- Philadelphia faces Tampa Bay on Sunday (January 16th, 1 pm ET) in an NFC Wild Card matchup
- The Bucs will be missing both of their top-two running backs Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones
- See below for the injury reports for both teams and how potential key absences could affect the outcome of this playoff game
The defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers are limping into the playoffs. Their receiving corps was already decimated, and they didn’t get the news they were hoping for from their running back room ahead of Sunday’s Wild Card matchup versus the Philadelphia Eagles.
Starting RB Leonard Fournette wasn’t activated from IR prior to Saturday’s deadline, meaning the Buccaneers Injury Report will feature Tampa Bay’s top-two running backs.
The Eagles Injury Report however, looks much more promising. Miles Sanders, who’s missed the last two games with a broken hand, will play, which will be a big boost to the league’s number one rushing attack.
Eagles Injury Report
Sanders isn’t even on the final injury report, despite undergoing hand surgery less than three weeks ago. He’s fresh off averaging a career-best 5.5 yards per carry this season, while Philadelphia wants nothing more than to run the ball.
The Eagles finished the regular season averaging a league-high 159.7 rushing yards per game, while running at the NFL’s highest rate (51.16%).
— Thomas R. Petersen (@thomasrp93) January 14, 2022
As it stands right now, the biggest injury question marks for Philly are on the offensive and defensive line. Starting right guard Nate Herbig is questionable with an ankle injury, while defensive end Josh Sweat is also questionable due to an illness.
Josh Sweat arriving with the Eagles at their team hotel
He has not practiced and has not participated in walkthroughs this week but he seemed in a good mood pic.twitter.com/cS6hB7OMGL
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) January 15, 2022
Neither player practiced on Friday, while Herbig did get in a limited practice on Thursday. Of the two, Sweat’s potential absence would likely have the greater impact. He grades out as Philly’s second best pass rushing lineman, and constant pressure on Tom Brady is one of the only ways you can slow TB-12 down.
Buccaneers Injury Report
The Fournette news broke Saturday, and his absence adds to the list of names from last season’s championship team that won’t be in uniform on Sunday. That list includes star receivers Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown, one of who tore his ACL, while the other was cut.
Buccaneers are not activating RB Leonard Fournette by today’s 4 pm deadline and he will not play Sunday vs. the Eagles, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 15, 2022
Fournette led the Bucs in rushing yards this season, while ranking second in total TD, and third in receiving yards. He was a catalyst for Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl run, racking up three rushing touchdowns, and another one through the air.
The Bucs’ number two RB Ronald Jones remains out with an ankle injury, but the team is getting back Gio Bernard from Injured Reserve. Bernard, Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Le’Veon Bell will make up Tampa Bay’s running backs against the Eagles.
So the Bucs offense won't have Leonard Fournette, Ronald Jones, Chris Godwin, or Antonio Brown.
— Thomas R. Petersen (@thomasrp93) January 15, 2022
Sticking with the Bucs, Wide receiver Mike Evans doesn’t carry an injury designation into Wild Card Weekend. He’s been playing through a nagging hamstring injury, but was a full participant in both Thursday’s and Friday’s practice.
Evans was a big part of Tampa Bay’s Week 18 victory, hauling in 6 catches for 89 yards, and 2 TD.
Can’t cover him. @MikeEvans13_ 🐐
— Texas A&M Football (@AggieFootball) January 10, 2022
On the other side of the ball, the Bucs will welcome back linebacker Lavonte David from his foot injury. He was second on the team in tackles this season, and will be key to stopping the Eagles’ rushing attack.
How Could Injuries Affect Eagles vs Buccaneers Betting Lines
The Buccaneers opened anywhere from 8.5 to 9-point favorites in Sunday’s Wild Card game, but that number has moved slightly in Philadelphia’s favor in light of Saturday’s injury news.
It now sits Tampa Bay -8 at most online sportsbooks, and per the Eagles vs Buccaneers betting trends, the majority of the spread bets and handle is backing Tampa Bay.
It’s worth noting that 20-30 mile per winds, and rain is in the forecast in Tampa on Sunday, which could place an even bigger emphasis on the run game for both teams. With Sanders coming back, and Fournette ruled out, you have to like your chances of this game staying close if you’re holding an Eagles ticket.