5 Bucs to watch in playoff opener vs. Eagles

by Gary Shelton on January 16, 2022

in general

Barrett needs to big in return./TIM WIRT

Sunday, 3 a.m.

Tehy will be a little healthier on defense, but the Tampa Bay Bucs will still have to depend on backups when they play host to the Philadelphia Eagles at 1 p.m. at Raymond James.

Remember Antonio Brown, who left the team in a sulk a few weeks ago? He caught nine passes for 93 yards when the teams met earlier in th season.

Remember Leonard Fournette, who was declared out for the game on Saturday? He had 83 yards rushing.

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So, yeah, the rest of he Bucs' roster will have to cushion their losses.

The Bucs are an 8 1/2 point favorite, but there is a growing feeling that the Eagles can give them a game.

For Tampa Bay to pull out a win in its first playoff game, here are the five Bucs to keep an eye on.

  1. Tom Brady, quarterback: Brady is looking for his 35th playoff win (11 losses), but he'll have to get it without his top two running backs and two of his top three receivers. Brady is averaging 312.7 yards per game. He'll need about that many again.

2. Shaq Bzrrett, outside linebacker: The Bucs have missed Barrett's pass rush, but he'll also be important to help cut off the running lanes for Eagles' quarterback Jalen Hurts.

3. Davin White, inside linebacker: White didn't close the regular season out strongly. Last week, in fact, he had just two tackles in the win over Carolina. White needs to help plug. the leaks that have sprung up in the running game.

4. Rob Gronkowski, tight end: If Gronk can exploit the deep middle, the ups should be able to keep their drives moving.

5. Ke'Shawn Vaughn, running back: The Bucs don't need a hundred yards from Vaughn, but with Fournette and Jones both out, they need someone to pick up a few key yards.

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