Bucs should follow familiar script against Eagles

by Gary Shelton on January 15, 2022

in general

David could return for Tampa Bay./TIM WIRT

Saturday, 4 a.m.

You don't need a prediction, really. By now, you know how this works.

You have an entire season of evidence. You have seen the slow starts and the strong finishes. You have seen a dizzy secondary unable to make a play. You have seen the injuries and the penalties. You have sensed the frustration of a team that isn't quite as good as it's supposed to be.

So now, it is the playoffs. Why should Sunday's game against the Eagles be any different?

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Jalen Hurts will break a couple of runs to frustrate you. The offense will be sluggish at times. There will be a couple of annoying penalties. Tom Brady will miss a throw or two.

This is who the Bucs are. This is how they operate. They are a fine collection of talent, but there are periods when they don't measure up to their resumes, and it is frustrating to watch. They will give up a third-and-12. They will interfere with a receiver. They may fall behind.

In the end, though, they will win, but it will be in a fashion that you are certain will never happen again. You will wonder why Brady doesn't throw more to Mike Evans. You will wish the hyped offensive line can open wider holes. You'll wonder where the run defense went. You'll wonder if the Bucs will stop anyone on third down. You will blame the coaching.

Then, Brady will find his rhythm, and the Bucs will win.

You've seen it before. Last week. And the week before. And the week before that.

Prediction: Tampa Bay 24, Philadelphia 21.

In other games:

Cincinnati 27, Las Vegas 17.

Buffalo 28, New England 24.

Dallas 21, San Francisco 20.

Kansas City 34, Pittsburgh 17.

L.A. Rams 35, Arizona 31.

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