The Buccaneers take on the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football in front of a Raymond James crowd that’ll likely be a bit mixed between Philly and Tampa fans.
While the fan base travels well, the Eagles might travel even better. The Bucs have been off to a really surprisingly hot start, and the Eagles have looked a bit shaky in their two victories, but Tampa is going to have their hands full with one of the best teams in football.
The Eagles are my pick to win the Super Bowl this season, and for good reason; their defense, albeit not quite as dominant and intimidating as last season’s rendition, they still have an elite pass rush for their front seven that could cause some serious problems for a Bucs offensive line that has yet to face any serious challenge.
On the defensive side of the ball for the Buccaneers, they have to deal with an offense that, despite still figuring things out through the air with a new offensive coordinator, possesses enough talent in their offensive line and receiving corps to pose a real threat to the Bucs’ very solid beginning to their campaign defensively.
In spite of my ultimate prediction that the Bucs will fall to 2-1 after a tightly contested 20-10 loss, there are a few things the Bucs could do to eke out a W.
It all starts with the turnover battle. Taking care of the ball and capitalizing on Philly mistakes will be key, as well as getting off to a hot start and jumping ahead.
Philadelphia dominated last season, and did so by establishing the run and controlling the line of scrimmage.
If the Bucs can jump out to an early lead, they can take the Eagles out of their usual rhythm and force QB Jalen Hurts and this offense to abandon their usual run-heavy game plan and have to air it out.https://5d4c97537ffd3fd1ee3ae38c22b93852.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-40/html/container.html
If they follow some of the game plan from Minnesota last week, who managed to keep things closer than you would’ve expected, the Bucs can come out with a blitz-heavy scheme that forces Hurts to make quick decisions and (hopefully) forces him to make a few mistakes.
Of course, this is much easier said than done; the Eagles have arguably the best o-line in football, and in light of last week’s fantastic 175 yard rushing performance from D’Andre Swift it seems they might only be getting better.
So, unfortunately the Bucs will likely be 2-1 heading into Week 4. But hey, if they can continue to beat crappy teams and take a few Ls against the elite teams like Philly, San Fran, or the Bills, they’ll be coasting to a third consecutive NFC South division.
And there are certainly worse things than that.