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NFL Wild Card Playoffs: Buccaneers at Washington predictions, preview, team news and more

Washington Football Team v Philadelphia Eagles
Washington Football Team v Philadelphia Eagles
Suryaraj Jain
ANALYST
Modified 09 Jan 2021, 08:57 IST
Preview
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For the first time since 2015, the Washington Football Team has made it to the playoffs. After beating the Philadelphia Eagles 20-14 in Week 17, Washington clinched the NFC East division title and a Wildcard playoff spot.

Nonetheless, Washington will host Tom Brady and the 11-5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday night. Brady looks to continue his playoff greatness for several years but this time with a new team, while the young Washington team coached by new head coach Ron Rivera looks to upset the Buccaneers and the deadly offense.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Washington Head-to-Head

The Buccaneers and Washington have met just 23 times in the past, with Washington leading the series 12-11. These two teams last met in 2018, when Washington defeated the Bucs 16-3.

Washington's season results: W L L L L L W L L W W W W L L W

Tampa Bay Buccaneers season results: L W W W L W W W L W L L W W W W


Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Washington Team News

Washington has several key offensive players questionable for Saturday, but all are expected to play nonetheless. However, it is unclear if Alex Smith will be the starting quarterback due to his continuous calf soreness. If he is unable to go or the team wants to limit his play, Taylor Heinicke will be the starting QB.

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As for the Buccaneers, top receiver Mike Evans is questionable but could possibly play on Saturday. He might be limited in number of offensive snaps, but Brady could still utilize his help.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Washington Projected Starters

Washington Football Team:

QB: Alex Smith and/or Taylor Heinicke

RB: Antonio Gibson, J.D. McKissic

WR: Terry McLaurin, Cam Sims, Steven Sims Jr.

TE: Logan Thomas

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

QB: Tom Brady

RB: Ronald Jones II

WR: Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown

TE: Rob Gronkowski


Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Washington Predictions

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There's no question that the Bucs have one of the best offenses and defenses in the league. Brady has the longest playoff history of being successful as well and considering the weapons he has now, unlike in New England, he could be explosive.

But Washington has proven to be an underrated team despite their 7-9 record. With Smith under center, Washington went 5-1 this season. Without him, the team went 2-8 otherwise. With their defense ranked at number two for the regular season, this could be the toughest defense that Brady and the Bucs will have faced in 2020.

Prediction: Buccaneers get a good start in the first half, only for Washington to catch up in the second half. Washington wins 24-21.

Published 09 Jan 2021, 08:57 IST
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