After all the hype leading into Sunday Night Football, the Brady-Belichick Bowl delivered.
On a night when he became the NFL’s all-time passing yards leader, Tom Brady led another fourth-quarterback comeback as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the New England Patriots 19-17.
According to Elias, it was Brady’s 26th career game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime at Gillette Stadium.
Brady joined Peyton Manning, Brett Favre and Drew Brees as the only starting quarterbacks to beat all 32 current NFL franchises.
There was a lot of talk about whether Brady or Bill Belichick would have the edge heading into their first head-to-head meeting.
In terms of the narrative, it’s only fitting that the game was decided by inches.
Here’s the Morning Coffee for Monday, Oct. 4, 2021.
Brady, Buccaneers hang on for win
Brady went 22-of-43 for 269 yards in the win over the Patriots.
In case you missed it, Brady not to throw a touchdown was +1400.
The Buccaneers cashed as a -290 money line favourite, as well as a popular parlay and teaser play. New England covered as a 6.5-point favourite.
I was all over Tampa Bay at that number earlier in the week and stuck with it until kickoff.
But with the heavy rain pounding Gillette Stadium, no Rob Gronkowski or Giovani Bernard, and injuries taking out 80 per cent of the Buccaneers’ secondary, I jumped on the Patriots +10.5 in-game following a Mac Jones interception in the first quarter for a nice middle.
There was a lot of talk throughout the broadcast about Brady’s nerves, Belichick’s genius and the weather.
While all those elements factored into the final score, I don’t think the impact of the injuries to the Tampa Bay secondary could be overstated.
With Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting sidelined, the Buccaneers lost the two most important pieces in their secondary in Carlton Davis and Antoine Winfield Jr.
Jones took advantage of the holes in the Tampa Bay defence by going 31-of-40 for 275 yards and two touchdowns.
The Buccaneers brought wave after wave of pressure to speed up the game for Jones and take some pressure off their patchwork secondary.
In the end, they did just enough to escape with a win.
Looking ahead, Tampa Bay opened as a 10.5-point favourite for their Week 5 game against the Miami Dolphins.
Maybe I’ll come around to it as the week progresses, but right now I can’t stomach backing the Jacoby Brissett-led Dolphins, even with the points.
Performance(s) of the week
In last Monday’s column, I asked whether it was the perfect time to buy-low on the Kansas City Chiefs coming off back-to-back losses to the Baltimore Ravens and Los Angeles Chargers.
We got our answer on Sunday, at least in the short term.
The Chiefs (-6.5) bounced back with a 42-30 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
Patrick Mahomes went 24-of-30 for 278 yards and five touchdowns. Tyreek Hill finished with 11 receptions for 186 yards and three touchdowns.
Kansas City was +600 to win the Super Bowl after last week’s loss. As of this morning, the Chiefs are +550.
Kansas City opened as a three-point favourite versus the Buffalo Bills this Sunday.
Right now, the Chiefs are the favourite to win the AFC at +280. The Bills are the second choice at +450.
That’s another can’t-miss prime-time game on Sunday Night Football.
Upset of the week
The New York Giants and New York Jets both won in overtime on Sunday.
It was the first time that both teams won on the same Sunday since Dec. 22, 2019.
Then there is this:
The Jets held on for a 27-24 win over a banged up Tennessee Titans team as a +215 money line underdog after Randy Bullock missed a 49-yard field goal to tie it late in overtime.
Meanwhile, the Giants rallied from down 11 points in the fourth quarter to beat the New Orleans Saints 27-21 in overtime as a +260 money line underdog.
The Giants were +800 live when they trailed New Orleans by 11 with just under eight minutes left in regulation.
Overall, NFL favourites are 8-6 straight up but 6-8 against the spread heading into Monday Night Football, with the Cleveland Browns and the Minnesota Vikings closing as a pick’em on Sunday.
Monday Night Football lookahead
The Los Angeles Chargers (-3) are set to host the Las Vegas Raiders in a key AFC West showdown to wrap up Week 4 tonight on TSN.
We can expect another high-scoring game, with the total set at 51.5.
Road teams are 35-27 against the spread this season, while underdogs are 37-24 ATS this season with two pick ‘ems.
I think tonight’s game is another close one with a lean towards the Raiders at +3.
I’ll lock in a seven-point tease on Las Vegas and the over. Give me Raiders +10 and the over 43.5 as my best bet for tonight’s game.
MLB playoff bracket set
After a wild finish to the regular season, the 2021 MLB postseason bracket is set.
The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox clinched the two American League Wild Card spots with wins on Sunday.
The Toronto Blue Jays went 91-71 but finished the season on the outside looking in.
The Yankees opened as a -120 money line favourite for Tuesday night’s Wild Card game against the Red Sox.
Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Rays and Houston Astros enter the postseason as co-favourites to win the American League at +250.
The Chicago White Sox are +300 to win the AL. New York and Boston are +550 and +600 to reach the World Series, respectively.
In the National League, the San Francisco Giants (-220) beat the San Diego Padres 11-4 on Sunday to clinch the NL West division title.
San Francisco was 40-to-1 to win their division at the start of the season. The Giants’ win total was 74.5. They finished with 107 wins.
San Francisco enters the postseason as the second choice to win the NL at +250.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, which will host the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Wild Card game on Wednesday, remain the favourite to win the NL at +200.
The Dodgers are a -230 money line favourite versus St. Louis.
Here are the updated World Series winner odds heading into the playoffs:
White Sox +700
Red Sox +1200
While they certainly have a tough path with Max Muncy out, I still lean towards the Dodgers at +400 as the best bet to win the World Series.
At this point, we likely won’t get a better price.