Eagles fans have had lots of ups and downs this year. The ups? The Philadelphia Eagles are winning the games that matter most, the division games. So far the Eagles are 2-0 when facing another NFC EAST rival.
The lows? The Eagles have an 0-8 losing streak at home, and have not been able to beat a team from the AFC West yet (3 down, only one more to go) And after a 4-12 season, and after running the streak of excellence during the Andy Reid - Jim Johnson era, much of the fanbase is experiencing the harsh reality of football life without Big Red to blame the woes of every bad bounce or missed tackle on. The Philadelphia Eagles are a team with a lot of promise, but will take more patience than many fans seem to be capable of giving.
But the NFL scheduling monster is behind us. 3 games in 11 days, then ON THE ROAD IN DENVER (which, like Seattle, is a far better team in mile high than their clownish roadshow version is) and finally a brutal game in NYC to beat up on the team that always gives us a good game. At 2-3, this team is right on track for a season that ends up somewhere in the .500 range (which is a huge improvement over last year!)
This week we travel to Tampa Bay, to face a team with a terrible offense, a terribly fierce defense, a soap opera of a team post Freeman-Sciano's rendition of War of the Roses, and a fanbase who is as interested in dumping Sciano, winning the race for the number one draft pick, as winning the game against the Eagles. Yes, it's a road game, and yes, it's after the Bucs bye week... but this game feels awfully winnable. Let's discuss why...
The Tampa Bay Bucaneers are defense. Pure and simple. They only give up 17.5 pts per game, and hold teams to under 100 yards rushing. They have faced some very good offenses too: New Orleans, New England, as well as the NY Jets and Arizona. So, it's safe to say that this team is definitely for real defensively. Their defense is opportunistic, with 6 INTS in 4 games, as well as 2 fumble recoveries. Fortunately, the Eagles offense has been doing a masterful job of protecting the ball. This defense held the Saints to just 16 points of offense. That's amazing.
If the Bucs had any type of offense, this would be a scary game. But as good as their defense is, their offense is bad... horribly bad. Worst in the league bad. The offense is averaging 11 points a game. That's it. 11 points. And the passing offense is averaging a mere 174 passing yards a game. To place this in perspective, Desean Jackson nearly has as much passing yards as the entire TB offense. And if you think they are due for a big game against the Eagles coming off a bye week, keep in mind that the bye for TB was wasted on the soap opera of Sciano versus Freeman, and cutting Josh Freeman and going with Mike Glennon. So far this year, the eagles have struggled against Peyton Manning, Phillip Rivers, and Alex Smith. Mike Glennon should not pose as much of a challenge.
So this game will go 0-0? Don't bet on it. While Revis will definitely be pitted against Desean Jackson all day, that doesn't give the Bucs a counter for Shady McCoy. And the Eagles offensive line - particularly Kelce - is looking for a big bounce back. The Bucs - despite the great coverage skills - have only mustered 13 sacks so far. This will NOT be the typical Eagles shoot out. Shady will get over 100 yards, while the eagles passing game will be spread all over the field. To be honest, Foles is probably the quarterback best equipped to face the buccaneers defense as he will spread the ball around. Look for the eagles to win the game 28-3. And then here comes the cowboys.