That sweet smell isn't the weekend about to arrive, it's scent of playoff football in the air. For the fourth straight year the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are preparing to play on Wild Card weekend, and already the tides are starting to turn in their favor.
Going up against the Philadelphia Eagles is no easy task, but the team that's coming to Tampa on Monday night is a shell of the one that beat the Bucs back in Week 3. The Eagles are banged up, in the middle of a slump, and are prime for an upset.
Jalen Hurts said on Thursday that he has yet to throw since injuring his finger in last Sunday's loss to the Giants, while A.J. Brown remains doubtful with a knee injury. DeVonta Smith missed last week's action with an injury and star rookie safety Sydney Brown tore his ACL.
All of this comes amid a slump in which the Eagles have lost five of their last six games, including a clunker at home against the Cardinals. The odds are still against the Bucs, who are the only home underdog of the weekend, but the line of folks predicting an upset continues to grown.
Rob Gronkowski thinks Buccaneers will upset Eagles in Wild Card
Former Bucs tight end Rob Gronkowski sat down with Kay Adams this week and broke down his thoughts ahead of Wild Card weekend. Not only did he break down each game, he dove into why he's predicting Tampa Bay will pull out a victory over Philly on Monday.
"Yes [the Bucs] are a little inconsistent, but it's a home game for them," Gronk said. "I think [Mike Evans and Baker Mayfield] are going to turn it up a notch, same with Chris Godwin. He's going to come through and make some big plays."
As for the Eagles, Gronk very astutely observed that they're a 'fart going downhill' after finishing the season the way they did.
"I don't think [the Eagles] can pick up the slack from where they left off," Gronk said. "It's kind of engraved in them, there's something going on. Some energy going around that organization that's holding them back."
That's not exactly steeped in X's and O's, but Gronk isn't far off when pointing out that bad vibes can sink a season as fast as bad play on the field can.
Gronk's penultimate game of his career came against the Eagles back in 2022, in which the Bucs sledge hammered Philly out of the playoffs. The table have since turned, with the Eagles going to the Super Bowl last year while the Bucs limped into the playoffs with a losing record, but it seems their paths have once again crossed at a fork in the road.
Tampa Bay is far from perfect, and we've seen enough out of this team that the Eagles using Monday as a get-back game wouldn't be shocking. But we've also seen enough good things out of the Bucs to believe that everything Gronk said, and a growing number of experts, could come to fruition.