49ers vs. Buccaneers: Experts predict Brock Purdy over Tom Brady?

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /

8-4. 4:25 p.m. ET. 48. Fox. Sunday, Dec. 11. 49ers -3.5. 6-6. 42

The 49ers host Tom Brady and the Buccaneers this Sunday, and it’ll be rookie Brock Purdy’s first NFL start. And he’s widely predicted to get the win.

Earlier this week, San Francisco 49ers rookie quarterback Brock Purdy joked with NBC Sports’ Peter King about squaring off against Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, the future Hall of Famer and the “GOAT.”

Purdy’s response to what’ll ultimately be his first NFL start and one that’s opposite Brady was pretty notable.

“Pretty cool,” Purdy said of his starting debut going against Brady. “The GOAT. He’s been playing football longer than I’ve been alive.”

It’s true. Brady’s career is in its 23rd season, while Purdy is not quite 23 years old.

At any rate, the 8-4 Niners can hope to ride Purdy in relief of an injured Jimmy Garoppolo while also boasting the NFL’s best defense, and that bodes well against a Buccaneers offense that has struggled to put up points this season, fifth worst in the league in that category, despite Brady’s seemingly ageless presence.

Yet the Bucs own the NFL’s fifth-best scoring defense, meaning Purdy isn’t exactly going to have a quick and easy debut as a pro-level starter when the two teams square off from Levi’s Stadium this Sunday.

San Francisco is still a home favorite, yes, but the interesting note is how most experts are picking Purdy to get his first victory as a starter over the GOAT, who just so happens to be returning home to play against his boyhood team for only the second time in his storied career.

Even though it’s a team sport, and it’ll be the 49ers defense that should likely get the credit for any victory over Brady and the Bucs, it’ll be Purdy’s victory, too, if these experts’ predictions wind up being true.

49ers vs. Buccaneers: Experts predicting Brock Purdy beats Tom Brady on Sunday

NFL experts are unquestionably recognizing Tampa Bay’s inability to score points and pairing it with the fact no other defense has given up fewer points this season than that of the Niners, and that same unit has allowed an average of only 11.4 points over the team’s five-game win streak.

Still, predicting Purdy to beat Brady for an opening NFL win is a pretty cool predictive piece, as these notable analysts suggested.

Gregg Rosenthal, NFL.com — 49ers 20, Buccaneers 17

"Brock Purdy, meet Todd Bowles. This is a challenging matchup for a 49ers offense that was streaky even with Jimmy Garoppolo behind center. Tampa Bay’s defense can throw blitzes and run stopping at a San Francisco group that will have to trust Purdy to make plays. He can do it, based on last week’s performance, and he won’t need to make that many plays, based on this season’s moribund Bucs offense."

Related Story: 49ers vs. Buccaneers: Week 14 betting odds, game prediction

Eric Moody, ESPN — 49ers 22, Buccaneers 20

"Brady comes back to his childhood home in the Bay Area with seven world championships to face Purdy, the first “Mr. Irrelevant” to start a game at quarterback in NFL history, with the Niners’ five-game winning streak on the line. Purdy won’t have the element of surprise like last week, but he will have some history to overcome: Brady is 7-0 against quarterbacks making their first NFL regular-season start. — Nick Wagoner"

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports — 49ers 26, Buccaneers 17

"The Bucs had an amazing fourth-quarter comeback Monday night to beat the Saints, but the offense struggled for most of the game. That’s never a good thing against the 49ers defense. The 49ers will start Brock Purdy at quarterback, but he will play well. The 49ers take it."

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