As the Tampa Bay Buccaneers prepare for what is without a doubt their biggest game of the season, the team on the other side of the field continues to run into issues.
The status of star wide receiver A.J. Brown was up in the air after he suffered a knee injury during Philly's Week 18 loss to the New York Giants. Brown avoided serious long-term damage, but even a long week of rest wasn't enough time for him to fully heal up.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Brown tried to rehab his knee this week but wasn't able to make enough progress to get cleared for Monday night.
"A.J. Brown, who worked hard in his rehab to try to make it back this week, is out for Monday night’s wild-card matchup vs. the Bucs due to his sprained knee, per sources. Brown has made enough progress that, if the Eagles advance, he could return for the divisional playoff," Schefter reported on Saturday. "He’s out Monday night."
It's a huge break for the Bucs, who continue to catch more and more ahead of the biggest game of their season so far. In addition to Brown's injury, Jalen Hurts is banged up after hurting his finger last Sunday. He's expected to play, but he won't be at 100 percent and now he will be without his top target.
Bucs catch a huge break not having to face A.J. Brown in Wild Card game
Not having to face Brown is absolutely massive for Tampa Bay's defense.
Brown torched the Bucs secondary back in Week 3, finishing the game with nine receptions for 131 yards. He was held out of the endzone, but the way he helped the Eagles move the ball downfield was almost as good as scoring himself.
That's what Philly will be missing on Monday.
While the Eagles are losing key players, the Buccaneers will be adding them. Carlton Davis missed the first meeting against the Eagles while Jamel Dean left the game early due to an injury. Tampa Bay will have both of its top cornerbacks healthy, which is even more valuable now that Philly will be without it's top wide receiver.
All across the board the Eagles are banged up at receiver. DeVonta Smith missed Week 18 with an injury and Dallas Goedert has been up-and-down all year. The Bucs have plenty of things they need to work on in order to pull out a convincing victory on Monday, but the stars continue to align for one of the most improbable upsets of the season.