HomeDa Birds NewsPhiladelphia Eagles Face Tough Matchup Against Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Philadelphia Eagles Face Tough Matchup Against Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Welcome to the Philadelphia Eagles links. Let’s dig into the key to every NFL wild-card matchup from The Ringer. On paper, this is a brutal matchup for Philly. Tampa Bay should be able to run the ball this time around, which will make things easier for offensive coordinator Dave Canales and quarterback Baker Mayfield. And on the other side of the ball, you have the blitz-happy Todd Bowles going up against an Eagles offensive brain trust that hasn’t had an answer for Cover Zero all season. Philadelphia’s dominant run game mitigated that issue in the first matchup. But with the Eagles passing game no longer posing the threat it once did—not with Hurts, A.J. Brown, and DeVonta Smith all nursing injuries at the moment—the Bucs should be able to focus on defending the run more effectively. Philadelphia opened as 1.5-point favorites on Sunday night, but don’t be surprised if that line has flipped by next week. The Bucs have the advantage on paper. If they win on early downs, they’ll have one on the scoreboard, as well Eagles at Buccaneers: Five matchups to watch, when the Eagles have the ball

 

Orlovsky put the lack of the hots on Hurts, which, if this were one isolated example I might agree. However, it’s far more likely on the Eagles’ scheme, as the complete lack of quick-hitter options against the blitz has been a consistent season-long issue that the staff has not corrected. Bowles has come up with good game plans for Hurts in the past. In the Eagles-Bucs playoff game during the 2021 season, for example, Bowles recognized Hurts’ extreme tendency to throw to the right side of the field, so he took away Hurts’ first look to that side of the field on the back end while the Bucs’ pass rush made sure that if Hurts escaped the pocket, he had to do so to his left. Hurts is a different player now than he was then, so Bowles will no doubt have a new plan. Spoiler: That plan will involve a heavy dose of blitzing, as the Eagles have proven that they cannot make opposing defenses pay when they send extra guys.

Now, let’s discuss whether the Eagles have the worst home field advantage in the NFL – BGN. More recently though, and especially during their time at the Linc, playing at home has not seemed to make much of a difference. The friendly crowd must certainly help, but there must be other factors at work which counteract it. Or, another way to look at it is that they’ve just been better than most teams at playing on the road. The Eagles may well lose next week in Tampa, but if so we shouldn’t attribute much of the reason to having to play on the road.

Another topic we can delve into is the Eagles’ potential during playoffs in Welcome to the playoffs – BGN Radio. Brandon Lee Gowton and RJ Ochoa discuss everything that went down in the division Week 18. Additionally, are Chiefs and Eagles limping into playoffs as the NFL’s most disappointing ‘good’ teams? – SB Nation explains that this was a team who had FOUR double-digit sack players along their defensive line a year ago. The pressure they generated up front defined this team. Now they have just one, Haason Reddick — and even then his production has fallen from 16.0 sacks to 11.0 this season. This has had a mammoth effect on how scary this unit is.

Moving over to NFL.com, we delve into the topic of which AFC/NFC teams are most likely to hit Super Bowl LVIII. In one model, defensive efficiencies correlated more strongly to wins in 2023 than in any of the previous three seasons. If the Eagles want to make a deep postseason run, they will have to improve against the pass. They allowed the fourth-highest passer rating (97.6), the second-most passing TDs (35) and the fourth-most explosive pass plays (96 passes of 16-plus yards allowed) this season. The good news is that they show some success in the quick-passing game on offense, with a 78.7% completion rate (second-best) and 6.6 yards per attempt (tied for fourth-best) on such throws. If the offense can be effective in that realm and the defense tamps down on the explosive pass plays, they will give themselves the best chance to succeed.

Roob’s Eagles Stats gives us a few nightmarish facts and figures to close out the regular season. The Eagles this year faced the most pass attempts in NFL history by a team without recording at least 10 interceptions. Opposing quarterbacks threw 652 passes against the Eagles this year – 8th-most in NFL history – but got picked off only nine times. The Eagles’ nine INTs are just one off the fewest in franchise history. In the last four games, the Eagles finished the season without a sack from an edge rusher. It’s the first time in 18 years the Eagles have gone four straight games without getting a sack from an edge. So considering that, revisiting the Monday night win in Tampa Bay – PE.com highlights how Tampa Bay used some one-on-one coverage against wide receiver A.J. Brown and quarterback Jalen Hurts took advantage. He targeted Brown 14 times overall and completed 9 passes for 131 yards to Brown. On the first offensive drive, Hurts threw to Brown on a shallow cross, and his catch and run gained 28 yards. This happened despite Tampa Bay not having its best cornerback, Carlton Davis, for that game. He is healthy now and could see Brown in one-on-one situations.

Kelce shares from PFT. He said on WIP Wednesday morning that the Eagles “just didn’t handle the blitz” against the Giants and that it’s a matter of learning from where things went wrong so that their “execution” will be better against the Buccaneers this weekend. “I don’t think we need to do a whole complete shift or revamp of the offense,” Kelce said. “I think we need to do some things better and put ourselves in better situations — coaches and players. The reality is the plays that we have in and have been doing all year are ones that we can have success with and have had success with.”

Finally, let’s explore Blogging The Boys’s discussion on the Dallas Cowboys. If they are going to make the Super Bowl for the first time in 27 years, it’s going to fit right with the theme of craziness that runs through this wild season. Let’s continue into the playoffs and see how everything shakes out!

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