(((For))) Washington, the biggest question entering the matchup

Washington vs Buccaneers Wild Card Round: Date, Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch NFL Washington vs. Buccaneers: TV channel, Reddit stream, prediction, key matchups for NFC wild-card showdown The Buccaneers come to Washington on Saturday night winners of four, straight, with Brady playing some of the best football of his career.

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Tampa Bay could be without their top wide receiver, Mike Evans, as he’s dealing with a hyperextended knee. The Bucs will also be without star linebacker Devin White due to coronavirus protocols.

For Washington, the biggest question entering the matchup is the health at quarterback. Alex Smith is expected to play, but the veteran quarterback was practically immobile last Sunday against Philadelphia due to a strained calf.

Head coach Ron Rivera said he’s considered the idea of rotating quarterbacks with Taylor Heinicke, adding another level of intrigue for Saturday’s matchup.


What to Know

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will duke it out with the Washington Football Team in the first round of the playoffs Saturday at FedEx Field at 8:15 p.m. ET. The Buccaneers will be seeking to avenge the 16-3 loss they suffered the last time these two teams played on Nov. 11 of 2018.


Tampa Bay strolled past the Atlanta Falcons with points to spare last week, taking the contest 44-27. Tampa Bay got their win on the backs of several key players, and it was QB Tom Brady out in front passing for four TDs and 399 yards on 41 attempts.

Special teams collected 14 points for Tampa Bay. K Ryan Succop delivered a perfect 3-for-3 game.

Meanwhile, Washington didn’t have too much breathing room in their game with the Philadelphia Eagles last week, but they still walked away with a 20-14 victory. The team accrued 17 points in the first half and coasted on those for the victory. No one had a standout game offensively for Washington, but they got scores from DE Chase Young, TE Logan Thomas, and WR Terry McLaurin. QB Alex Smith ended up with a passer rating of 119.40.

The Buccaneers are the favorite in this one, with an expected 8-point margin of victory. They might be worth taking a chance on against the spread as they are currently on a two-game streak of ATS wins.

A pair of defensive stats to keep in the back of your head while watching: Tampa Bay ranks first in the NFL when it comes to rushing touchdowns allowed, with only ten on the season. As for Washington, they come into the matchup boasting the fewest passing yards allowed per game in the league at 212.1.

NFC wild-card showdown

Super Wild-Card Weekend kicks off on Saturday, and closing the first night of 2020 playoff action is a battle between maybe the two most overlooked teams in the NFC field. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers enter the postseason with four straight wins, including two consecutive 40-point performances, and boast arguably the greatest quarterback of all-time in Tom Brady; yet have widely been undersold as a title contender since a mid-season slide. Washington Football Team, meanwhile, backed into a division title at 7-9, punching their ticket to the playoffs thanks in part to their rival Eagles making a controversial Week 17 QB switch.

Does that mean Saturday’s showdown is devoid of drama? Absolutely not. Some of Brady’s most shocking postseason defeats, you may recall, have come against none other than NFC East teams. And Washington, by virtue of “winning” the NFC East, still gets the benefit of home-field advantage in this one, hoping its Ron Rivera-led defense will be able to serve as the spoiler of the opening round.

Wondering how to tune in? Or whether the Buccaneers actually deserve to be more than touchdown favorites? Find everything you need to know below, including broadcast info, key matchups, and a game-day prediction:

How to watch

Date: Saturday, Jan. 9 | Time: 8:15 p.m. ET
Location: FedExField (Landover, Maryland)
TV: NBC | Stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Follow: CBS Sports App

When the Buccaneers have the ball

Tampa Bay can’t be afraid to run the ball, because the last thing they should be doing is letting Tom Brady sit back in empty pockets needing to throw, especially late in the game. That’s where guys like Chase Young can legitimately wreck your whole night. But that doesn’t mean the Bucs shouldn’t air it out. In fact, if one thing tops the priority list Saturday, it should be assaulting Washington through the air. It’s just a matter of not completely abandoning the ground game and handling the aerial attack smartly.

By smartly, we mostly mean a willingness to take the short stuff — an ability to accept what Washington is giving you and let the playmakers do their jobs. Brady tends to like this kind of game plan anyway, making quick, sometimes predetermined decisions that allow the offense to look robotic rather than reactionary. But against Rivera’s feisty front, that strategy could prove especially important. Whether it’s Mike Evans or Chris Godwin or Antonio Brown, these guys should get the ball quickly. Because you can definitely beat Washington by taking those six- and seven-yard bites every drive.

By staying disciplined and efficient, the Bucs will naturally open up at least a few opportunities for downfield shots, too. So long as Washington has to ensure it’s on top of those AB screens or the occasional Leonard Fournette bulldozing, Brady will get his chances to send one deep and really put Washington away.

