NFL Week 18: How Antonio Brown’s Implosion Shakes Up Bucs Super Bowl Odds

PLUS: MaximBet picks Saturday’s Broncos vs. Chiefs and Eagles vs. Cowboys Week 18 games.

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You know, if I had a nickel for every time I wanted to rip my shirt off and toss it into the nearest group of people while quitting a dream job that makes me millions of dollars, I would be completely nickel-less. 

I would be into negative nickels. I would owe nickels. 

Yet that’s what we Antonio Brown do on Sunday after he refused to re-enter the game for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as they trailed the New York Jets, of all teams. 

As “Antonio Brown fiascos” go, this one was downright expected. At some point, it was going to blow up. Bruce Arians famously said last season that AB was on a one-strike rule in Tampa Bay.

It feels like breaking federal law and facing a possible prison sentence for forging a Covid vaccine card would be a pretty significant strike. 

Oh, but Arians couldn’t do that. Couldn’t punch ole’ Antonio out behind the plate because now he loves him. AB has a “spot in his heart.”

That love lasted all of a week.

Brown, ever the victim in his own imaginary narrative, let “insiders” know that his ankle was bothering him. That’s why he refused to go back onto the field.  

Of course, there’s no footage of Brown being worked on by a trainer, getting his ankle re-taped and testing it out as you see pretty much any time a player suffers an ankle injury

And while I have never played NFL football, I have rolled my ankle a few times and I don’t feel like I’d be jogging, playing to the crowd and skipping off the field if said ankle was too injured to play. 

Could Antonio Brown be… and I shudder at the thought… lying?

Surely not a model citizen like AB.

Update: on January 5, Brown released a lengthy statement via his lawyer saying his meltdown came after Bucs coaching staff forced him to play through an injury they were aware of. Read the full statement here:

While Brown will not suit up again for the Buccaneers, as of this writing at least, they haven’t officially cut him. This doesn’t mean a tearful reunion over some almond milk and strawberry seeds is on the table between Tom Brady and his good buddy. 

It’s a last “fuck you” from Arians. If he cuts AB, some other team can sign him. Maybe a team Tampa would face in the playoffs. Brown not only doesn’t have a spot in Arians’ heart anymore, the coach won’t have let him have a spot in the NFL. At least not this season.

Brown’s exodus, as well as the recent play of Green Bay and Kansas City, has dropped the defending champion Bucs to the third spot in MaximBet’s Super Bowl LVI odds board.

Update: The Bucs DID officially terminate Brown’s contract on January 6, read the full statement here.

Saturday NFL Games

With a wide-open Saturday and games with NFL playoff implications heading into the final slate, the league decided to grace your Saturday with a little professional pigskin. 

That was the selling point anyway. For some reason, they picked probably the two least interesting contests with those kinds of ramifications.

Kansas City Chiefs (-10.5) at Denver Broncos

The Broncos are already eliminated from playoff contention and, because of that, head coach Vic Fangio is probably about to be eliminated from his job. 

Kansas City dropped to the No. 2 seed after losing in the final seconds to the Cincinnati Bengals last week. They could feel as if they have a shot to regain homefield, but seeing as the one-seeded Tennessee Titans are playing at the Houston Texans, that ship has sailed. 

I think KC just wants to get out of there healthy and ready to make a Super Bowl run. 

Take the Broncos at +10.5 at MaximBet.

Dallas Cowboys (-7.5) at Philadelphia Eagles 

Like the earlier game on the Saturday schedule, both these teams have already settled their postseason plans. The Cowboys have clinched the NFC East and the Eagles have clinched a Wild Card spot. 

The best Dallas can do with a win is move up to the No. 2 or No. 3 seed. The Eagles can boost their chances at a postseason victory by beating the Cowboys. With a win, they’ll probably set up a rematch with Dallas in the Wild Card round. Something they’d have to prefer over the Buccaneers, Rams or Cardinals. 

Take the Eagles at +7.5.

Adam Greene is @TheFirstMan on Twitter.

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