How to Bet Buccaneers vs Eagles
NFC Super Wild Card Round
Philadelphia Eagles @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers -8.5 | O/U 49
Sunday January 16th @ 1:00pm EST
Raymond James Stadium – Tampa, FL
The Philadelphia Eagles traded away the quarterback they drafted second overall in the 2016 draft and fired their head coach at the end of 2020. The result in 2021? A playoff birth. Their reward? A meeting with the defending Super Bowl Champion Buccaneers in the first round.
The Buccaneers have dealt with their fair share of adversity in the ladder half of the season. They lost Chris Godwin to an ACL tear, they lost Leonard Fournette to a hamstring injury, Shaq Barrett sprained his ACL and MCL, Jason Pierre-Paul hasn’t played since week 14 and Lavonte David hasn’t played since week 15. The list is long, but every one of those guys other than Godwin is hoping to return this week.
The Eagles decided to sit the majority of their starters in the season finale, which was likely a smart moving considering their style of play this season. Jalen Hurts could certainly use the rest after over 3,900 yards of offense this season.
Is it Possible to Run on Tampa Bay?
The Buccaneers front 4 has not been run on very often this season. Opposing teams are only running the ball on 33.5% of plays for just 92.5 yards per game. The entire league shied away from attacking their run front this season. The Saints did run the ball 30+ times in each of their wins over Tampa Bay though. On 63 carries they ran for 213 yards, not a great clip at 3.4 yards per carry but in one of those games they ran 31 times for 61 yards. We all remember that 9-0 Saints win.
Getting back to the Eagles, they did fall to the Buccaneers earlier this season. The final score of 28-22 didn’t really reflect what happened on the field. Tampa opened up a 28-7 lead and just sat on their hands for the last 20 minutes of the game. Hurts really struggled in the air, he had a 46% completion percentage. What was interesting though was their success on the ground, the Eagles averaged over 5-yards per carry.
Even if Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul play in this game, they won’t be at 100%. Attacking those two on the edges is going to be an important facet of the Eagles RPO attack. The Eagles know their identity, it’s running the football on 51.2% of plays, the highest rate in the NFL. Even though this is a tough matchup they cannot get away from it. Sirianni made the inexplicable decision to get a little more pass happy against the Giants in week 12 and it burned them.
As they say, dance with the girl that brought you. The Eagles rushing attack is not your typical 2000’s style, it takes a lot of discipline to defend it. As well respected as the Buccaneers rush defense is they haven’t seen this team since week 6. The Eagles have taken major strides since then. Maybe Sirianni’s creativity on the ground can take Tampa by surprise.
Will Brady Have His Way?
The Buccaneers offense is a complete switch of gears from Philadelphia. Tampa Bay throws the ball on 66.2% of plays, which is the highest rate in the NFL. This spells trouble for the Eagles secondary, the pass defense is 25th in DVOA this season. Part of their struggles comes from their lack of getting after the quarterback, they’re 31st in the NFL in sacks.
Leaving a clean pocket for Tom Brady is a death sentence, he threw for over 4,600 yards and 36 touchdowns in a clean pocket this season. Nobody was better in those categories. The elephant in the room here though is the absence of half of those guys he got the ball to so reliably. Antonio Brown is long gone and we already talked about Godwin as well.
The Bucs are one of the most clutch teams in the NFL this season, it helps when you’ve got the GOAT. Tampa Bay is 2nd in 3rd down conversion rate at 47.1% and 2nd in red zone touchdown rate at 66.2%. This looks like another area the Bucs can exploit against Philadelphia as they rank 23rd and 29th in those categories defensively.
How to Bet This Game
I mentioned that this Philadelphia team has made massive improvements in their offensive attack since the last meeting but it doesn’t mean it will translate here. I think the Buccaneers defense dominates this game and unlike the last matchup they don’t lose their focus. This Eagles team plays all too well into the strengths of Tampa Bay’s defense.
The Eagles would also much prefer teams run the ball against them, they’re giving up just 4.0 yards per carry on the ground. But as I mentioned earlier, it’s just something Bruce Arians offense doesn’t like to do. I’d expect to see this number at 9.5 or 10.0 before kickoff.