The weather can be unpredictable in Florida, but no matter the outcome one can always expect at least a little bit of moisture. If the recent weather reports and forecasts are to be believed, by the time the Buccaneers and the Eagles kick off at 1:00 for the Wildcard playoff game, it’s going to get just a tad wet.
Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times pretty much sums everything up in this tweet:
Things are off great, because on the surface 72° F is the ideal temperature they say. Then that’s when things fall off a cliff a little bit.
Look, at the end of the day this is playoff football. This is when the elements in the weather really start to become extra significant, and a little football weather never hurt anybody. That said, this is an exactly just “football weather”. Summer comparing this to “hurricane-like” conditions, which certainly does not bode well for the Bucs’ pass-happy offensive attack.
Sure, Tom Brady has dealt with the elements before playing for two decades with the New England Patriots, What cold and snow is different than a monsoon. Brady should still get his, because well, he is Tom Brady, but it will be very hard to match any sort of production he had in his historical regular season that should result in an MVP.
With this being the case, the Buccaneers are going to have to rely more on their running game, something they have been trying to do, much do the irritation of a lot of fans, all season with mixed success. Running games are what carry over into the postseason, and this is one of the very reasons why. The elements are unpredictable.
Well that certainly has not been in the Buccaneers best interest as it pertains to the running game, then there’s their opponent, the Eagles. As Stroud stated, the Eagles have the number one rushing attack in all of football. Now, while the Buccaneers rushing attack ranked third in the NFL, after spending much of the season ranked number one, that doesn’t tell the full story. Numbers may never lie, but they may mislead.
Coming down the stretch of the regular season, the Buccaneers rushing defense was absolutely putrid. Now, while Lavonte David going down certainly did not help, and his potential return should help, it takes a village in football. In this case, it’s probably better to say it takes a pirate ship, and just because the captain returns doesn’t mean the ship can fend off of tidal wave created by nature.
The New Orleans Saints and Washington, two teams the Eagles have three wins against this season, were able to beat the Bucs using run-heavy schemes. While the Buccaneers did (somewhat narrowly) defeat the Eagles earlier this season, that was before the Eagles relied on the run and were missing both tackles. These are also things to consider when it comes to the forecast.
At the end of the day though, the Buccaneers should still be victorious against the underdog Eagles. However, this weather report is throwing just a bit of a wrench in these plans, and certainly should make the day more interesting. It is absolutely something to monitor going forward.