the Jets twice in the season, including a 45-3 pummeling in a Monday nighter.
This would be the second and last time Brady would lose in the Divisional Playoffs. He and the Pats would rattle eight straight victories scoring an average of 37.6 points in each outing.
Brady goes for Win No. 14
Brady has an uphill battle against the Saints but if an underdog wins on Sunday, it could be the Buccaneers. There’s plenty of action coming in on them right here at BetUS. Read our sportsbook reviews and learn how you can use your football knowledge to bet online.