Editor’s note: In the coming weeks our Patriots insiders will be speaking with beat writers from around the NFL to get an outside view on what the future holds for the Patriots. Today’s team: The Green Bay Packers with Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated.
Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are two of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, and for the first time beginning with the 2020 season, they will be playing in the same conference.
Brady made the decision to leave the New England Patriots and join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency. This move immediately transformed the Bucs into a legitimate Super Bowl contender, but to reach a championship level in the near future, Tampa Bay might have to go through Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
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The Packers have reached the NFC Championship Game in three of the last six seasons. Unfortunately for Rodgers, the Packers lost all three of those playoff games, including a defeat to Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco 49ers in 2019.
Brady will be 43 years old by the start of the 2020 season. Rodgers will turn 37 in early December. Both players have managed to beat Father Time to remain among the top-tier of NFL quarterbacks deep into their careers, but who can we expect to play at a higher level over the next two seasons (the duration of Brady's contract with the Bucs)?
Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer discussed this topic Thursday with our Patriots insider Phil Perry.
"I'm going to say Aaron Rodgers, just because we're in such unprecedented territory with Brady," Breer said. "Brady will be good in 2020, 2021 is a little (more uncertain). I do like with Rodgers -- where the Green Bay roster has gone the last couple of years. There are reasons beyond just Rodgers that they were in the NFC title game last year."
An argument could be made for Rodgers' team going further than the Buccaneers in 2020, but that Brady will have the better stats.
Brady's offense in Tampa Bay is deep and talented at just about every position. In addition to a good offensive line, the Bucs have two of the league's best wide receivers in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. The Buccaneers tight end depth chart also is quite impressive with Rob Gronkowski, O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate. Add in an offensive-minded head coach in Bruce Arians and you have all the ingredients for one of the highest-scoring teams in football.
Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez recently claimed Brady's wide receiver group in Tampa Bay is the best of the veteran quarterback's career, which is quite a take when you consider the offensive records Brady and the Patriots set in 2007.
We can reasonably assume both the Buccaneers and Packers will be good next season, but what fans really want to see is these two legendary quarterbacks meet in the playoffs. Brady and Rodgers came close to squaring off in a few Super Bowl matchups, but the Packers couldn't make it out of the NFC since 2010.