No. 7 Philadelphia Eagles (9-8) at No. 2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-4)
Sunday, January 16, 1PM ET
Honestly, the Philadelphia Eagles have as good of a shot as any team of pulling off a first-round upset. They’ve won six of their last eight games and are coming in hot despite the fact they were trounced in their final contest of the regular season.
It helps their cause that the Buccaneers haven’t exactly been dominant in recent weeks. They were shut out by the New Orleans Saints only a few weeks ago, and got off to slow starts against subpar teams in their final two outings. Despite coming back in convincing fashion, they aren’t going to be as successful playing from behind against the Eagles.
For the Buccaneers, there are two focuses — get consistent production on offense and keep Jalen Hurts from running up the score. The Tampa Bay defense is more than capable of slowing down the Philadelphia ground game, but Hurts has been such a dynamic threat this season. If he gets going, he could turn this into a track meet.
In the end, though, I see the Buccaneers getting the win at home. They’re the defending champs, have an exceptional defense, and Tom Brady is tossing the pigskin. I’m not yet convinced they’re ready to go the distance, but surviving the Wild Card Round seems likely.
Either way, this will be one worth watching with plenty of fireworks expected.
Prediction: Buccaneers win 34-30