If you're not pumped up for this weekend, well, you're not a football fan. This is the single greatest sports weekend of the year and it includes the NFC Wildcard matchup between the 2nd seeded Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the 7th seeded Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. The Bucs won the NFC South and come in with a record of 13-4 while the Eagles finished second in the NFC East with a record of 9-8. The Bucs beat the Eagles 28-22 earlier this year on October 14 but the Eagles covered as 7 point underdogs. The Bucs are 8.5 point favorites in this game. Can the Eagles cover again?
Eagles finish strong to clinch berthThe Philadelphia Eagles are happy to be here -- and they should be with a record of 9-8. But can they take the next step and win a game in the playoffs against the defending Super Bowl champions? That's a tall order. The good news is that the Eagles will have some key players back including quarterback Jalen Hurts and running back Jordan Howard. Also, Miles Sanders is questionable. But the Eagles finished strong to earn their playoff berth, winning 4 of their last 5 and 6 of their last 8. And their 51-26 loss in the season finale to Dallas shouldn't really count as the Eagles rested most of their key players after clinching the week before.
So they come into this game playing pretty well. They lost to the Bucs back on October 14 28-22 at home and covered but the final is a little misleading as the Bucs built a 28-7 lead late in the third and only two garbage touchdowns by the Eagles let them cover the spread. When you look at the numbers, it was a beatdown as the Bucs outgained Philly 399 to 213, held the ball for nearly 40 minutes to 20 for Philly, and had 27 first down to 16 for the Eagles. The Eagles do have some injuries, notably on the offensive line, as Lane Johnson and Landon Dickerson are questionable. They'll need that O-line firing on all cylinders as the run game is their strength, as they lead the league with 159.7 rushing yards per game.
Bucs ready to defendThere's been a lot of noise around the Tampa Bay Bucs this season, most of it coming from the antics of Antonio Brown, who is no longer with the team. Then there is the injury to superstar wideout Chris Godwin, who is out for the season. But the Bucs just keep on winning. They are 13-4, won their division, and are the second seed in the NFC. And no one wants to go up against the greatest of all time, Tom Brady, in a playoff game, no matter who he's playing alongside. The fact is, the Bucs do have some issues at receiver. The two stalwarts, Mike Evans and tight end Rob Gronkowski, are good to go, but beyond that -- what does the receiving corps look like?
Bucs designate Leonard Fournette, Lavonte David, Giovani Bernard to return from IR. https://t.co/XBiEepHNJo— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) January 12, 2022
Godwin and Brown are out, we knew that. But then Breshad Perriman is questionable and Cyril Grayson is doubtful. So that means Tyler Johnson and Scotty Miller will likely be leaned on heavily on Sunday. Leonard Fournette's return would help (not expected to play). Ronald Jones is doubtful, but the Bucs have gotten some nice production from LeVeon Bell in the past few weeks. As for the Bucs, we all know what they can do. They are second in points scored and total yards, and 1st in passing yards. They are fifth in points allowed and have the third-best defense against the run. Their passing defense is more vulnerable, ranking 21st.
- Buccaneers are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games as a home favorite.
- Buccaneers are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 home games.
- Buccaneers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. NFC.
- Buccaneers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- Eagles are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games as a road underdog.
- Eagles are 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. NFC.
- Eagles are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 Wildcard games.
- Eagles are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.