NFL playoffs: Can Washington slow down Tom Brady, upset Buccaneers?

No. 5 Buccaneers at No. 4 Washington

Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET | NBC

Matchup rating: 71.0 | Spread: TB -8.5 (44.5)

What to watch for: Can Washington pressure Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady? Sacks don't tell the whole story, but Brady is 26-7 in his playoff career when sacked two or fewer times and 4-4 when sacked three or more times. Washington defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio has been excellent with in-game adjustments and adding in wrinkles; he'll need to add some here to cause some hesitation and allow the front four to get home. It'll also be interesting to see whether Washington's offense can produce enough. In quarterback Alex Smith's six starts this season, Washington has scored more than 23 points once. Will that kind of production be enough? -- John Keim

Bold prediction: The Buccaneers' offense will put up three touchdowns on a Washington defense that hasn't surrendered that many since Week 10 against the Lions. Brady might not be the difference-maker against this pass rush, though. Rather, it will be a healthy Ronald Jones, who was denied 1,000 rushing yards to cap his season after missing two games because of a finger injury and time on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Washington's run defense is closer to average, giving up 112.8 yards per game (15th in the league). -- Jenna Laine

Stat to know: Washington ranked 31st in offensive efficiency this season at 36.1 (scaled 0-100). That is the fourth worst by a playoff team in the past 15 seasons. But surprisingly, all three teams with lower rates won their first playoff game that season (2010 Seahawks, 2016 Texans and 2011 Broncos).

Injuries: Buccaneers | Washington

Matt Bowen's game key: Given the lack of a consistent vertical element in the Washington passing game, I expect Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles to heat up the pocket. Multiple fronts, second-level pressure, zero blitzes -- dial it up against Smith or backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke. Read more.

Betting nugget: Unders were 6-2 in Washington home games this season, and Tampa Bay has covered five of seven games this season when the under comes through. Read more.

Laine's pick: Buccaneers 24, Washington 21

Keim's pick: Buccaneers 28, Washington 21

FPI prediction: TB, 73.6% (by an average of 8.3 points)

Matchup must-reads: Bucs' Evans to be game-time call vs. Washington ... Washington DE Young: I'm not sorry for "I want Tom" Brady comments ... "He coaches you hard": How Bucs' Arians builds relationships with his QBs ... How Rivera's cancer battle, return of Smith galvanized Washington ... Washington coach Rivera mulls rotating QBs in wild-card playoff game