Tom Brady echoed his former coach's famous phrase when mentioning the Buccaneers' upcoming opponent in Week 15. But unlike anything Bill Belichick would do, Brady gave his opponent some bulletin board material.
Fresh off of a 35-7 blowout loss in San Francisco, Brady and his teammates will host the defending AFC champions, who have won five straight games after defeating the Browns at home this past Sunday. Sunday's loss dropped the Buccaneers to 6-7.
"We're onto Cincinnati," Brady said during the latest episode of his Let's Go! podcast. "Great team. Great, young quarterback. Fairly tough defense. Good skill players. They do a lot of things well. We're going to have to put everything we've got into it."
"Fairly tough" may not be giving the Bengals' defense enough credit. Led by pass rushers Sam Hubbard and Trey Hendrickson (who will miss Sunday's game after injuring his wrist this past Sunday), linebackers Germaine Pratt and Logan Wilson, defensive tackle D.J. Reader and safety Jessie Bates III, the unit is currently 11th in the NFL in scoring and sixth in red zone efficiency.
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Cincinnati's defense, which didn't allow a second half touchdown until Week 8, recorded several key stops late in the Bengals' Week 13 win over the the Chiefs. They yielded just 10 points in this past Sunday's win over the Browns.
"We're just imposing our will on people," Bates said following Sunday's win, via the team's website. "The thing is we're confident. We're playing really physical as a defense. All around. Not just with DJ and B.J. (Hill), but all the guys up front and the linebackers are tackling like DBs.
"It gives our offense confidence. It gives them an opportunity to score points."
Sunday's game will be a good test for both Cincinnati's defense and Tampa Bay's offense. While they haven't played close to the level that they did during the previous of two seasons, the Buccaneers' offense still features Brady and Pro Bowl level wideouts in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. The Buccaneers also have a formidable duo in running backs Leonard Fournette and Rachaad White.
Brady, who has never quarterbacked a team that has finished with a losing record, has extra motivation to play well this week after having arguably his worst game of the season in San Francisco.
"I just think there's an intense level of urgency that everyone's gotta feel," he said. "You've got four games left in the season and everything's in front of us. … We've got to have this urgency to come in with a great sense of determination and discipline to get better. … To make the throws that I've got to make. That's what I've to do, and that's where all my intention is going to be this week."
While he was overly complimentary of the Bengals' defense, Brady has had plenty of good things to say about Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow, who joined Brady's podcast ahead of this past February's Super Bowl. The Bengals' third-year quarterback has enjoyed an MVP caliber season while leading the Bengals to a 9-2 record over their past 11 games.
"You've got a great future ahead," Brady said to Burrow back in February. "There's a lot of football games left in your future, as there should be. We all get to watch you for a long time and really enjoy it. I wish you nothing but the best, as you know."