Sunday Night 7: Tampa Bay-Washington

Will Gray
·6 min read



It's a playoff edition of Sunday Night 7, with a six-time Super Bowl champ taking on the most unexpected postseason participant.

Play for FREE for your chance to win or split a $100,000 jackpot every contest. Download the NBC Sports Predictor app to join the party right now. This week's game features the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Washington Football Team, as Tom Brady leads his new squad into the nation's capital against the 7-9 NFC East champs.

Here are the 7 questions for Saturday night's primetime tilt at FedEx Field:

#1 Tom Brady passing yards? Passing touchdowns?

< 215, 215-249, 250-284, 285-324, 325-349, 350+

0-1, 2, 3, 4, 5+

Brady knows a thing or two about postseason success, and he enters this year's playoffs on an absolute tear, having thrown for at least 345 yards in four of his last five games. That includes a Week 16 clinic against the Lions, where he completed 81.5 percent of his passes while averaging 12.9 yards per attempt. He likely will face a more difficult test this week, though, as defense has been the strong suit of a Washington team that made the playoffs despite starting the season 2-7. Washington is second in the league in both passing yards allowed per game (191.8) and yards allowed per attempt (6.4), while the former stat drops to 180.9 for home games. Tampa Bay is an understandable favorite, given their 11-5 record and six-time Super Bowl champion quarterback, but they'll need a well-rounded attack to get the win Saturday. Brady has actually thrown for 216 yards or fewer five times this season, and while it's unlikely he'll dip that low it's tough to imagine him keeping up the pace he displayed over the closing weeks of the regular season. The 285-324 yard option seems like a likely landing spot, and put him down for two passing touchdowns which has been his bare minimum over the last seven games.

#2 Most total yards in first quarter?

Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, Ronald Jones II, Terry McLaurin, Antonio Gibson, Cam Sims, Any other Buccaneers player, Any other Washington player

Jones (81.6) has the highest yards per game average of the six players highlighted, but he has cooled significantly over the last four weeks while a larger portion of the Bucs' offense has gone through Brady's hands. It should be a similar story this week, as Bruce Arians lets the most successful playoff quarterback of all time navigate the offense on the road. So expect the Bucs to come out of the gates passing, despite the strength of the Washington D in that department, and they'll likely outshine any Washington player in terms of first-quarter yardage. But don't be afraid to take an "off the board" pick: star wide receiver Mike Evans, who hyperextended his knee in Week 17, is officially listed as questionable. Should he be ready to play, I could absolutely seem him becoming an early target as Brady looks to establish a rhythm on offense.

#3 Total points in second quarter?

0-3, 4-6, 7, 8-9, 10, 11-13, 14, 15-20, 21+

The betting total for this game is hovering around 44.5, with all but one game this weekend boasting a higher number. So points may be hard to come by, but by the second quarter both teams should have their offenses on track. The Bucs were actually fourth in the league this year in second-quarter scoring, averaging nearly 10 points per game in the quarter, while Washington was held below 6 points per. Tampa Bay will likely get into the end zone at least once in the stanza, and a 13-point estimate will allow for some other potential field goals to land while remaining largely in line with the expected full-game output.

#4 Longest pass completion in third quarter?

< 20, 20-24, 25-28, 29-32, 33-36, 37-40, 41-46, 47-54, 55+

This question will almost certainly be answered by Brady, who has thrown a completion of at least 46 yards in each of his last five games. By comparison, Washington's Alex Smith has thrown only one pass for more than 32 yards in his last six games. Brady has more deep weapons and knows what to do with them, even if Evans remains sidelined, while Smith is still dealing with a calf injury that limited him down the stretch of the regular season. If Taylor Heinecke gets the start for Washington in place of Smith, it'll be a truly uphill battle for the offense. It's tough to know if Brady's longest connection of the game will come just after halftime, but a 30-yard completion seems well within the realm of possibility.

#5 Longest field goal of the game?

< 27, 27-31, 32-34, 35-38, 39-41, 42-44, 45-47, 48-52, 53+

Weather shouldn't be an issue Saturday night, with temperatures expected in the mid-30s with a light breeze. So the kickers will have one fewer variable to deal with, and of the two starters it seems likely Washington will account for the longest kick of the game. Partially due to the offense's high efficiency in recent weeks, Bucs kicker Ryan Succop has only made one field goal longer than 38 yards over the last six games. By contrast, Dustin Hopkins has been a more significant offensive contributor for Washington. Hopkins' run of five straight games with at least a 48-yard make ended last week, but he still had a 42-yarder against Philadelphia. The home team may struggle somewhat to reach the end zone, so a 48-52 yard make doesn't seem out of the question given Hopkins' recent results.

#6 Last touchdown of the game?

Ronald Jones, Antonio Brown, Chris Godwin, Antonio Gibson, Terry McLaurin, Logan Thomas, Any other Buccaneers player, Any other Washington player

This is another question where the safe bet is to lean on the visitors, especially given the quarterback concerns for Washington. Tampa Bay will likely score the most points, whether you're talking about early or late in the proceedings. A close game would likely play into Brady's hands, while a blowout could also still see Tampa close out the scoring. While Gibson has the most touchdowns (11) of anyone in the group, here it makes sense to lean on the ground game and go with Jones who has reached the end zone in four of the last five games.

#7 Winner? Margin of victory?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers or Washington Football Team?

1-2, 3, 4-5, 6, 7, 8-9, 10-11, 12-13, 14, 15-16, 17-18, 19-20, 21+

Washington may be the darling of the postseason, but it's a fool's errand to bet against Brady in the playoffs. The Bucs are deserved favorites, laying more than a touchdown on the road, and it's hard to envision even a stout Washington Defense slowing down a potent passing attack enough for Washington to keep pace on the other side of the ball, potentially with their emotional leader and starting quarterback sidelined by injury. Washington's remarkable run to the playoffs won't lose any luster, but it'll be Tampa Bay rolling on to the next round after a 31-13 win.