Thanks to a late-season surge, the Philadelphia Eagles snuck into the playoffs and their reward is a Wild Card round matchup with Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Reigning Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay ended the season on a three-game winning streak but is down a bunch of weapons. The Eagles won three of four to close out the regular season.
Game: Philadelphia Eagles (9-8) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-4)
Location: Raymond James Stadium
Day/Time: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
Eagles at Buccaneers Betting Lines
Philadelphia had no incentive to win its Week 18 game against the Dallas Cowboys and got crushed 51-26 with Gardner Minshew starting under center. The Eagles’ playoff position was essentially locked up, so coach Nick Sirianni chose to give most of his starters the day off, rather than risk key injuries on the off-chance that Philadelphia could win and have a rematch with the Cowboys in the playoffs.
Minshew and running back Kenneth Gainwell kept things close for most of the first half, but Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott was on fire all night, completing 21 of 27 passes for 295 yards and five touchdowns. The second-string Philadelphia defense didn’t have much of a chance against a Cowboys team that really wanted the No. 3 seed. The Eagles didn’t come close to covering as six-point home underdogs and the Cowboys hit the over (46½ points) by themselves.
Buccaneers Clicking on All Cylinders
Like the Eagles, the Buccaneers didn’t have a ton to play for in their regular-season finale, but Bruce Arians chose to go with his starters to finish strong. That’s what Tampa Bay did, crushing the Carolina Panthers 41-17 behind a big game from Tom Brady (326 yards, three touchdowns).
The Buccaneers were going to have a Wild Card home game regardless, they just didn’t know if it was going to be against the Eagles or the San Francisco 49ers.
Rob Gronkowski had 137 receiving yards while Mike Evans caught a pair of touchdowns from Brady. Tampa Bay comfortably covered as 11-point home favorites and the over (43 points) was never in doubt.
After the win, Tampa Bay got some good news when the 49ers beat the Los Angeles Rams in overtime, securing the No. 2 seed for the Buccaneers.
The early betting markets pegged the Buccaneers as only seven-point favorites but that number quickly moved up to 10 points at some places. Right now, if you’re betting online, Tampa Bay is laying 9½ points with even odds — more of an 8½ with teaser protection in place.
It’s going to be hard for the Eagles to match the Buccaneers’ firepower but Tampa Bay is missing a bunch of key offensive starters, including Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown and Leonard Fournette.
If you’re making NFL predictions, the point total is at a high 49 points at the moment after opening in different markets at some broadly different totals. There could be a lot of movement here over the course of the week.