If we have learned anything about the team this season, it's that Thursday night is shaping up to be a pretty horrific trainwreck of a football game from the home team's perspective.
Tom Brady has already outdueled Dak, and Dak made us look pretty bad, so I would expect the defense will find things to be just a bit tougher against him than it did against Sam Darnold.
I don't expect a win, and my expectations are solidly at "hopefully I can watch the whole game without punching a hole in my TV screen." A moral victory would be fine here.
But let's look bigger picture. The Buccaneers are a Super Bowl contender, as were the Chiefs and the (as much as I hate to admit it) Cowboys. We aren't a contender right now. So when we play a contender, getting our clocks cleaned shouldn't be a shocking turn of events.
But looking past Thursday, how does the rest of the year look? To me, the picture is somewhat brighter than many people thought at the beginning of the season.
First of all some context. The Eagles season win total on many sportsbooks was 6.5. We now have 2 wins, and I think it is pretty easy to see four more on the schedule in the games against the Lions, Jets and the Giants twice. The Giants could turn things around, but it's also not unreasonable to project that they could have one win going into their first game with the Eagles.
We also have two games against the WFT, which has been pretty bad this season. Their two wins were squeakers against the Falcons and Giants, and while they played the Chargers tough, they also got blown out by the Bills (no shame in that) and beaten by the Saints, a team that is going through a "Jekyll and Hyde" kind of season. Certainly they have underperformed, and I don't see them as being favored in any of the eight games they have before we play them. Remember when all the talk was about how it was going to be them and the Cowboys fighting for the division this year? Good times.
As for the rest of our games, we are a step behind the Chargers and Cowboys (again, it pains me to say that.) So along with the game tomorrow, that's three losses we can pencil in. But the question becomes, how many more losses are on the schedule?
The Saints game looks much more winnable now than it did after week one. Denver looks a lot more beatable now that they have played some good teams rather than when they were beating up on the Jets, Giants and Jags. The Raiders could be on the precipice of a tailspin. Losing to the Bears was bad, but obviously not the worst thing to happen to that team in the last few days.
Those three games looked like sure losses after the first week of the season, but now I am not so sure. We certainly have to play better on offense against them than we did against the Panthers. But is that so far-fetched? Denver is a tough place to play, but we get the Raiders off an extended rest and host the Saints. So two wins out of those three games is certainly not unrealistic.
Now, I am aware that the Panthers game could be a mirage. Darnold played horribly, they were missing a lot of key players and we were extremely lucky to escape with a win. At the same time, a win is a win. And while tomorrow is looking like it will be a solid helping of reality served up to us, the reality is that we should be at least competitive in Vegas. And if we can squeeze out a win there (or even tomorrow. Stranger things have happened), that could be a huge confidence boost for a team that seems poised to exceed the expectations that most of us had going into the season.