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Discussion: Would you rather play the Buccaneers or Eagles in the Divisional Round?

The Lions have won their first playoff game, but another looms large. Which opponent would you rather face?

NFL: NFC Wild Card Round-Los Angeles Rams at Detroit Lions Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions have broken the streak and won themselves a playoff game for the first time in over 30 years. Yet while the celebration of this feat will continue well beyond Sunday night, the Lions’ attention will quickly turn to next week. With a Monday slate of games still to play, their next foe remains to be seen.

Thanks to the Green Bay Packers and their upset of the Dallas Cowboys, they will face the San Francisco 49ers as the lowest remaining seed. That will leave either the Philadelphia Eagles or Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the Lions’ date for the Divisional Round. The Lions have yet to play the 11-6 Eagles this season, but they do have a win against the Buccaneers under their belt. The Buccaneers had a nasty midseason stretch, dropping six of seven games, but they rebounded late to salvage their season atop the weak NFC South. The Eagles, meanwhile, were relegated to the fifth seed following the Cowboys winning the NFC East. Philadelphia was a frontrunner for that title at one point, but a late season slump—correlating to a defensive playcalling shakeup—saw them slide down the standings.

Would you rather the Lions play a team they have already defeated this season, or would you rather face off against a team not in top form?

Today’s Question of the Day is:

Would you rather play the Buccaneers or Eagles in the Divisional Round?

My answer: The Buccaneers.

Had you asked me at the start of December if I would rather face the 10-1 Eagles or the 4-7 Buccaneers, the answer would be obvious. Yet a month and a half later, the choice is certainly tougher. I still give my vote to the Buccaneers, but I could be convinced otherwise.

Both teams boast great wide receivers—Mike Evans and Chris Godwin for the Buccaneers, A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith for the Eagles—that should challenge the Lions secondary, but the surrounding pieces tip the scales. Although Jalen Hurts has been playing poorly of late, a dual threat quarterback could be a matchup nightmare for the Lions. Justin Fields and Lamar Jackson were problematic with their mobility, either directly on the ground or while navigating the pocket. Hurts falls into a similar category, so I think a matchup with Baker Mayfield aligns better with the Lions’ strengths on defense.

I think the run games are a wash, as both D’Andre Swift and Rachaad White are productive backs that can contribute as pass catchers, but the Eagles get the edge for their offensive line. Whereas the entire Eagles line is stout, the Buccaneers are largely reliant on Tristan Wirfs. The Lions managed just one sack when they faced Tampa Bay in Week 6, but I think they can provide more pressure next time around. In particular, Aidan Hutchinson has really elevated his game of late, including another two-sack performance against the Rams in the Wild Card.

The Buccaneers have the edge over the Eagles in terms of defense (14th in DVOA versus 29th), and there would be some karmic retribution in facing Matt Patricia and his Eagles defense in the playoffs, but I feel less frightened by the Tampa Bay offense. When the Eagles offense is on, they are among the best in the league. A win over the Buccaneers could be the spark they desperately need, and I do not want to risk them finding their footing against the Lions next week.

Which opponent would you rather face in the Divisional Round? Let us know in the poll and comments down below.

Poll

Would you rather play the Buccaneers or Eagles in the Divisional Round?

This poll is closed

  • 86%
    Buccaneers
    (2540 votes)
  • 13%
    Eagles
    (390 votes)
2930 votes total Vote Now

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