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Eagles vs. Buccaneers: Wild Card betting odds, preview, and pick

Profile Picture: Jason Ence

January 12th, 2022

Tom Brady will seek revenge on Sunday afternoon, when the Philadelphia Eagles come to Tampa to face the Buccaneers in an NFC Wild Card matchup.

Sun, January 16 2022, 6:00 PM

TB Buccaneers

Moneyline

-375

Spread

-8.5

Total

O 47

PHI Eagles

Moneyline

+285

Spread

+8.5

Total

U 47

Eagles’ rebuild turned into playoff push

After trading away Carson Wentz and Zach Ertz, and starting just 2-5 on the season, everything pointed to a rebuilding year in Philadelphia. However, starting with a 30-13 win in Denver in Week 10, the Eagles won six of seven games, clinching a playoff berth in Week 17, which allowed them to rest players last week in a 51-26 defeat to the Cowboys.

The maturation and growth of Jalen Hurts has been key to Philly’s turnaround, along with their top-ranked rushing offense. Since a Week 8 win over the Lions, the Eagles have averaged 190 yards rushing per game, with their running backs toting the rock about 30 times per contest.

Hurts has run for 10 scores on the season, including two in the Eagles' Week 6 loss to the Buccaneers at home. Miles Sanders could return from injury for the game, which would be a massive boost to their rushing attack.

Hurts ranks 19th in quarterback rating, and despite his average pass distance being the fourth-longest in the NFL, he ranks 10th best in off-target rate this season, often throwing on the run.

His accuracy continues to improve, and he threw for more than 3,100 yards this season, in large part due to rookie and former Alabama teammate DeVonta Smith giving him a real downfield threat.

Philadelphia’s defense ranks second in the NFL in yards per completion and 10th in yards per attempt, but it has been torched at times by good quarterbacks.

The Eagles rank second worst in the league in sacks, and cornerback Darius Slay will need to come up with some big plays while matched up on Mike Evans, if they have any hope of slowing down Terrific Tom.

Buccaneers run defense will be tested

Speaking of the future Hall of Fame quarterback, Brady became just the second quarterback alongside Drew Brees to register multiple 5,000-yard passing seasons in 2021. His 5,316 yards and a franchise-record 43 touchdowns were league-leading marks, but he will make another Super Bowl run without the services of Chris Godwin or Antonio Brown.

Nobody has better success at turning no-name receivers into reliable players, but Brady will have tight end Rob Gronkowski and Evans to look for downfield.

Tampa Bay won seven of its last eight games, but the Bucs have shown some signs of struggle on offense at times. In their 41-17 win over Carolina last weekend, they had just 48 yards on 16 plays before a 37-yard throw to Evans set them up with a last-minute touchdown before halftime.

Running back Leonard Fournette is expected to return for this game, but he ran just 22 times for 81 yards in the earlier meeting with the Eagles, whose run defense has improved. Fournette and Ke’Shawn Vaughn will need to be able to provide some support on the ground to keep Philly’s defense honest.

The key will be Tampa Bay’s run defense. Ranked first in the league for the early portion of the season, the Bucs fell off mightily down the stretch. Over the last 12 weeks, only four teams allowed more than their 4.6 yards per carry, and they rank just 12th in rush defense DVOA despite often forcing teams to abandon the run game.

Eagles vs. Bucs injury report

Philadelphia EaglesTampa Bay Buccaneers
OT Lane Johnson: Questionable (knee)
RB Giovani Bernard: Questionable (hip)
LB Shaun Bradley: Questionable (shoulder)
LB Lavonte David: Questionable (foot)
RB Miles Sanders: Questionable (hand)
RB Leonard Fournette: Questionable (hamstring)
OG Landon Dickerson: Questionable (thumb)
LB Shaquil Barrett: Questionable (knee)

Eagles and Buccaneers Trends

  • Eagles are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 playoff games as an underdog
  • The Over is 4-1 in Philly’s last five games
  • The Eagles have covered in four of their last six games against Tampa Bay
  • The Buccaneers are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games
  • The Buccaneers are 6-1 ATS in their last seven home games as a favorite
  • The Over is 5-2 in the last seven games between these two teams

The Verdict

Tampa Bay jumped out to a 28-7 third-quarter lead in the first meeting, before Hurts led the Eagles back to lose by just six. Ironically, this game being on the road might be a good omen for the Eagles, whose 6-3 record away from home was the fifth best in the NFL. Hurts has plenty of experience facing hostile crowds in big games from his college days, and won’t be fazed by the situation.

The key for Philadelphia will be to run the ball, which is obvious, but it’s something it did not do in the first game. The Eagles ran just 19 times despite gaining 100 yards, and that is a mistake they will not repeat.

In their 40-29 win over the Saints in Week 11, the Eagles rushed for 242 yards against a New Orleans defense that ranked fourth in rushing yards and first in run defense DVOA this year.

The biggest advantage the Eagles will have versus the earlier meeting is tight end Dallas Goedert, who missed the Week 6 game with COVID-19. Hurts’ favorite target, Goedert has been the fourth-most productive tight end in the NFL since returning the following week, and will put pressure on Tampa Bay’s linebackers in the play-action game.

I expect the Buccaneers to win, as I’ve bet against Brady too many times to do it again. However, I don’t believe Tampa Bay should be favored by more than a touchdown in this matchup.

Take the Eagles to cover the spread, and pair it with the Over (47) to set yourself up with a Same Game Combo payday.

Score prediction: Tampa Bay 31, Philadelphia 24

NFL Wild Card pick: Eagles +8.5

Same Game Combo: Eagles +8.5 / Over 47 (+240)

Eagles vs. Bucs Pick powered by The Quant Edge

Our predictive engine is calling for the score to go Over the projected total.


 

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