Philadelphia Eagles @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers predictions: Brady's Bucs could blow Philly away early

Tom Brady will be looking for another Super Bowl ring, but the high flying Philadelphia Eagles stand in his way over Wildcard Weekend. Planet Sport previews the game.

The defending champs have it a lot easier this year as the second seed with two home games to play if they can fend off the flying Philadelphia Eagles, who won four in a row to make the playoffs before resting their starters last week.

Tom Brady's running out of fingers for all his Super Bowl rings, but you can bet your life he's desperate to defend the title he won for a seventh time last season.

But could the Eagles prove to be the wrong team at the wrong time?

The Buccaneers: Brady needs to lead the way

The Bucs kept all 22 of their Super Bowl starters and have made a decent defence of their title so far, but injuries are a bit of a worry on both sides of the ball as they look to become the first repeat champions since 2004.

Back then it was, guess who? Yes, Brady and his Patriots winning back-to-back and although the Bucs are struggling with injuries at receiver and running back, he still has Rob Gronkowski and Mike Evans, and that means he'll be a danger.

At 44, Brady led the NFL in passing TDs (43) and yards - with his 5,316 being his most ever along with a single-season record for completions. And more importantly, Brady has Super Bowls before with far less talent than he has on show here - Brady and the offence will not be the problem.

The Eagles: The running men of the NFL

Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders

There's no secret to what Philly will bring, and that's the league's best run game who will fancy it against a creaking Bucs run defense - which has fallen away dramatically towards the end of the season.

Tampa Bay dropped from first to 13th in rush yards per game (78.4-112.7) and from second to 28th in yards per carry (3.81 - 4.93) in the last six weeks and against this Eagles side who will ground it and pound it all day long then that's a worry.

The Eagles have run it with a number of backs, and QB Jalen Hurts ran himself for 784 yards and 10 rushing TDs. Success on the ground will not only keep the game close but keep Brady off the field.

Buccaneers vs Eagles key stats

  • The Buccaneers ranked second in scoring offense (30.1 points per game) and total offense (405.9 yards per game)
  • Tom Brady joined Drew Brees as the only two players all-time with multiple 5,000-yard passing seasons, and joined Aaron Rodgers as the only two QBs ever with three 40-TD seasons.
  • Mike Evans is the first player in history to have 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first eight seasons.
  • The Eagles led the NFL with 159.7 rushing yards per game, and are first team since the 1985 Chicago Bears to run for 175 yards in seven straight games.
  • Jalen Hurts set a new record with five career games with two-or-more rushing touchdowns in his first two NFL seasons.

Buccaneers vs Eagles big match-ups

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady

It could be a no-contest between Brady and the Eagles secondary, which ranked 21st against the pass this season, but the big question and key to this game is how much of the ball Brady will get.

And that means how the Bucs go about stopping this running juggernaut that Philly will throw at them - as for as long as the game doesn't get out of hand then they'll just keep pounding that rock to stay in contention.

If Brady throws the Bucs into a big early lead then it's basically game over.

Planet Sport verdict

Philly are tough enough to keep this close, and they'll get their yards and probably their points and it may need Brady to produce some magic late on, but there's always a chance the Bucs just blow them out early.

Prediction: Eagles 20-27 Buccaneers

Latest news