Eagles at Buccaneers predictions for wild-card round in NFL playoffs

Eagles at Buccaneers predictions for wild-card round in NFL playoffs originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The No. 5-seeded Eagles (11-6) will be on the road to face the No. 4-seeded Buccaneers (9-8) in the wild card round of the NFC playoffs on Monday night football.

Let’s get to our predictions:

Reuben Frank (13-4)

There are so many reasons to pick the Eagles this week. The Bucs rank 23rd in the NFL in offense and 23rd in defense. They’re 3-7 vs. winning teams. Their quarterback is journeyman Baker Mayfield and he’s dealing with a bunch of injuries. Their coach is Todd Bowles, who’s coached the 10th-most games in NFL history without a postseason win (101). The Eagles have a veteran-laden team that played in the Super Bowl 11 months ago. The Eagles had a better record on the road (5-4) than the Bucs had at home (4-4). I could go on and on. On paper, the Eagles are a better team. Much better. If you compared rosters, you’d pick the Eagles to win by two touchdowns. Which they did in September. But I just can’t do it. After what I’ve seen the last six weeks – and especially the last two weeks – I don’t have faith in this team beating anybody right now. The one thing they’ve been good at lately is giving games away with mistakes, penalties and turnovers. I feel like at some point Monday night the Eagles will have a lead, they’ll be playing well, they’ll have everybody convinced they’re going to move on to the next round, and then they’ll do something to mess it all up.

Buccaneers 23, Eagles 20

Dave Zangaro (10-7)

I’ll be honest. I haven’t been able to figure out this Eagles team all season so if Eagles fans are looking for a reason to believe in them on Monday night, at least I’m picking against them. That’s a tricky thing too. Because if you look at these rosters on paper, the Eagles are clearly the more talented team, even without superstar A.J. Brown. But talent alone doesn’t win and we’ve seen that down the stretch with these Eagles as they’ve lost five of six. And while the Buccaneers certainly aren’t a good team, they’re hot right now, winning five of their last six.

There are plenty of reasons to pick the Eagles in this game. The most obvious one starts with talent on the Eagles’ roster. But then look at the Bucs. Baker Mayfield is banged up and this is a team that barely beat the Panthers in Week 18 with the entire season on the line. I’ve had many people tell me this week that the Bucs aren’t a good team; and those people are right. But neither are the Eagles right now. They’ve lost to the Cardinals and the Giants and they can lose to anyone, especially a hot team at home in the playoffs. I think the Eagles can win this game but I just can’t pick them.

Buccaneers 23, Eagles 20

Mike Mulhern (12-5)

I’m following suit with Dave and Roob. Even before AJ Brown was ruled out, I was having a hard time convincing myself that the Eagles would magically flip a switch on Monday night. These two teams are going opposite directions and I don’t even buy the notion that the Eagles are a far more talented team.

The Bucs defense is clearly superior as are their offensive weapons, given this injury news. Even Tampa Bay’s offensive line has been punching above their weight this season. The one perceived advantage for the Eagles is at quarterback, but Baker Mayfield has done a nice job taking care of the ball this season while Jalen Hurts has a dislocated finger on his throwing hand. Couple that with the expected pressure Todd Bowles is going to bring and it feels like we might see the 2021 playoff game all over again.

In due time we’ll get more details on what ailed this Eagles team down the stretch, but something has been off for months now. Every Nick Sirianni press conference feels like a plea to keep his job, referencing past accomplishments and offensive rankings. The bottom line is losing five of six to close the regular season and flaming out in Tampa would turn the heat up to extreme temperatures on the head coach. It’ll be close, but an untimely turnover late in the game will do the Eagles in.

Buccaneers 23, Eagles 20

Subscribe to Eagle Eye anywhere you get your podcasts: 
Apple Podcasts | YouTube Music | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | RSSWatch on YouTube