TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers start their run for a repeat Super Bowl championship on Sunday when they welcome the Philadelphia Eagles into Raymond James Stadium for a wild card round matchup.
Tampa and Philadelphia's offenses are almost exact polar opposites of each other. The Eagles rely on a strong rushing game that led the National Football League in rushing yards per game this season at 159. But, Philly's passing game struggled to rank 25th in passing yards per game behind the play of quarterback Jalen Hurts.
Conversely, Tampa Bay is powered by the high-flying passing attack led by quarterback Tom Brady. The Bucs passed for an average of 307 yards per game in 2021-2022, leading the NFL. However, the Bucs struggled to run the ball, especially in the last few games as the team's best running back Leonard Fournette was out with an injury. Tampa ran for fewer than 100 yards per game, ranking 26th in the league.
On the bright side for the Bucs, the defense has been stout through much of the season, especially against the run. Tampa Bay ranks 5th overall in points allowed, third in rushing yards allowed and fifth in rushing touchdowns allowed this year.
When opponents throw the ball, the Bucs do a good job of keeping them out of the end zone, ranking 13th in passing touchdowns allowed this year. Tampa does allow a lot of passing yards, but that's because the run defense shuts down the opponent, forcing them to abandon the run and pass the ball almost exclusively.
The Bucs also have been very efficient on both sides of the ball in the red zone. Tampa's offense ranks second in the league in red zone touchdown scoring. Defensively, Tampa ranks 10th in the league in red zone touchdowns allowed.
And the red zone could be Philly's Achilles heel. When opponents have reached the red zone against the Eagles, they've scored 67 percent of the time, giving Philly's defense a red zone defense a ranking of 28th.
- Philadelphia Eagles vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Sunday, 1 p.m.
- Raymond James Stadium
- Vegas line: Buccaneers -8.5
- Vegas over/under: 49
- Temperature: upper 60's
- Rain: 50% chance
- Winds: South 8-14 mph; gusts as high as 24 mph