Maurice Jones-Drew predicts a tremendous year ahead for Tom Brady.
If you ask former NFL running back and current league analyst Maurice Jones-Drew for his prediction, he’ll tell you that Touchdown Tom Brady is going to live up to his name in 2020—to the tune of an astounding 55 passing touchdowns.
“I expect him to throw the ball all around the yard. Tom is going to give you 55. That’s going to be the leading mark this coming year,” said Jones-Drew on the NFL Network’s Good Morning Football.
If that strikes you a bit odd, it is and Jones-Drew is very aware that his prediction will draw the sort of response—even ire—you’d expect. However, he provided some context for his prediction for who would lead the NFL in passing touchdowns in 2020.
“If you’re gonna win this NFC South division, you’re gonna have to score points. You have the Atlanta Falcons, you have the New Orleans Saints. I’m gonna go with Tom Brady,” he said.
To go back to the most recent season in which someone clocked the 50 touchdown mark, you’d have to go back two seasons to the MVP year put together by Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs. That year, the team was so unbalanced that the defense gave up scores just as quickly as the offense could put another seven points on the board. It led to numerous shootouts, hence the reason why Mahomes had to air it out so much.
In 2018 the Chiefs never scored less than 26 points in a single game. They also allowed opponents to score over 30 points on six different occasions and even lost games in which they scored over 40 and even over 50 points. Mahomes passed for 6 touchdowns in two separate games and 4 touchdowns on five other occasions.
It is possible, at least on paper, for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Brady’s new team, to find themselves in a host of shootouts in the South. It’s true that the Falcons and Saints can score a ton of points. Last year, in Bruce Arians first year in Florida, the team allowed 30 points to opposing teams 8 times. They also beat the Rams in a 55-40 shootout that seems eerily reminiscent of a certain Chiefs-Rams classic.
Still, it’s hard to picture Tom Brady returning to form to that extent, even if he is reinvigorated by being outside of New England—and away from Bill Belichick—for the first time in his career. Brady himself hit 50 touchdowns in 2007, but he’s never eclipsed the 40+ mark since those days. A total of 55 scores would be more than Brady had in the last two seasons combined.
Brady should be a lot of fun to watch in his new environs with an offensive genius as a head coach and a new array of weapons—from a returning Rob Gronkowski to an elite wideout like Mike Evans to other nice targets like Chris Godwin, Ronald Jones, and O.J. Howard. He might even lead the league in touchdowns. But hitting a total like 55 feels like a ridiculous reach for a legend whose best days are behind him.