In their two most recent matchups, Dean Pees has gotten the best of Tom Brady. During the 2018 season, the Titans hosted the Patriots in Week 10 and routed the would-be Super Bowl champions. The Titans held the Patriots offense to just 10 points as Brady had his worst outing of the season. He finished 21-of-41 for 254 yards — his lowest completion percentage that year and one of two games he didn’t throw a touchdown. Tennessee also sacked him three times, which was the most by any team that season against Brady.
One of the reasons the Titans were so successful against Brady was their ability to blitz while still playing man coverage well. Tennesse blitzed on 44% of Brady’s pass attempts, only bringing more than four men on six of those. Most recently, Pees got the best of Brady in the playoffs his last season before retiring. The Titans and Patriots met in the first round, and Tennessee came out victorious 20-13.
Brady completed 20 of his 37 attempts for 207 yards and one interception, which was the last throw of his Patriots career. Pees knows how to defend Brady, and it starts with discipline. No defensive coordinator will be able to throw something at Brady that he hasn’t seen. Obviously, Pees will try and disguise looks, but if the players are out of position, Brady will make them pay.
The Bucs offensive line is one of the best units in the league. The tackle duo of Donovan Smith and Tristan Wirfs is elite, and the same goes for the guard duo of Ali Marpet and Alex Cappa. Ryan Jensen is the weak link of this group and is still a stout lineman. Their skill players are just as impressive. Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Antonio Brown are one of (if not) the best trios in the league. The receiving core extends to Rob Gronkowski and O.J. Howard, who are both still capable of threatening defenses even though the latter hasn’t quite lived up to his first-round selection. The names don’t stop there either, as Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones form an imposing backfield duo.
This Bucs team is undoubtedly more talented than either of the Patriots teams that Pees effectively shut down. One of the reasons Pees and Mike Vrabel were able to stop Brady was their extensive knowledge of the Patriots offense, so that won’t help Pees this week. Still, Pees does know Brady’s tendencies to a certain degree. The Falcons don’t have a single advantage anywhere on the field over Tampa Bay, so the possibility of Pees being able to stifle Brady and the Bucs is low but not impossible.