4 reasons why the Eagles will beat the Buccaneers in the NFL Wild Card round

Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Josh Sweat (94) and safety Sydney Brown (21) react after a tackle against the Seattle Seahawks during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Dec. 18, 2023, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

Things aren’t very sunny in Philadelphia right now. The Eagles are limping into the NFL playoffs to face a team they decimated on the ground back in week 3. But the tables have turned, the Bucs have home-field advantage, and they are very much in rhythm as the playoffs approach.

With that said, there is only so much negativity that can be written about. The Eagles are still an incredibly talented team and are favorites in this game for a reason. So here are 4 reasons why the Eagles will beat the Buccaneers this weekend.

‘The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled…’

For some reason, there has been a growing sense that the Eagles have been playing possum over the last month or so. That once a spot in the playoffs had been secured, Philadelphia simply took their foot off the gas knowing that nothing mattered between then and the postseason. Is this sheer delusion, or does it hold weight?

Dallas Goedert was on record recently saying: “Ever since 4 or 5 weeks ago when we clinched the playoffs, I think everybody has just been waiting for the playoffs.

Nick Sirianni and Jalen Hurts have done anything but inspire confidence in that span as external pressure has continued to build. The offense looked stale, the defense predictably got worse with a Coordinator change, and the Eagles looked to have the wind knocked out of their sales…or did they?

As a die-hard wrestling fan and an unfortunate soul who is intertwined with the Eagles, this does just feel like the perfect spot to become fully delusional and convince myself that the Eagles have coasted into the postseason in a bid to stay healthy before shocking the world in the weeks to come.

‘The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he doesn’t exist’.

Trench play

When the Eagles soared past the Bucs back in September, they amassed an astonishing 201 rushing yards. While the Bucs defense did later rebound to rank fifth in the NFL against the run, trench play could full the day in Tampa Bay…I say?

The Bucs have allowed 40 sacks this season, but 3 of those came against a lowly Panthers pass-rush that had nothing to play for. The Eagles are bringing likely Defensive Rookie of the Year, Jalen Carter, and the likes of Haason Reddick & Josh Sweat into Florida with hopes of bullying Baker Mayfield into submission.

Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick celebrates after sacking Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)

If the Eagles can establish the run, while also getting pressure on Baker Mayfield, they have every chance of stopping this game from becoming what otherwise felt like an inevitable shootout due to Tampa’s revamped passing attack and Philly’s leaky defense.

Underdogs and revenge

The Buccaneers and Eagles have a long and complicated playoff history. Even their most recent postseason encounter was a nightmare for Philadelphia, who were bounced out of the first-round in 2021 in a shocking 31-15 defeat. Revenge has to be on the mind of veterans like Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, and Jason Kelce, who could all be playing their final games as Eagles…

On top of that, the Eagles have unintentionally backed themselves into a corner. We know that this City embraces being the underdog. The Dog masks, the Meek Mill entrance, we’ve seen it all. The Birds are now back there again through their own doing. If there is ever a time that demands them to play to the level that their adoring fans know they can, it’s in a win-or-go-home scenario against a team they’ve already dispersed of once this season.

Philadelphia Eagles running back Kenneth Gainwell runs past New York Giants linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux (5) and linebacker Micah McFadden during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Dec. 25, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

At the end of the day…

The Eagles are one season removed from a Super Bowl appearance. Their roster has only gotten better and they have beaten some of the best the NFL has to offer. The Chiefs, the Bills, the Dolphins, and the Cowboys have all fallen victim to Philadelphia this year.

Eventually, this spell has to end. The downward spiral has to find a floor.

Why not now?

AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson