MUNICH, Germany — When the National Football League (NFL) announced its schedule earlier this year, it was reasonable to assume Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would be heavy favorites over the Seattle Seahawks in the league's first-ever game in Germany.
The Seahawks have been better than the Buccaneers on both sides of the ball. Geno Smith is playing at a higher level than the best quarterback of all time. Kenneth Walker III is stamping his place among the best running backs in the league. Pete Carroll has been invigorated by the quarterback change and appears to be enjoying life coaching the top team in the NFC West division.
The game hasn't quite flipped in public opinion, however. Tampa Bay remains 2.5 point favorites over Seattle, according to Vegas oddsmakers.
Based on the last nine weeks of football, there is no reason to believe that the Buccaneers are the better team.
- Matchup: Seahawks (6-3) vs. Buccaneers (4-5)
- Time: Sunday, 6:30 a.m.
- Location: Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
- Key Seahawks: Geno Smith (QB), Kenneth Walker III (RB), DK Metcalf (WR)
- Key Buccaneers: Tom Brady (QB), Mike Evans (WR), Chris Godwin (WR)
NFL history in Germany
The NFL has spent several seasons playing in London, but this year's game in Munich, Germany is the first time ever the league will play in the country.
The decision to put the Seahawks in the game is partly because the franchise has a strong following of German fans who have grown to love the team.
The German SeaHawkers, one of nine international fan clubs sanctioned by the Seahawks, and other groups connecting over their love of the Seattle-based football team will have a rare opportunity to watch the team in their home country.
Wallace Watts, who fans recognize as Captain Seahawks is leading a group of about 200 Seahawks fans who made the long journey to Munich to see the team take on the Buccaneers.
This weekend's game will be an international showcase for the power of the "12s," which have been long regarded as one of the most passionate fanbases in the league.
Revenge against Tom Brady
The Seahawks have faced Tom Brady just one other time since the Super Bowl in 2015.
Seattle won a 31-24 road matchup against Brady in Foxborough, Mass. on Nov. 13, 2016, over a year after its painful Super Bowl defeat. It was just one of the Patriots' two losses that season. (Note: New England did end up winning the Super Bowl in that season).
Seattle will never be able to undo its controversial decision at the goal line, of course, but any win over Brady would be nice as a small sliver of payback.
Seahawks 24, Buccaneers 21.
It's time to believe in the Seahawks as a legitimate team.