The Patriots surprisingly defeated the Steelers on Thursday night and while that ended New England’s five-game losing streak, it didn’t end the speculation surrounding head coach Bill Belichick’s potential upcoming exit.

Still a massively uncharacteristic 3-10 after defeating a team outside the AFC East for the first time this season, the Patriots remain on a downward spiral. Three touchdowns thrown by quarterback Bailey Zappe were encouraging, but it still doesn’t clear up the pitch-black cloud that’s hovered over New England since Week 1.

So, with that being said, back to the bye-bye Belichick rumors — even the “weird” ones.

“Throw the (Tampa) Buccaneers in there as teams that would be interested,” Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk explained Friday, per NBC Sports video. “I don’t know that Belichick wants to follow the same trail that Tom Brady blazed to Tampa Bay. I think that would be weird, but they could be at the table as well as potentially interested.”

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Like Belichick and the Patriots, the Buccaneers too are struggling to navigate their way to the win column without Brady. Tampa Bay sits second in the NFC South at 5-7 in the NFL’s weakest division.

If New England does decide to move on from Belichick after 24 seasons and six Super Bowl titles, there will be several critical looming questions following the 71-year-old to wherever his next landing spot is.

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“How much power does he want beyond coaching? How much power will he get? And whatever he gets, what’s he gonna do with it?” Florio added. “We’ve seen what he’s done with absolute power. He’s put together a team that before last night was 2-10.”

There’s the concern about Belichick’s ability to effectively execute a draft, which is especially prevalent in New England. Plus, the desperate attempts at filling the many voids in place through failed offseason additions that Belichick remains solely responsible for.

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If Belichick does end up in Tampa Bay, he certainly won’t escape the Brady legacy comparisons considering what the all-time legendary quarterback accomplished down there.

Featured image via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images