Okay LA Rams fans: Who ya like, Eagles or Buccaneers?

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

On Sunday, January 16, 2021, the NFC portion of the NFL Playoffs begins. In the Wildcard round today, we have the Philadelphia Eagles (7th seed) taking on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2nd seed) at 10:00 am PT. Later in the day, we have the San Francisco 49ers (6th seed) taking on the Dallas Cowboys (3rd seed).  Now the question is, who are you rooting for?

Let’s focus on the Eagles versus the Buccaneers for now, shall we?

The Eagles (9-8, 6-3 away) travel to Florida to challenge the Buccaneers (13-4, 7-1 home). It’s the battle of an irresistible force (that league-leading Eagles rushing attack) crashing against an immovable object (the NFL’s third-ranked rushing defense of the Buccaneers).  Conversely, the same can be said of the Buccaneers offense (Top-ranked passing offense in the NFL) tangling with the Eagles pass defense (11th-ranked passing defense in the NFL).

Something’s got to give. Which is it?

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Eagles or Buccaneers?

Clearly, oddsmakers believe the Buccaneers will emerge the victor. The Buccaneers are the favorite (-7.0) and almost nobody is predicting them to falter. Of course, we know how a unanimous panel of ‘experts’ picking against a team can sometimes lead to the upset, but will that hold true in this one?

The LA Rams have won the past two games against the Buccaneers and won the last meeting with the Eagles in 2020. The Rams, therefore, have no reason to fear meeting up with either team in postseason play. Logistically speaking, the Rams have reasons to cheer for the Eagles in this one. Why?  If the Eagles win, they will travel to face the Green Bay Packers, and the Rams will face the winner of the 49ers vs. Cowboys game. If the Bucs win, then the Rams will need the 49ers to upset the Cowboys in order to delay traveling to Lambeau Field.

Historically speaking, the Rams have matched up well against the Buccaneers, and I believe they will if they meet in the playoffs too. If the Eagles advance, that could trigger a third 49ers-vs.-Rams showdown next weekend if they get past the Cowboys.

The Buccaneers are a safe bet in this one, and I think they will be too much for the Eagles. But this one could be closer than some expect.

54. 30. 48. Prediction. 27