The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the surprise winners of the NFC South after an offseason of transformation and change. The team ended its campaign with a 9-8 record and a third straight division title. Its prize is a home matchup against the 11-6 Philadelphia Eagles in the wild card round. The Buccaneers come into the game at on the spread. They started the season 3-5 before rebounding with a 6-3 record the rest of the way.
The test for the Buccaneers will be keeping a sluggish Eagles offense quiet while taking advantage of a struggling defense. The Buccaneers have one of the worst rushing offenses in the NFL this season, averaging a league-low 88.9 rushing yards per game. The offense has thrived on the Baker Mayfield and Mike Evans big play connection and the passing game in general.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wild card round injury report
Potential key missing players
Mayfield’s comeback has been one of the better stories of the year. He’s gone from being without a team after the 2022 season to becoming the potential long-term answer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after an impressive 2023 season. This year, he notched a career-high 4,044 passing yards and 28 touchdowns while completing 64.3% of his passes.
The former No. 1 pick has some injury concerns heading into this game, though. He suffered a rib injury prior to the team’s Week 18 win against the Carolina Panthers and also hurt his ankle in the 9-0 win. Without Mayfield, the Buccaneers could face a tougher task, as most offenses would struggle to generate anything meaningful without their starter. Even if he plays, there’s a chance injuries could hamper Mayfield’s pocket movement and ability to scramble.
The Buccaneers’ fifth-round pick from 2021 has primarily been a special teams player in his first three years in the league. He’s made an impact on the Buccaneers’ defense over the last five weeks, however. The run started with an impressive performance against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 14 where he racked up eight tackles.
Britt has benefitted from the fact that the Buccaneers align in base defense 34% of the time per PFF, the second-highest rate in the league. He’s also proven to be a better coverage linebacker than Devin White and could see more snaps in nickel packages. Britt’s potential absence could also have a bigger knock-on effect, potentially dissuading the Buccaneers from lining up in base defense more often and also requiring White to spend more time in coverage — somewhere he has struggled in his career.