As far as fascinating matchups go, Tom Brady's Week 4 return to New England can't be topped. But Brady followers still have several dates to circle on their calendars in 2022.
The Buccaneers' 2022 opponents are officially set after Tampa Bay clinched its first NFC South title since 2007 on Sunday. With Brady under contract through 2022 and showing no signs of slowing down, we'll assume the former Patriots quarterback will be back for Year 22.
So, here are the teams Brady will face next season:
Home: Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints, Seattle Seahawks
Away: Arizona Cardinals, Falcons, Panthers, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers
That's a pretty loaded schedule featuring a host of elite quarterbacks. In 2022 alone, Brady could face Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Kyler Murray, Dak Prescott, Russell Wilson, Joe Burrow -- and his former teammate, Jimmy Garoppolo.
Here's a quick rundown of the top three matchups we're most excited to see:
1. Bucs at 49ers
Brady facing his former Patriots understudy will be the top story, assuming Garoppolo is still on the team. But even if San Francisco moves on from Jimmy G (who becomes a free agent after the 2022 season), this will be an emotional game for Brady, a Bay Area native who grew up going to Niners games at Candlestick Park.
Unless he plays for several more seasons, Brady's 2022 visit to his hometown team might be his last -- and he'll have plenty of motivation to stick it to Garoppolo.
2. Bucs vs. Chiefs
Brady vs. Mahomes in a Super Bowl LV rematch? Yes please. Mahomes' Chiefs beat the Bucs 27-24 at Raymond James Stadium last November, so this is Brady's chance to win the rubber match, even if he won the game that counts.
3. Bucs vs. Packers
Could this be the last time we see Brady and Rodgers battle head-to-head? It's certainly possible; Rodgers nearly bolted from Green Bay last offseason, and where he'll play (or if he'll play) in 2022 is anyone's guess.
Anytime these two future Hall of Famers are squaring off, we'll be watching.
Add in two showdowns with Brady's new regular-season kryptonite (the Saints) and TB12 should have his hands full in 2022.