Some of our younger readers can’t recall when the Buccaneers won their first and only Super Bowl during the 2002 season, and it’s been a decade since Tampa Bay has even entered the postseason. That’s what you call a drought, but there are other franchises where winning a division title is like showing up for practice – it’s just what you’re supposed to do.

Of course, I am referring to the New England Patriots and their long-standing date with the AFC East crown and eight consecutive appearances in the AFC Championship game. Under the legendary Tom Brady, the Patriots have been to a whopping 13 conference championships overall and will be playing in their ninth Super Bowl. But we didn’t see nor hear of the Patriots when the Bucs won Super Bowl XXXVII, so there’s that.

Now, on to this year’s Super Bowl between the Los Angeles Rams and – take a guess – yes, the Patriots. If you cruise on over to Sportsbook Review, you will see that some of the best online sportsbooks like 5Dimes are dealing the Pats as 2-point neutral site favorites. It’s not a stretch to believe that New England will once again celebrate because the rumors of the Patriots’ demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Tom Terrific looked more like journeyman Tom Savage in a few of his games this season as the Pats staggered to, at least for them, a lackluster 11-win season. The dynasty was in peril and Brady appeared to be finally ceding his stranglehold on the Fountain of Youth to Father Time. But a funny thing happened on the way to the Super Bowl. Brady had a few weeks to rest and relax between the end of the regular season and the first playoff game against the Los Angeles Chargers. Well, lo and behold, the rumored MCL issue that he was reportedly dealing with, although not admitting to, suddenly had time to heal and Brady was slinging the ball all over the gridiron once again with uncanny precision.

As well know, the Pats went on to obliterate the Bolts then beat the Chiefs in overtime to cop a date in the Super Bowl against Jared Goff and the Rams. Speaking of which, the Rams earned a first-round bye courtesy of their 13-3 regular season record and then went out and battled the Dallas Cowboys to a 30-22 victory. Last week, the Rams took their next step towards NFL greatness when they defeated the Saints in New Orleans, due in large part to a pass interference call that was seen by everyone but the official on the field. Goff mustered his troops to a 26-23 overtime victory over New Orleans and now must face the legend himself, Tom Brady.

While watching these teams play in the conference finals, it occurred to me just how far the Bucs have to go to get at least within spitting distance of this elite level. The Tampa Bay defense has been atrocious over the past two seasons, and Jameis Winston is still enigmatic after four years of play. It didn’t help that the Bucs’ ground game was awful.

A new regime always brings new hope so we will sit and wait as we have done so often throughout the years. Once the Super Bowl is over, we might want to see how the professional oddsmakers view the Bucs for next season in terms of win totals, as well as odds to win the NFC South, the conference, and dare we say it – the Super Bowl for the 2019 season. If you’re as curious, click on over to Sportsbook Review and see what the most reputable book in the business, 5Dimes is showing for the odds. It’s never too early to place your bets.

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