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Bucs Wire staff picks for the NFC Wild Card matchup against the Eagles

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have played some important games this season in their hunt for the NFC South, now, every game is important, and to lose is to go home.

The Bucs are set to play the Philadelphia Eagles in the Wild Card round on Monday for their eighth playoff game in four years. They come into the matchup as betting underdogs, but public perception doesn’t quite match — the Eagles have lost five of their last six games and come into the contest far more injured than Tampa Bay. Should the Bucs win, they’ll move on to the divisional round, and should they lose, their 2023 campaign will be cut short.

We here at Bucs Wire make our staff picks for every game, and of course, this is no exception. See how we picked Tampa Bay’s playoff matchup below:

River Wells, Site Editor

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Plenty of people are picking the Bucs to upset the Eagles at home. I think, given how poorly Philadelphia has played as of late, that’s a very possible outcome — I also don’t think it’s going to happen.

The Bucs have been faced with two division-clinching games against inferior opponents the last two weeks, and they’ve come out decidedly slow and flat. Tampa Bay had the New Orleans Saints score 23 unanswered points on them in Week 17 and then could only put up nine points against the worst team in football in Week 18. As bad as the Eagles have been (and they have been bad), I just can’t expect anything different to happen under the lights for this Todd Bowles squad than what has happened the past two weeks to a team that was one scoring 29 or more points in three straight contests. The Eagles are hurt, but they have a better coaching staff and won’t falter under pressure like the Bucs have recently.

Eagles 24, Bucs 17

Jason Kanno, Contributor

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Two years removed from their last Wild Card matchup and three months since their last game, the Bucs and Eagles appear more evenly matched in this go around. The Eagles stumbled into the playoffs after their defense began to self-destruct over the past month, and the Bucs needed a major defensive performance just to make it in. The absence of A.J Brown could swing favor over to the Bucs, but after giving up 201 rush yards to the Eagles in Week 3, Tampa Bay cannot be one-dimensional in its game-planning. Forcing Jalen Hurts to carry the team is likely the plan given his struggles against Todd Bowles’ defense. Offensively, the Bucs have a window to abuse a reeling Eagles defense, a window staring directly at their linebacking corps. A mistake-free game from Baker Mayfield should get the Bucs to the divisional round.

Bucs 20, Eagles 16

Luke Adragna, Contributor

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been up and down for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the last few weeks. After a four-game winning streak, the Bucs haven’t looked great and they were barely able to overcome the Carolina Panthers’ defense last Sunday. However, it’s been a whole other story for the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles have lost five of their last six games and enter Monday without star wide receiver A.J. Brown. Philadelphia is also dealing with several injuries to key players like QB Jalen Hurts, CB Darius Slay, WR Devonta Smith and RB D’Andre Swift. The biggest threat for Tampa is the ceiling of the Eagles’ offense, but if they’re dealing with several injuries, it significantly increases the chances for the Bucs. Philadelphia is averaging 21 points over their last six contests, and Tampa is 8-2 when they hold its opponents to less than 21 points. If the Bucs defense can step up on Monday, they might just lead the way for Tampa to reach the divisional round. However, I think Hurts will find a way to overcome the road matchup and make do with his injury-riddled offense.

Eagles 28, Bucs 21

Story originally appeared on Buccaneers Wire