If there was a Bizzaro World version of the Philadelphia Eagles that showed up to the Wild Card Round game... If there was one single ounce of competitive juice and that juice allowed them to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they would have been boat-raced by any team in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs. There was no run for this team to go on, only a fluke performance to delay the inevitable was possible one week ago.
All that means is this weekend will be much more fun for us. We get the rest of the postseason to allow ourselves to root against everyone and hope for chaos. After the hell that we’ve gone through for the last two months, that’s a well-earned relief.
Guess what? There are some interesting games to watch in the National Football Conference.
It's the divisional round without the Eagles. Chaos reigns supreme.
The San Francisco 49ers vs. the Green Bay Packers
It’s probably safe to say that if not 100%, then 99% of Eagles fans want the San Francisco 49ers to lose this game. The good new here is that if things go our way, then this game is going to be an electric factory. If the 49ers take over the way they are wont to do, this will just be another postseason snooze fest.
Green Bay +9.5
This pick is based on us potentially seeing the Green Bay Packers we saw last week. If we get those Packers? If we get the Packers that turned the Dallas Cowboys defense into rotten cabbage? Those Packers will be able to keep this game close and potentially winnable.
Maybe they won’t be able to do it with a dominant run game against a physically smaller defense like Dallas had. Still, Jordan Love can sling it, and sling it Jordan must!
The biggest issue here is going to be the Packers’ ability to affect Brock Purdy. San Fran's QB is a smaller, and potentially squirrely kind of player. If he gets smacked around and pressured early and often, the Packers’ defense will have a much better time on Saturday night.
Unfortunately, Green Bay's defensive coordinator is Joe Barry. Any Packers fan or person who is moderately familiar with that team would probably tell you that the Wild Card Round game was a fluke performance for him.
For context, the horrible Eagles defense that we watched was ranked 29th in defensive DVOA. The Packers are ranked 27th… So… Yeah, not great. They’ll have their hands full on defense, but they’ll be rock steady on offense. Go Pack Go, or whatever.
The Detroit Lions vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Listen, you can’t be mad at Baker Mayfield. The guy has gone through literal football hell. He has risen like a phoenix. All he did was play his game and it worked really well. Now he’s a quarterback in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. Did he beat the Eagles to do that? Yes, he did, so for that we're a little peeved. Let's be honest though. Anyone could have beaten Philadelphia.
Prediction: Tampa Bay +6.5
This isn’t about how the Buccaneers are going to stay in this game, it’s about how the Lions aren’t going to walk away with this game. Yes, the Lions have a good offense and they’re going to put up points, but their defense is just not all that great. It’s kind of like what we thought the Eagles were going to be like this year.
They’ll be able to get some stops, but not consistently enough to get and keep a big lead on a swagger-filled Baker Mayfield offense.
Last week we saw the biggest issue with this Buccaneers offense: the drops. If that offense could’ve actually consistently caught the ball, the Eagles would’ve lost by 50. Drops aren’t an issue that’s going to get cleaned up this late into the season. We’ll see a handful of drives that end because of those drops, and that will probably end Tampa Bay’s season.