We've reached the postseason, but hopefully not the end of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers season. For the fourth year in a row the team is playing in the playoffs, a feat perhaps more impressive this year than in any of the previous ones.
Having Tom Brady felt like a free pass to the playoffs, something the Bucs tested to the limit last year by reaching the Wild Card round with a losing record. This season, however, the Bucs once again punched their ticket as NFC South champions but did so with a winning record and have a different energy around them than this time last year.
It's another NFC East opponent in the Wild Card, as the Philadelphia Eagles come to town for a rematch of a game we saw earlier in September. This Eagles team is a shell of the one that beat the Bucs in Week 3, though, and there's hope that Tampa Bay can pull off one of the most unexpected playoff wins of the season.
Almost nobody had the Bucs going this far, and they have the chance to reach the Divisional Round and silence the doubters for good.
Buccaneers inactives for Wild Card vs. Eagles
Here's a look at who won't be suiting up for the Bucs in the Wild Card game against Philly:
- Mike Greene, LB
- Jose Ramirez, LB
- Rakim Jarrett, WR
- J.J. Russell, LB
- Patrick Laird, RB
- Markees Watts, LB
- Brandon Walton, OL
- John Wolford, QB
Two of those guys are inactive on purpose, as Jose Ramirez and Patrick Laird were elevated from the practice squad without any intention of either player dressing. Instead, the Bucs added them to the playoff roster so that each would have an incentive in their contract trigger and help get a little more money in their pocket.
That's pretty indicative of where the Bucs are health-wise, as the team is sporting the strongest lineup it has all season. Not a single starter is out, as everyone from Baker Mayfield to Tristan Wirfs -- both of whom were iffy heading into the weekend -- are playing.
It's also a Bucs team that is healthier than it was the first time around against Philly. Carlton Davis III missed that game and Jamel Dean needed to leave early with an injury. Both players are suiting up tonight and are expected to have an impact.
Philly, on the other hand, isn't so lucky. Star receiver A.J. Brown was ruled out before the weekend while safties Syndey Brown and Reed Blankenship are both out as well. All three of those absences are massive for the Eagles, as it takes away a key piece of the offense while weakening the defense without two standout players.