The 2021 NFL playoffs continue with the nightcap of a Saturday tripleheader. The Washington Football Team hosts the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The 7-9 Washington Football Team is only in the playoffs because they happened to be in the lowly NFC East. Somebody had to win the division. The Football Team got hot down the stretch, winning five of their last seven games, to come out of nowhere and take the East. The Football Team features a great defense, ranked #2 in the NFL, and a terrible offense, ranked #30. They will be starting Taylor Heinicke tonight, a 27 year old quarterback out of Old Dominion who will be making his first NFL start. That doesn’t sound like a recipe for success. Nonetheless, the NFL is a game of matchups, and the Football Team’s defense holds the key to any upset hopes here. Tom Brady had a fine first season with the Buccaneers, but he faltered repeatedly against the better defenses he faced. The Football Team will be the best defense the Buccaneers have faced all year. That defense gives the Football Team a puncher’s chance of squeaking out a defensive struggle.
The 11-5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished the season with a flourish, winning their last four games after losing three out of the prior four. The Buccaneers, led by Old Man Brady, have flourished on offense lately, scoring 44 or more points three times in their last seven games. With perhaps the NFL’s best cast of skill players, an offensive line that gives Brady all kinds of time to throw, and the NFL’s #6 ranked defense, the Buccaneers should be primed for a Super Bowl run. The only fly in the ointment might be Brady himself, who has looked decidedly pedestrian every time he has faced a good team this season. Against the six playoff teams the Buccaneers faced this year (Rams, Saints twice, Bears, Packers and Chiefs), Brady threw nine interceptions and the Buccaneers went 1-5. A loss to the Football Team today would seem unlikely on the face of it, but the Buccaneers’ record against good defenses suggests it is not out of the question.
It’s the Football Team and the Buccaneers in the finale of an NFL playoffs tripleheader. Enjoy the game everybody.