It’s GAME DAY at Glory Days Grill – Come watch football all season long!
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Bucs game day is approaching, and it’s time for the PewterReport.com staff to offer up its weekly game predictions.
Let us know what you think in the article comments section and add your prediction, too.
BUCCANEERS vs. EAGLES
WHEN: Sunday, January 16, 2022 | WHERE: Raymond James Stadium | KICKOFF: 1:00 p.m. ET | TV: FOX
PLAY-BY-PLAY: Joe Buck |ANALYST: Tom Rinaldi | SIDELINE: Erin Andrews & Tom Rinaldi
RADIO: 98 ROCK 97.9 FM | PLAY-BY-PLAY: Gene Deckerhoff | ANALYST: Dave Moore | SIDELINE: T.J. Rives
SPANISH RADIO: 96.1 FM | PLAY-BY-PLAY: Carlos Bohorquez | ANALYST: Martin Gramatica
Join Pewter Report’s Matt Matera on PewterReport.com’s Red Board to talk Bucs football for a
live game day chat, starting at noon ET on Sunday all the way through to the final whistle.
Click the link below to access the Game Day Thread on the Red Board.
Glory Days Grill is featuring a NEW entrée that will have you wanting more. General Tso’s Chicken Wings are made with Glory Days Grill traditional wings tossed in General Tso sauce and served with red peppers and steamed broccoli. Topped with sesame seeds and scallions. Who’s trying these out?!
Brandon | Brooksville | Carrollwood | Fort Myers | Lakeland | New Tampa | Odessa/Lutz | Palm Harbor | Riverview | Sarasota | St. Petersburg | Tallahassee | Tyrone | Wesley Chapel
Scott Reynolds: Bucs Win And Advance In NFC Playoffs
Given the fact that the Bucs are dealing with some injuries and the possibility of rain and high winds on Sunday, this one might not be pretty. It doesn’t have to be. It’s the playoffs. Win by one point if you have to and survive and advance. The Bucs will get back veteran edge rushers Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul, and hopefully linebacker Lavonte David and running backs Leonard Fournette and Giovani Bernard. Will all come out of the gate swinging or will there be some rust to shake off after being out several weeks?
Bucs ILB Kevin Minter and S Mike Edwards and Eagles QB Jalen Hurts – Photo by: USA Today
Outside of a meltdown in coverage, the Bucs defense shouldn’t have to worry about losing this game through the air. The Eagles are the league’s top rushing offense, led by quarterback Jalen Hurts, who is averaging 5.6 yards per carry and has scored 10 touchdowns. Tampa Bay’s run defense has been tested recently, but mostly on the perimeter. The Bucs cornerbacks, linebackers and safeties have to do a much better job to slow down Philly’s ground attack. Todd Bowles wants to make Hurts beat his defense with his arm.
The Bucs have outscored opponents by an average of 33-17 at home where the team is 7-1. On the road, Tampa Bay’s margin of victory is just 27-24. That’s similar to the 28-22 score the Bucs had when they won in Philly in Week 6. Tampa Bay will need big games from Mike Evans and Rob Gronkowski, which is doable against Philly’s suspect secondary. I expect another close game, and another Bucs win over the Eagles.
Jon Ledyard: Bucs Defense Is Worrisome, But Brady Prevails
I enter the playoffs worried about the Bucs defense. Yes, I know the unit is getting healthier. In fact, the defense could be at full strength for the first time all season if Lavonte David plays on Sunday. But the reality is Tampa Bay has barely played together this season. And whoever has played on the field, has typically faced some pretty ridiculously bad opposing offenses. In fact, the Bucs defense has faced the easiest offensive strength of schedule of any defense in the NFL this season.
So yes, as the tests become more difficult, I think the Bucs defense could really struggle. Will the test become more difficult against the Eagles? We’ll see. Tampa Bay can stop the run at a high level, even if its execution has been a bit off lately. The Eagles are running the ball better than anyone, but I think you’ll see them pass on more early downs against the Bucs. Can the Bucs pressure Jalen Hurts behind a great offensive line? Can they keep him in the pocket and get him on the ground when they do get pressure? The game will probably be won or lost defensively based on those two questions.
In the end, Tom Brady and the offense probably need to have the better day. The Eagles are a zone-heavy defense who rely on their front four to get pressure. In the last meeting, the Bucs offensive line won the match-up up front. If they do so again on Sunday, Brady can have a surgical day. It’s hard to know how dominant the Bucs can be given the injuries they’ve had all season, but I think they can escape the wild card with a win.
Matt Matera: Returning Players Help Bucs Win In A Close Call
In order for the Bucs to win on Sunday, they need to get back to fundamental football on defense. Luckily, they’ll have Shaq Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul and hopefully Lavonte David to do so. If David is in, I’m not as worried about the Bucs ability to stop the run. Barrett is great at setting the edge as well. But Tampa Bay has to tackle well and stay in the gaps no matter what. The defense can’t let Jalen Hurts escape to the outside. If the Bucs handle that, they’ll win.
Bucs RB Leonard Fournette – Photo by: USA Today
We know on offense that the offense is going to run through Mike Evans and Rob Gronkowski. The addition of Leonard Fournette is exactly what Tampa Bay needs as a third option in the passing game. Philadelphia won’t allow the big play, so the Bucs have to be patient moving down the field and attack the open spots in coverage. That’s where Fournette comes in. It’s time for Lombardi Lenny to activate and it starts with helping out in the passing game.
