After an impressive 45-17 win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday afternoon, the 4-1 Bucs are back out on the road in Philadelphia for a Thursday night matchup with the Eagles.
The Eagles come into the game with a 2-3 record but are better than that record indicates. The Eagles fell behind early last week in Carolina before rallying to beat the Panthers 21-18.
Two of the three eagles losers have been to teams that have the best offenses in football. The Eagles defense allowed 41 points in a 41-21 loss to Dallas and 42 points in a 42-30 loss to Kansas City.
The Bucs will be without Rob Gronkowski, Antoine Winfield Jr., and linebacker Lavonte David in this Thursday night matchup.
Tom Brady has had his right hand bandaged up all week but is not listed on the injury report and says he will be good to go against the Eagles:
There’s no serious injury at all. It’s just more discomfort, but I think that should be gone here in the next day or two.
The Eagle’s offense will present different looks and challenges that this defense has not seen this year. That starts with quarterback Jalen Hurts.
Hurts is another Lamar Jackson, as he can and will make just as many plays with his legs as his arm. Hurts has a 93.3 passer rating with seven touchdowns and three interceptions and is completing 64.8% of his passes. He has also brought new life to the Eagle’s offense with his running ability. Hurts leads the team with 256 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns.
Hurts has more rushing yards than any other quarterback except for Lamar Jackson.
The Eagle’s offense will run a lot of RPO’s or just let Hurts scramble and do his thing.
The Eagles also don’t rely on just one or two players to provide for most of the offense. DaVonta Smith, the rookie from Alabama, leads the Eagles with 25 catches, but Quez Watkins, Dallas Goedert, and Zach Ertz, along with three other receivers, have more than 13 catches.
The Eagles also have a nice one-two combo in the backfield with MilesSanders and Kenneth Gainwell. Both are dual threats as they are also good receivers out of the backfield.
Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles talked about the challenges of facing this Eagles offense:
It’s tough because he keeps you honest. He can throw like a pro quarterback and run like a running back. He has elusiveness, as well, and he’s very bright, and he’s very tough to bring down. If you try to attack him too much, he’s going to hurt you down the field, and if you don’t attack him enough, he’s going to hurt you with his legs. He keeps you very honest, and that’s a great thing.
Defensively the Eagles are stills inconsistent and struggling against high-powered offenses, which the Bucs have.
Defensive tackle Javon Hargrave is off to the best start of his career with 6.0 sacks this season. The Eagles also have veterans Fletcher Cox and Derek Barnett as part of their front seven, and you can’t ignore those guys.
Cornerback Darius Slay is one of the key defenders in the Eagles secondary. The Eagles also picked up Vikings free-agent safety Anthony Harris in the off-season.
The Eagles defense is third overall defending the pass but rank 30th in run defense.
The good news for Buccaneer fans is the Eagles have given up 40 points per game to the best offenses in the league. The Bucs are right there at number three, averaging 431 yards per game.
The Bucs have the best passing attack in the league at 349 yards per game. It will be interesting to see the number one pass offense against the 30th ranked pass defense.
The Bucs should win this one, although it will be closer than many think. The Bucs do not play well in prime time. They beat Dallas by two in the season opener and New England by two a week ago Sunday night.
Bucs will win this one 24-23 to maintain control in the NFC South.