When Washington has the ball

Honestly, no matter how Washington plays this, it’s going to be a tough night, at least on offense. Rivera’s defense may very well make this closer than some expect, but there’s no getting around the fact that Alex Smith and Co. have been consistently uninspiring. Smith deserves all the credit in the world for his comeback, but the numbers don’t lie: He’s been a bad QB. Safer than Dwayne Haskins? No doubt. But try asking him to throw a pass that isn’t horizontal or within 15 yards for consecutive drives, and there’s a decent chance you’re going to run into trouble.

Luckily for Washington, the Bucs are more vulnerable through the air than against the run, where they’ve surrendered the fewest ground yardage of any team in the NFL. So, if ever Smith were going to break out as a passer rather than a preserver of the football, this would be the time to do it. Guys like Logan Thomas and Terry McLaurin help make that possible. But Scott Turner probably needs to get pretty creative to maximize the team’s impact throughout the night, regardless of whether Washington intends to play spoiler in a low-scoring game or somehow believes it can go toe to toe in a shootout.

This isn’t meant to disparage Washington. Anything can happen in the playoffs. But the reality is, they are no match for Tampa Bay on paper. Their offense’s chief responsibility on Saturday, quite frankly, is to hold the ball as long as possible and hope for a break or two. If they can do that, and their defense shows up as it often has, they just might be able to pull off a stunner.

Buccaneers vs. Washington Football Team picks, score prediction

Tonight on NBC watch the Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs the Washington Football team. Live coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. ET with Football Night in America. Click here to live to stream the game. Check out the video above for game picks and predictions from Mike Florio and Chris Simms.

Heading into Wild Card weekend, Tom Brady and the Buccaneers have won a season-high 4 straight games since their Week 13 bye, averaging 37.0 pts/game in the four wins, including 47 and 44 in their final two games of the regular season. Brady has continued to take care of business in Florida with 1,333 pass yards, 12 TD, 1 INT during the team’s 4-game winning streak. WR Mike Evans, who leads the team in all major receiving categories, is questionable for Saturday after suffering a knee injury in Week 17. LB Devin White, the team’s leading tackler, will not play in this game due to COVID-19 protocols.

Despite having a losing record, The Washington Football Team’s defense has carried them through the season. The team ranked 2nd in total defense (304.6 yds allowed/gm) & 4th in scoring defense (20.6 pts allowed/gm) this year. The defense, led by Montez Sweat (team-leading 9 sacks) and #2 overall pick Chase Young (7.5 sacks), picked up a total of 47 sacks, 6th most in the NFL.

Neither of these two teams has won a playoff game in over a decade. Tampa Bay’s last playoff win was in January 2003 when they beat the Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII, while Washington’s last win came in the 2005 postseason–and it was a Wild Card win over the Buccaneers.

How can I watch the NFL without cable?

You can stream the NFL regular season, no cable required, on any live-TV streaming service that carries channels with live games. Numerous such services offer broadcast networks like CBS, NBC, and Fox as well as ESPN and the NFL Network. Exact channels may also vary based on where you live, but the best services for NFL fans are YouTube TV and FuboTV.

Those looking for Nickelodeon will need YouTube TV, FuboTV, or AT&T TV as the channel is not available on Hulu Plus Live TV or Sling TV.

AT&T TV’s basic, $60-a-month Plus package includes CBS, Fox, NBC, and ESPN. You can use its channel lookup tool to see which local channels are available where you live.

Sling TV splits its live NFL options across its $30-a-month Blue plan and $30-a-month Orange plan, which forces NFL fans into a tricky choice or encourages them to spring for both at $45 a month. Sling Blue includes the NFL Network, NBC, and Fox while Sling Orange includes ESPN.

Sling TV doesn’t offer CBS, but its packages are discounted by $10 for the first month. Enter your address here to see which local channels are available where you live.

CBS All Access costs $6 per month and will let you watch the games being broadcast on your local CBS station on Sundays if you live in one of these 206 markets where the service offers live TV. It makes for a good add-on for Sling TV subscribers, who don’t get CBS.

Washington vs Buccaneers Prediction

The Bucs have mostly beaten up on bad teams this year and fumbled their chance at true stardom against the best of the best. Washington also has exactly the kind of pass rush that could disrupt Brady early and often. But as much as a tight game is in play, it’d be irresponsible to forecast Alex Smith and WFT’s weapons topping Bruce Arians’ squad here. Even on an off night, this Bucs offense has enough firepower to get the job done. Washington, remember, struggled mightily to beat the Eagles’ backups with a division title on the line. It’s going to take a near-perfect performance for them to shut down Tampa.