This an interesting wild card matchup in the NFC. We have the seven seed Philadelphia Eagles taking on the 2 seed Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The last time Tom Brady saw the Eagles in the postseason was back in Super Bowl LII. Philadelphia is a completely different team and Brady is no longer with the Patriots. These two teams met earlier this season when the Buccaneers beat the Eagles 28-22 on the road back in October. This Eagles team has been a lot better since October, while the Buccaneers are banged up a little bit on offense. Who moves on here? With that being said here is my preview for this NFC Wild Card matchup.
The Philadelphia Eagles completely turned their season around. They won six out of their last eight to clinch a playoff berth. Philadelphia has the number one ranked rushing offense in the league. They average just under 160 rushing yards per game this season. Since they transitioned into a run first offense, this offense has been tough to stop. Hurts is also the team’s leading rusher and adds 10 rushing touchdowns to the mix as well. Hurts struggled at times throwing the football this season, but his numbers were still pretty good. He threw for 3,144 passing yards to go along with 16 passing touchdowns and 9 interceptions. This offense is going to need Hurts to have a fantastic game in order to keep up with the Buccaneers offense.
Defensively, this Eagles defense has stepped up their game. They allow just under 108 rushing yards per game, while only allowing 22.6 points per game as well. This defensive unit isn’t one of the best we have ever seen. However, they play well together and defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon should be very proud of what this defense has done this season.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are looking to be the first repeat Super Bowl champions since Tom Brady did it with the Patriots back in 2003/2004. A lot of speed bumps have gone against Tampa Bay especially on the offensive side of the football. This receiving core will be without Chris Godwin who is out for the remainder of the season with an ACL injury, Antonio Brown who walked off the field and got cut by the team and currently has a banged up Mike Evans as well. Brady will need some people to step up in order for the Buccaneers to compete against a loaded NFC playoff field.
Brady looked like he turned back the clock this season as he threw for a career high 5,316 passing yards to go along with 43 passing touchdowns (the most since he threw for 50 in 2007) and 12 interceptions. This Buccaneers offense is the number one passing offense in the league and has scored the second most points per game as well. They will need everybody at the top of their game in order to win this one.
Defensively, this group picked up where they left off last season. They are tied for the fifth fewest points allowed per game, they allow under 93 rushing yards per game and are holding opponents to 348.2 total yards of offense per game. Their young stars are going to need to be big time in this matchup and will need to get the party started early in order to continue the trend back to the Super Bowl.
The Buccaneers are 8.5 point favorites with the over/under set at 48. I lean the over here, but I am worried that both defenses are going to play very solid overall. We move to the spread and 8.5 is a lot of points. Brady struggled last season covering the wild card matchup against an NFC East team. I think we see more of the same. Bucs win this game by one score. Give me Eagles +8.5 as my official play in this matchup.
-Chris Jones (@cjoneswho1212)
Featured Image (lineups.com)
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