Tom Brady's 2020 Schedule: Looking Ahead to the Must-Watch Games

Dan Mennella
March 18, 2020 - 2:00 pm

Tom Brady has spent his entire career as a fixture in the AFC East, but now he's taken his talents south--to the NFC South, to be exact.

Brady's high-profile foray into free agency ended with his stunning reported defection to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, sending shockwaves through the NFL and triggering a cascade of correlated moves that is only just beginning to play out.

Brady in a Bucs uniform will take some getting used to, if that's even possible. But that's just aesthetics. More importantly, the 42-year-old has a whole new slate of opponents to take on twice per year. The division rivals Brady apparently grew tired of dismantling--the Jets, Bills and Dolphins--finally get some relief.

The Bucs are tied for the 16th-easiest schedule in 2020, based on opponents' 2019 winning percentage. That puts them right in the middle of the pack in a 32-team league. Here's a look at Tampa's opponents and how it aligns for Brady:

New Orleans Saints

Brady will face off twice against fellow over-40 quarterback Drew Brees in what figure to be a pair of highly anticipated shootouts. Brady is 4-1 in his career against the Saints, 2-1 since Brees took over as their quarterback in 2006. Brees outdueled Brady in November 2009, the season the Saints went on to win the Super Bowl.

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers will get a good long look at the man who barely denied them a Lombardi Trophy in February 2004. Brady famously edged out the Jake Delhomme-Steve Smith Panthers in a thrilling Super Bowl 38. Brady went on to several more Super Bowls in his career, though Carolina didn't make it back until Cam Newton came to town.

Newton's days as the Panthers' franchise quarterback appear to be over. The franchise has a new front office, head coach and signal-caller after signing Teddy Bridgewater to a three-year deal. Bridgewater's early career was slowed by injuries and falling behind on depth charts, but he finally appears to have a starting job all to himself in Carolina. Now he gets to prove if he can take down one of the game's greatest.

Atlanta Falcons

The sight of Brady in Bucs creamsicle is surely a nightmare for Falcons fans, whose team suffered one of the toughest collapses in Super Bowl history at the hands of Brady and the Patriots. Brady has gotten the better of Matt Ryan in four career matchups, winning all four, including that fateful Super Bowl 51. Ryan and head coach Dan Quinn now have the chance to draw some measure of redemption with two games against their former adversary.

Non-Division Opponents

Teams in the NFC South will play against teams in the NFC North and AFC West in 2020. That means Brady and the Bucs play the Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears, as well as the Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers. As well, Tampa draws the Los Angeles Rams and a juicy matchup against the New York Giants, their fellow third-place finishers in the NFC in 2019. The Giants, of course, are no stranger to Brady, having beaten him in both of his Super Bowl defeats. The game will be played at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

In addition to his rematches against Brees and Ryan, Brady projects to take on other brand-name quarterbacks in Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers and reigning Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs, in what are sure to be must-watch television. In Denver, Brady will face the only team against which he has a career losing record -- 8-9, if you count the playoffs.

The Raiders' inaugural season in Las Vegas features an odd bit of symmetry, with "Tuck Rule" victim Jon Gruden still (again) on the sidelines against Brady at the beginning of the final chapter of his career. Speaking of coaches, longtime Pats defensive assistant and now Lions head coach Matt Patricia will get a long look at the man who helped build the dynasty that propelled Patricia to his current gig. Brady will face both the Raiders and Lions on the road.

The Chargers, who reportedly attempted to sign Brady before he agreed to terms with the Bucs, will visit Tampa.

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