NFL Playoffs: Buccaneers vs. Washington odds, preview, and pick

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January 5th, 2021

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be prohibitive favorites when they visit the Washington Football Team at FedEx Field on Saturday night (8:15 p.m. ET, NBC). Tom Brady and company are scary-good when at their best, but Washington’s defense will put Tampa’s scorers to the test. Let’s dive deeper into this Wild Card weekend matchup to uncover the best available bet.

Sun, January 10 2021, 1:15 AM

Washington Football Team






O 46.5

Tampa Bay Buccaneers






U 46.5

Points coming in bunches for Bucs

Since suffering consecutive losses going into their bye week, the Buccaneers have reeled off four straight victories. They’ve averaged 37 points per game in this span, so it seems that Brady and head coach Bruce Arians are finally jelling on the field after a bumpy beginning.

Wide receiver Mike Evans left Week 17’s game with the Atlanta Falcons early with a knee injury, but an MRI revealed no structural damage, and he’s now considered “day-to-day.” Even if Evans can’t suit up on Saturday, Brady has an embarrassment of riches in terms of pass catchers.

Wide-out Chris Godwin is fresh off a 133-yard effort with two touchdowns against Atlanta, his best performance of the season. Tight end Rob Gronkowski has demonstrated that he still has some gas left in the tank this year as well (45 receptions, 623 yards, seven touchdowns). And wide-out Antonio Brown has taken full advantage of his second chance in the NFL, catching four touchdown passes in his last three games while amassing 20 receptions and 266 yards in that stretch.

Washington struggling to score

The Football Team offense slumped down the stretch, producing just 18.8 points per game over its last five contests. Alex Smith has been accurate in the pocket (66.7% completion rate), but he’s not stretching the field enough (6.3 yards per attempt). His six touchdowns compared to eight interceptions do not inspire confidence.

It’s also difficult to envision running back Antonio Gibson making much of an impact against Tampa’s top-ranked run stoppers.

Bucs stoppers rival Washington’s in intimidation factor

Washington defensive ends Chase Young and Montez Sweat will not make Brady’s life easy, but the same can be said for Jason Pierre-Paul and the rest of the Bucs’ defense against Smith.

“JPP” accounted for a team-high 9.5 sacks in 2020, with linebackers Devin White and Shaquil Barrett close behind at nine and eight, respectively. Veteran defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh added six sacks of his own.

Their daunting presence helped contribute to Tampa’s 25 takeaways in 2020, tied for fifth in the NFL. Washington gave the ball away 27 times this year, the fourth-worst mark in the league.

Will the Buccaneers cover in the Wild Card round?

Trends say take Tampa

The Bucs have covered in four of their last five overall, and seven of their last 10 games as road favorites. Washington has failed to cover in five of their last six January contests.

Score prediction: Buccaneers 27, Washington 14

NFL Pick: Buccaneers -7.5

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