TNF Preview and Prediction: Tampa Bay at Philadelphia

Philadelphia QB Jalen Hurts has 1,365 passing yards and a 7/3 TD-INT ratio. He also has a team-high 256 rushing yards and three TDs.

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Line: Tampa Bay -7 (-105 or +100)

Total: 52.5

Where: Lincoln Financial Field

When: Thursday, 10/14 at 8:20 p.m. ET

TV: FOX

Tom Brady has faced Philadelphia in a pair of Super Bowls during his career—Thursday’s game at Lincoln Financial Field does not hold the same level of importance.

However, Brady has plenty of motivation to beat the Eagles and help Tampa Bay improve to 5-1 on the season. The Buccaneers played a road game on short rest last season, which is when Brady forgot the number of downs at the end of a 20-19 loss to Chicago.

“You have these weeks and you put a lot into them in a really short period of time, like we have,” Brady said. “It’s like cramming for an exam, you know? You just kind of put everything else to the side and just focus on the game…Last year we lost, so we’ve got to play good.”

Brady is listed on the injury report as ‘probable’ with a thumb injury, but that has not stopped the early betting action from pushing the opening line of Tampa Bay -6.5 out to -7, as of Wednesday night. Several books are dealing +7.5 at -130, including offshore shop BetOnline. The total opened at 52.5 and has remained at that number.

The Buccaneers offense will be without tight end Rob Gronkowski (ribs) once again. His absence did not hold them back in a 45-17 win against Miami on Sunday. Brady threw for 411 yards, which is the second time he has broken the 400-yard mark this season.

Tampa Bay ranks third in the NFL offensively, averaging 431.4 yards per game. Brady has completed 66.2 percent of his passes and has a 15-to-2 TD-to-INT ratio through five contests. Wide receivers Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown have been a three-headed monster that opposing defenses have struggled to contain.

They are going up against a Philadelphia defense that allowed back-to-back 40-plus point games in losses to Dallas and Kansas City, which are both top-five offenses. The Eagles have been solid defensively outside of those games, ranking tenth in the NFL (336.8 YPG). They are coming off a 21-18 win at Carolina, bringing their record to 2-3 on the year.

Quarterback Jalen Hurts was held under 200 passing yards for the second time this season. He has completed 64.8 percent of his passes and has a 7-to-3 TD-to-INT ratio. Hurts is also the team’s leading rusher, averaging 6.0 yards per carry on 43 attempts.

Running back Miles Sanders has 48 carries for 214 yards, but he has not scored a touchdown. The Eagles are an average offensive team, picking up 372.6 yards per game. Rookie wide receiver DeVonta Smith has caught a team-best 25 passes for 314 yards and a touchdown.

Wide receiver Quez Watkins and tight end Dallas Goedert have been the other primary pass-catchers for Philadelphia. The Eagles are facing a Tampa Bay defense that is allowing 360.2 yards per game.

The Buccaneers have gone ‘over’ the total in four of their five games this season, as the defense is still trying to find its footing. They have won nine of their last 10 road games and are 12-1 in their last 13 games overall.

Philadelphia has been trending in the opposite direction, losing 10 of its last 13 games. The Eagles are 1-4 in their last five home games and have gone ‘under’ in 10 of their last 15 contests. They have won their last six Thursday night games, however.

The pick: Philadelphia +7.5 (-130)

I don’t mind paying a little juice to get the hook in this game. This all comes down to the scheduling spot for Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers are on the road on a short week and Brady is dealing with a lingering thumb injury. He has struggled in primetime games over the last few seasons, which many people relay back to his notoriously early bedtime. Philadelphia finally has some momentum after leaving Carolina with a win on Sunday. The Eagles are going to slow this game down with their rushing attack, making 7.5 points even more valuable. Tampa Bay struggled in this kind of spot last season and will be happy to leave with a close win.

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