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Eagles at Buccaneers: 4 bold predictions for NFL Playoff game

Vincent Frank

The defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers will kick off their road to a potential repeat Sunday afternoon against the Philadelphia Eagles in one of six NFL Playoff games set to take place this weekend.

The host team is seen as an overwhelming favorite heading into this wild card matchup with Tom Brady still playing MVP-caliber ball. Meanwhile, Jalen Hurts and the upstart Eagles will want to make a statement.

Eagles at Buccaneers game information, point spread and more

DateTime (ET)TV
Sunday, January 161:00 PMFOX, FOX Deportes
  • Eagles at Buccaneers point spread: Buccaneers -8.5
  • Over/under: 46.0
  • Moneyline: Eagles +310; Buccaneers -400

Down below we offer four bold predictions for this NFC Wild Card matchup between the Eagles and Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium Sunday afternoon.

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Philadelphia Eagles’ DeVonta Smith nets career high receiving yards

eagles at buccaneers bold predictions: devonta smith
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

This former Heisman winner put up an Eagles rookie record 916 yards on 64 receptions during the regular season. It was a banner initial performance from the Alabama product and has DeVonta Smith looking every bit the part of a true No. 1 receiver for Jalen Hurts.

Smith is now set to take on a beleaguered Buccaneers pass defense without veteran Richard Sherman in the mix. The Bucs yielded 4,347 passing yards and a 65% completion rate to quarterbacks during the regular year. With Tampa Bay likely playing catch up all day, we’re expecting Smith to see a ton of action. That will lead to him netting over 150 receiving yards come Sunday afternoon.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers starters are pulled by the fourth quarter

eagles at buccaneers bold predictions
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

This 8.5-point spread seems smallish given what we’re seeing with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC. Tampa Bay ranked second in the NFL at 30.1 points per game and yielded the fifth-fewest points during the regular season. As for Philadelphia, its defense was in the bottom half of the NFL in points allowed.

The Eagles also posted a 1-7 record against teams with a winning record. Its only win came against a Saints squad in Week 11 that was starting Trevor Siemian at quarterback. In those seven losses, the Eagles were outscored by an average of 11.9 points per game. Simply put, this game is not going to be close. Expect Tampa Bay to win going away, pulling its starters heading into the fourth quarter in the process.

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Tom Brady has third career four-touchdown game

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New York Jets
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The first quarterback in NFL history to throw 700 touchdowns, playoffs included. An NFL record 83 touchdown passes in the playoffs. Seven Super Bowl titles. The all-time leader in completions, attempts, passing yards and passing touchdowns. Do we really need to go on? Tom is simply terrific.

There’s no reason to believe this will change come Sunday afternoon in Tampa. Brady is coming off a regular season in which he led the NFL in completions (485), attempts (719), yards (5,316) and touchdowns (43). He threw four-plus touchdowns a total of five times in 17 starts. Meanwhile, the Eagles yielded a 69% completion rate to go with 28 passing touchdowns during the regular season. Go ahead and do the math in your head.

Is Tom Brady the greatest of all time or a cheater?

Related: NFL picks against the spread, wild card edition

Jalen Hurts has just fifth career 300-yard passing game

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Football Team
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

As a sophomore this past regular season, Hurts was darn good statistically. The former Heisman finalist accumulated nearly 4,000 total yards to go with 26 touchdowns and a mere nine interceptions. Gone are the days of rumors suggesting that Philadelphia’s brass might look for an upgrade in the off-season. Hurts is the man. He’s the franchise quarterback in Philly.

While we don’t expect the Eagles to make this game too competitive, there’s every reason to believe Hurts will put up numbers through the air. Philadelphia will be playing from behind — pretty much eliminating the rushing attack in the process. It will all be on Hurts’ arm. Expect a rare 300-yard passing day for the young signal caller come Sunday.

Eagles at Buccaneers final score prediction: Buccaneers 41, Eagles 24

There’s no real reason to believe that Philadelphia has much of a shot in this one. As mentioned above, Nick Sirianni’s squad was 1-7 against winning teams during the regular season while losing by an average of double digits.

Even at his advanced age, Brady continues to play elite football. He still has the weapons on offense despite the injury to Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown’s relase. Look for the defending champs to pull off the biggest blowout if NFL Wild Card Weekend.

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