I’m intrigued to see which tight end stands out in this game. Remember, neither Gronk or Dallas Goedert played in the last meeting between these two teams. And yet other tight ends on each offense still had a productive game. Goedert could be a handful for the Bucs’ defense. But if Gronk continues to rack up 100-yard games like his last two, then Tampa Bay’s offense won’t have many issues. It’s going to be a close one and the Bucs need to have a better start than they’ve had. But the home-field advantage helps them move to the next round.
JC Allen: Bucs Stifle Philly’s Run Game, Advance To Divisional Round
The Bucs open up wild card weekend with their first home game since 2007. It’s a good thing they’re playing at home too. On the Season the Bucs are 7-1 when playing at Raymond James Stadium and average 33 points per game. While giving up and average of just 17 to opponents.The Florida heat may not be a factor, but the fans certainly will. The keys for Tampa Bay will be something the team has struggled with in recent weeks on both sides of the ball – fast starts.
Tackling has been an issue for the defense, allowing teams to convert and extend drives. That’s exactly what Philly wants to do. Long, extended drives milking time off the clock with their number one rated running attack.If Tampa Bay gets Lavonte David back it will go a long way to thwarting that game plan. The Bucs’ easiest path to victory is forcing Philly to pass.
The offense will need to get going early and score points on as many possessions as they can. Build a large enough lead and it will take the Eagles right out of their game plan and what they do best. Run the ball. With the potential return of Leonard Fournette the hope is the Offense can attack the underneath routes the Eagles zone defense gives up. Philly’s defense on paper looks to have no answers for Gronk, who has been on a tear in recent weeks. Those two players should be key factors in what ultimately results in a Bucs’ victory and playoff advancement.
Much has changed for the Eagles since their Week 6 loss to the Buccaneers on Thursday Night Football. On the surface, they’ve gone 7-4 after their 2-4 start. Many point to the Eagles’ early down strategy shift. Through their first six games, Philadelphia dropped back on 62 percent of neutral first downs – one of the highest marks in the league (drop-backs include quarterback scrambles on called passes). Since then, that rate has plummeted to 39 percent. And while their overall efficiency has gone up when combining all downs, they’ve actually become a less efficient first down team. Up through their first game against the Bucs, the Eagles averaged 0.17 EPA/play on neutral first downs. From thereafter, their efficiency has dropped to 0.049 EPA/play. Even though Tampa Bay’s run defense has dipped slightly as of late, I think committing to the run would be an over-reaction by the Eagles.
Bucs QB Tom Brady and RG Alex Cappa – Photo by: USA Today
Less has changed for Philadelphia’s defense. Sure, they’ve mixed in a bit more man coverage, but that could also be explained by their softer schedule since week 6 (which, by the way, is likely the biggest factor in their improved record, too). This isn’t an exotic scheme. Instead, the Eagles rely on conservative coverages that dare offenses to play mistake-free football. They’re betting that the quarterback will become impatient and force a throw he shouldn’t. That’s not a great bet against Tom Brady. Expect Byron Leftwich to call a ton of play action this game, at least by his standards. It’s not because he’s been saving it for the playoffs. It’s because the Eagles are zone heavy, and Leftwich did the same thing in Week 6.
The Bucs should win this game. I don’t think any team in the NFL maximizes their win probability against the Bucs by pounding the rock, though Todd Bowles would love for the Eagles to try. Tone down the blitzes and be patient. Force Jalen Hurts to read things out rather than letting him throw hot. On offense, Brady should be able to dink-and-dunk down the field. While I think the Bucs will have success on the ground, they must avoid the pitfall of running on just about every first down. Use play action, let Brady hit guys underneath, and set up second-and-short for Leonard Fournette.
Will the best run defense in the league please stand up? Let’s hope that the stale Bucs defense that’s been on the field the last couple of weeks is revived by Sunday. Over the last two games, Tampa Bay has let up 260 yards on the ground. Something the Eagles will try and take advantage of. Philadelphia leads the NFL with an average of 159.7 rushing yards per game. The good news is that Shaq Barrett is set to return, and Barrett led the Bucs in tackles and had a sack in Week 6. Another key returner is Jason Pierre-Paul. While Pierre-Paul is still working though an injury and may not be as sharp setting the edge, his leadership role and influence is apparent on the field. The Bucs’ front four can manage the inside so they will need to contain the Eagles from making plays on the perimeter. They don’t want to give a quarterback with 784 rushing yards a chance.
Mike Evans and Rob Gronkowski were the faces of the Bucs’ season finale and will proceed to carry a lofty role in the wildcard game, especially Gronkowski. The dynamic tight end was not a factor in Week 6 and will present a threat to the Bird’s defense. Two other players the Eagles have not seen this season, Breshad Perriman and Scotty Miller. Miller finally found the end zone last week and if given the chance he will build off of that performance and Perriman has been clutch in crucial moments. While many of us are anxiously awaiting the return of Leonard Fournette, Bruce Arians announced earlier today that playoff Lenny will be a game time decision. Leaving Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Le’Veon Bell with opportunities to contribute an effective run game.
The most important element to a successful game for Tampa Bay is a fast start. They have struggled to get on the board in their first couple of series and take too long to get in a rhythm. This is a winnable game for the reigning super bowl champions, but they cannot wait until the second half to show up.