Eagles vs. Buccaneers Predictions and Expert Picks for the Wild Card Round: Will Baker Mayfield End Jalen Hurts’ Season?

For the final game of the NFL Wild Card Weekend, we give our Eagles vs. Buccaneers predictions, best bets, and more.

The final matchup of NFL Wild Card Weekend between the Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers might be the most unpredictable of them all. In our Eagles vs. Buccaneers predictions, we review the NFL betting lines and give out our best bets. Can you trust this Eagles team as a road favorite after they went 1-5 SU and 0-6 ATS to end the season? We break it all down, but first, let’s review the Eagles vs. Buccaneers odds.

Eagles vs. Buccaneers Odds

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  • Spread
    Eagles -3
  • Moneyline
    Eagles -160, Buccaneers +135
  • Total
    43.5

Eagles vs. Buccaneers Predictions and Expert Picks

Blewis: I’m not sure how anyone can trust either of these two teams at the moment.

Although the Eagles weren’t as good as their once-10-1 record indicated, they had a historic collapse to end their season, and now they enter this matchup banged up on both sides of the football. After playing through most of the season with a knee injury, Jalen Hurts now has an issue with his finger on his right hand.

The Buccaneers, meanwhile, haven’t inspired much confidence themselves, as they secured their spot in the postseason with a 9-0 win over the 2-15 Carolina Panthers. Their quarterback is also not 100%, as Baker Mayfield is dealing with a rib injury.

I have no interest in picking a side in this one because no scenario would surprise me. The Eagles have given us no reason to believe they’ll flip the switch, but this team is still ridiculously talented on paper and is capable of winning by more than a field goal. That is why, for this game, I am going to take the Eagles’ team total under of 23.5 points.

The Eagles scored 25 points at Tampa Bay back in Week 3, but they were far healthier on offense during that game than they are now. Not only is Hurts dealing with a finger injury, but their best weapon A.J. Brown is out for this game with a knee injury.

Another factor here is that the Eagles will be going against a Tampa Bay defense that blitzed at the third-highest rate in the NFL during the regular season. The Eagles have struggled against the blitz all season long, and they haven’t shown they have any answers to adjust, which was on full display against the New York Giants last week.

Knowing their struggles against the blitz, combined with injuries to their quarterback and top playmaker, I think the Eagles’ game plan will be to try and win with their rushing attack, especially considering they ran for 201 rushing yards against the Bucs earlier this season. That type of offensive game plan should play in our favor here.

Pick: Eagles under 23.5 (-118 at FanDuel)

Bearman: Even three weeks ago, I would have never considered the Buccaneers here, and while I still don’t love it, I have lost complete faith in the Eagles.

We knew the Eagles’ 10-1 record was a little fishy based on seven of their wins being by one score, but what really bothers me was their 1-5 finish down the stretch with the division on the line. They got blown out by the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys and had three unacceptable losses to the Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, and Giants.

MORE: NFL Playoff Bracket

As for Tampa Bay, I don’t think they’re very good, considering they’re in the postseason because they won the worst division in football, and they did lose at home to the Eagles earlier this season. But that was in Week 3, and the Bucs won five of their last six games to finish the season.

Pick: Buccaneers +3 (-115 at DraftKings)

Soppe: This is a spot bet for me more than it is betting on specific personnel.

  • Both are top four in percentage of opponent yards gained through the air
  • Both have a top-five opponent pass rate over expectation
  • Both are bottom-10 third-down defenses (top-10 third-down offenses)
  • Both have an above-average opponent aDOT

Those metrics point to a lot of passing and several successful drives. What more could you ask for?

The Buccaneers are the third-worst red-zone defense in the league, while the Eagles allow the fifth-most red-zone trips per game. With star power on both sidelines (most of which is tied to the passing game) and defenses that allow plenty of scoring chances, betting this total fell into my lap when researching — it wasn’t my initial lean.

The Eagles are favored and averaging 29.9 points per game this season in their victories. The Buccaneers, meanwhile, are averaging 31 ppg in their wins since Thanksgiving that have not come against the Panthers.

If those trends hold and one of these teams touches 30 points, I feel good about cashing this ticket. Over tickets have cashed 57.5% of the time during the Jalen Hurts era in Philadelphia when the Eagles are favored (third highest), a trend I like to extend through this round!

Pick: Over 42.5 (-118 at FanDuel)

Katz: Rachaad White exceeded all expectations this year as a receiver. He’s without question an elite pass-catching back. But as great as White has been as a receiver, he’s been downright awful on the ground.

White averaged 3.6 yards per carry this season, which is somehow worse than last year’s 3.7; the volume will be there on the ground, but he’s just incapable of breaking off big runs. A mere 2.2% of his carries went for 15+ yards this season.

White carried the ball 272 times this season, and six of them went for more than 13 yards. Of those six carries, four of them came against teams that are in the bottom third of run defenses. Against teams in the top 10, White doesn’t have a single rush longer than 13 yards. The Philadelphia Eagles were inside the top 10 against the run this season.

Pick: Rachaad White longest rush under 13.5 yards (-115 at FanDuel)

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