By Max Harper
Everyone has an opinion about the Eagles-Bucs game today, with Tampa Bay the 7 1/2-point fave.
Here’s what the Worldwide Leader thinks:
The Buccaneers have boasted the league’s top-ranked run defense the past two years but have looked vulnerable in that department the past two weeks, giving up over 100 yards on the ground in each of the last two regular-season games.
Pay close attention to the perimeter, where Eagles running back Miles Sanders is dangerous with his lateral quickness. The Eagles average 6.0 yards per carry, and the Bucs have given up 4.6 yards a pop. They also had issues defending run-pass options last week, and coach Bruce Arians acknowledged that Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts “is a lot faster than Sam Darnold.” Much will depend on how much Tampa Bay can get out of defensive starters Shaquil Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul and Lavonte David. — Jenna Laine
It will take a late scoring drive by Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady for the Bucs to survive and advance.
Sure, this is Hurts’ first playoff start and Brady’s 46th (Hurts was just three years old when Brady made his postseason debut during the 2001 season).
And yes, the defending champion Bucs are heavy favorites.
But Tampa Bay doesn’t have the same firepower on offense as it did in a Week 6 win over Philly, while the Eagles have established a new run-heavy identity (league-high 159.7 rush yards per game).
The underdog Eagles will play loose, physical and inspired football and put a scare into the GOAT. — Tim McManus