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|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||-8.5
|Washington Football Team||+8.5
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Even with the extra points from the oddsmakers, Washington might not be able to score enough to make it worth betting against the GOAT.
Buccaneers -8.5 (-109)
|Buccaneers vs Football Team Information|
|What||Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Washington Football Team|
|Where||FedExField in Landover, MD|
|When||Saturday, January 9, 2020; 8:15 PM ET|
|How to watch||NBC|
The 11-5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers have GOAT QB Tom Brady to thank, the veteran future Hall of Famer responsible for 40 touchdown passes and just 12 interceptions in 2020, leading his brand new team to their first playoff appearance since 2007 and the fifth NFC seed, now with the 7-9 Washington Football Team the only thing keeping them from the Divisional Playoffs.
Should it be the New York Giants instead of Washington playing in this game? Maybe, but that Week 17 loss by the Eagles allowed the Football Team to sneak into the playoffs as the NFC East Champs, but even led by the inspirational QB Alex Smith, Washington does not seem to have what it takes to outscore Tom Brady’s Bucs.
These two NFC rivals have played each other 23 prior times (including 2 postseason games), with the Washington Football Team winning 12 of those games and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers winning 11 of the games.
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Seeing Bucs QB Tom Brady’s old team, the New England Patriots, not make the playoffs while Tampa Bay and the GOAT get to play football in January must be incredibly satisfying for his biggest fans who understood what he meant to that Pats team for so long.
Now Brady gets to show the football world that regardless of what color his uniform is, he is the greatest quarterback of all time, especially when it comes to the postseason, where he is 30-11 with 73 touchdowns and 35 interceptions.
Brady completed 65.7 percent of his passes this season, which is almost two points above his career average (64.0), and now the Bucs need him to bring his playoff consistency to the Bay and take care of these underdogs from Washington.
For a guy that didn’t even play during 2019, Washington QB Alex Smith certainly gets the job done, jumping mid-season into the starting role for his team and ending up with a 5-1 record on the season and leading his team to the playoffs.
Smith has had great numbers when he has played, completing 168-of-252 passes for 1,582 yards and 6 touchdowns and 8 interceptions, which gives him a 66.7 completion rate for the year, four points over his career average.
The eight picks are a problem, for sure, but an even bigger worry for Smith is his injured calf, which has him listed as questionable for Wild Card Weekend, a game-time decision for head coach Ron Rivera.
Nobody seems to have more fun playing football than Tampa Bay tight end Rob Gronkowski, arguably one of the best players at his position to ever play the game, with 86 total touchdowns in his career, averaging 15 yards per reception.
Retired last season, Gronk decided to play again this year with his old friend Tom Brady, and the two have quickly become a popular connection in Tampa Bay, so far with 45 catches together for 623 yards and 7 touchdowns in 2020.
But the postseason is where Gronkowski and Brady shine, which is when Gronk seems to be able to get conveniently open and opponents are unable to bring him down, an exciting scenario that should come into play at some point during this matchup with Washington, especially while star WR Mike Evans’ questionable knee heals up.
Washington WR Terry McLaurin has been in the NFL for two seasons now, and the former Ohio State Buckeye has already made his mark as a reliable go-to deep threat for whoever happens to be under center for the team that day.
So far, McLaurin has caught 87 balls this season for 1,118 yards and 4 touchdowns, which is three scores less than he posted during his rookie campaign in 2019, though his catching percentage did rise by 2.5 points from 62.4 to 64.9 in 2020.
Regardless of his effectiveness, right now McLaurin is questionable for this Wild Card battle due to his injured ankle that has been giving him trouble, though he was able to play through the pain in the team’s Week 17 win, catching 7 balls for 40 yards and a touchdown.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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