Coming off the 48-40 win in New Orleans to open the season, expectations are very high in Tampa as the Super Bowl Champions come to town to open the 2018 home schedule.
The Eagles won their opener 18-12 and were not very impressive in beating the Falcons. Offensively with Nick Foles at the controls, the Eagles were only able to generate 232 yards of offense. 119 in the air. Meanwhile down in the Big Easy the Bucs were torching the Saints for 525 yards in their 48-40 win.
This will be a much more competitive game as the Eagles defense is much better than what the Bucs saw last week in New Orleans.
Th Eagles OL allowed Foles to be sacked twice in the win. Foles has not been impressive at all this pre-season or in the season opener. He has looked like a completely different QB then the one we saw last season after the Carson Wentz injury.
He will also be missing two key components of his offense in WR Alshon Jeffrey and RB Darren Sproles. Jeffery is out with a shoulder injury and Sproles has a hamstring issue that will keep him out.
Defensively the Eagles gave up 299 yards to Matt Ryan and company, but the Eagles defense stood tall when the game was on the line as the Falsons had 5 chances to get a TD and couldn’t get get the ball across the goal line.
Brent Grimes is out for the second consecutive game with a groin injury and with Vernon Hargreaves being placed on IR earlier in the week, I expect that Foles and the Eagles will try to take advantage of the youth and inexperience in the Bucs defensive backfield.
Drew Brees had a field day throwing against the Bucs defense, but Brees is a future HOFer. Foles right now is not. Brees has done that numerous times in his career and will do that against numerous defenses this season.
I think we can all agree the Bucs must improve the defensive effort. They cannot give up another 475 yard game and expect to win.
MJ Stewart and Carlton Davis the two rookies are going to have to get up to speed as well as Marcus Williams whom the Bucs just signed this week. Ryan Smith and Chris Conte are also going to have to provide some veteran leadership.
Nelson Agholor and Mike Wallace will be two of the targets long with TE Zach Ertz that Foles will be targeting.
I Think the Bucs will be able to keep this Eagles team in check with three of the key pieces on offense (Jeffrey, Sproles and Wentz) out for this game.
Another question is will this be the game that we see the Bucs new DL unleash its fury on an opponent? We didn’t see it last week but this game would be a good place to start.
Jay Ajay is the main running back for the Eagles. He was acquired mid-season last year from the Dolphins and had 62 yards in the season opener With 2 TD’s.
Defensively for the Eagles one of the key matchups will be how the Bucs try to neutralize Fletcher Cox. Cox had 1.5 sacks last week, and will most likely line up against Ryan Jensen. That will be an interesting match-up to watch.
This will also be the hottest home opener since 2013 in Tampa, as the temperatures are expected to soar into the 90’s and on the field the temperatures could reach the 110 degree range.
Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, OJ Howard and Adam Humphries will give this Eagles secondary fits. With Peyton Barber providing a solid running game, look for the Buccaneers to squeek by the Eagles 21-20.
-Jason Pierre Paul will be a game time decision on if he will play or not. DeSean Jackson has been cleared to play and will be excited to go against his former team.