As the Buccaneers get ready to play the Eagles on Monday, we here at Bucs Nation are ready to drop some predictions for Wild Card Weekend.
Tampa Bay is currently a 3-point underdog via DraftKings Sportsbook. Our staff weighs in with their predictions for the Bucs game and picks for the rest of the Wild Card Playoffs.
Gil Arcia: No Finger, No Problem
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts dislocated his finger last Sunday in New York. We won’t know his true game status up until the day of, but he’ll do everything he can to not miss a playoff game. He says he hasn’t thrown the ball since, however, that doesn’t matter. He still has his legs. Therefore, we will see more runs by the 25-year-old against the Buccaneers. The most rushing yards by a quarterback in a playoff game was in 2013 when 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick ran for 181 yards against the Packers. Not saying Tampa Bay will give up that much to Hurts, but he has the opportunity to rush for around 150 yards (157 yards against the Packers in 2022 is his career best) against a Bucs defense that has been inconsistent against scrambling quarterbacks.
James Yarcho: Death By 1,000 Paper Cuts
While we’ve seen the best and the worst of the Bucs over the last month, one thing has become an issue over the last two weeks - interior protection of Baker Mayfield. The Saints and Panthers were both able to generate pressure up the middle, which also took away running lanes from Rachaad White. And let’s face it, neither of those teams have the interior pass rush the Eagles do. So how do you counter that? Return to running through the air with dump offs to White. Pick up a few yards here, a couple yards there, and consistently set yourself up for 3rd-and-short. Rachaad White is going to be heavily involved as the security guy to get the ball out of Mayfield’s hands quickly and neutralize the Eagles’ pass rush. Give me Rachaad to have 150 total offensive yards and a score in this one.
Will Walsh: Battle of the trenches
Monday's game is a rematch from earlier this season and it will give the Buccaneers a chance to make the adjustments they weren't able to in these teams' first matchup (a 25-11 loss). This game will come down to play at the line of scrimmage. In week three, the Eagles' offensive line dominate as they ran the ball for over 200 yards. That efficiency allowed Philadelphia to control the game with nearly 39 minutes time of possession. For Tampa Bay to create a different outcome this time around, they need to be prepared to stop the Eagles' rushing attack.
Evan Wanish: Bucs fight hard, but come up short
I am definitely more optimistic about the Buccaneers chances to win this game than I was a few weeks ago. They are playing a banged up Eagles team that has also struggled mightily in the final month and a half of the season. Philly is 1-5 in their last six games including losses to three teams that missed the playoffs entirely in the Seahawks, Cardinals and Giants. However in the playoffs, the talent matters and even though there are questions around this Eagles team, they still are more talented than Tampa Bay. Last time these two teams met back in week three, the Eagles ran for 201 yards on the Bucs’ defense. With the weather forecast not looking so great on Monday night, I think the Eagles rely heavily on the run game once again and rush for 150+ yards as Philly ends the Bucs season in a hard fought, 23-17 game.