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Saturday night, Wild Card Weekend continues with the 11-5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers visiting the 7-9 Washington Football Team. The No. 5 Bucs roll into the playoffs as winners of their last four games led by the 43-year old Tom Brady, while No. 4 Washington, led by the veteran Alex Smith, defeated the Eagles in Week 17 to clinch the NFC East for the first time since 2015.
Here is a look at some key stats, betting trends, and a free pick. Currently, Tampa Bay is a 7.5-point favorite on the road.
On the offensive side, the Buccaneers have the clear advantage. Tampa Bay averages 30.8 points per game, the third-most in the NFL, while averaging more than 390 yards of total offense. Meanwhile, Washington averaged just 21 points per game, 25th in the NFL, and ranking third-to-last with 338 yards.
There is also a clear difference in passing offenses, where Tampa Bay ranks second, and Washington ranks 25th. However, both teams are near the bottom of the league when it comes to rushing offense.
Tampa Bay and Washington are a little more evenly matched when it comes to defense. Washington holds the edge with 20.6 points allowed and 325 yards allowed per game, ranking fourth and second in the NFL. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay gives up 22.2 points and 350 yards, cracking the top-10 in both as well.
While Washington has the second-best pass defense in football, Tampa Bay has the league's best run defense. They are also neck-and-neck when it comes to sacks and interceptions, with Tampa Bay having 48 and 15 respectively and Washington amassing 47 and 16.
Beginning with the visitors, the 11-5 Bucs went 9-7 ATS, including 4-4 ATS on the road. But Tampa Bay has managed to cover in four of their last five games and has won each of their previous five games on the road.
For the home team, the 7-9 Washington Football Team went 8-7-1 ATS, which included a 4-3-1 record at home ATS. Washington has surged from their rough start, going 5-2 both straight up and ATS in their last seven games. However, they have gone just 5-11 overall in their previous 16 NFC games.
The Buccaneers will be closely monitoring the status of wide receiver Mike Evans. Evans injured his knee early in Tampa's Week 17 win against Atlanta and has not practiced yet this week. Edge-rusher Jason Pierre-Paul has also been out of practice this week dealing with a knee injury. However, Tampa Bay has gotten cornerback Carlton Davis back at practice, albeit in a limited fashion, while running back Ronald Jones is also practicing in full again.
As for the Washington Football Team, linebacker Thomas Davis Sr. was the only player on the injury report who has not practiced. Everyone else is limited, good news for the key offensive weapons like running back Antonio Gibson and wide receiver Terry McLaurin. Guard Brandon Scherff and cornerback Kendall Fuller are also practicing in a limited fashion.
When you are looking at the schedule of games this weekend for upset potential, this one stands out. Washington has the pass rush to make things difficult for Brady, and as we've seen in the past, a strong pass rush is the key to beating him. Also, Evans' availability could be huge.
However, it's hard to see Washington being able to score enough with Smith against a very good defense. I think this will be a lower-scoring game than nearly every other game during Wild Card Weekend, and while I think the Bucs pull it out, Washington makes it close and covers.
Betting Pick: Washington Football Team (+7.5).