The reigning Super Bowl champion Buccaneers (4-1) make the trip to Philadelphia to face the Eagles (2-3) on Thursday. Both teams are coming off a win, and the Eagles are looking for their first home victory.
- Moneyline: Tampa Bay (-300) | Philadelphia (+240)
- Spread: Tampa Bay -7 (+100) | Philadelphia +7 (-118)
- Total: 52.5-Over (-110) | Under (-110)
- Game Info: Oct. 14, 2021, 8:20 p.m. ET | Fox
Tampa Bay is favored Thursday and rightfully so.
The Bucs lead the league in passing yards, are second in passing touchdowns and third in both points scored and total yards. Tom Brady is an ageless wonder, topping 400 passing yards in two games and tallying a pair of five-touchdown performances. It’s enough to make you want to give up eating strawberries forever.
Tampa Bay’s offense is averaging 33.5 points per game, while their defense hasn’t been as sharp, allowing 24.5 points per game. The run defense remains stout while the secondary has struggled, allowing the third-most passing yards to quarterbacks and the fifth-most yards to opposing wide receivers.
Philadelphia is struggling to find its groove with new coach Nick Sirianni and second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts at the helm, but the offense has shown glimpses of promise with Hurts under center. Hurts is the kind of quarterback that is always good for your fantasy team, though he may not always come through for his real-life team. He has a solid rushing floor, but he can struggle as a passer.
However, this matchup is one where we could see Hurts enjoy more success. Facing Atlanta in Week 1, Hurts completed 77% of his passes for 264 yards and three touchdowns. The Tampa Bay secondary should be a similarly soft matchup. Philadelphia is averaging 23 points per game, while its defense is allowing 24.8.
The Eagles' defense contrasts Tampa Bay’s in that it’s strong against the pass, allowing only 605 yards and five passing touchdowns to receivers and limiting quarterbacks to the third-fewest passing yards. Only the Bills and Panthers have allowed less.
I expect Tampa Bay to win this by a touchdown, and I like the plus-money for the Buccaneers covering the 7-point spread. The Eagles should limit Brady to less than 300 yards, and Hurts will make some big throws in garbage time.I predict the game total remains under 52.5 points. I’ll also take the UNDER on 6.5 touchdowns scored.
Now, let’s have some fun picking how those scores happen!
Leonard Fournette anytime TD +105
Fournette is poised for another good game against a Philadelphia run defense allowing the fourth-most rushing yards, three rushing TDs and one receiving TD to running backs.
Devonta Smith anytime TD +150
Tampa Bay’s secondary has allowed an average of 204 yards per game and 1.4 touchdowns to wide receivers. It's also allowed the third-most passing yards and 13 touchdowns to QBs. Smith and Hurts have the best connection on this team, with Smith playing 90% of the snaps and seeing an average of eight targets per game. Smith hasn’t found the end zone since week one, but that changes Thursday night.
Zach Ertz anytime TD +230
The Bucs have allowed 320 yards, three touchdowns and an 80% catch rate to tight ends. Ertz has been playing 60% of the snaps and seeing 12% of the red zone opportunities with Dallas Goedert playing, and Goedert may miss this game after being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Want more? Ertz runs routes on 98% of his snaps, only blocking 2% of the time. I love pairing young QBs with experienced tight ends. The last time we saw Hurts in primetime, the Hurts-to-Ertz connection was on full display. Ertz was targeted seven times and found the end zone versus Dallas.
Tom Brady anytime TD +640
Philadelphia has been good against the pass, and I have a feeling we get to see the Brady quarterback sneak. Let’s scratch this primetime lotto ticket!