This feels like the weirdest playoff game ever, because I don’t see much excitement online for this one. This season has been so odd. The first playoff game is always a good time to look at the stats because it gives you a full season's worth of data. Let’s do this.
As bad as the offense has been at times this year, the rankings still look OK. The running game is still the real strength of this team, which won’t surprise anyone. Incredibly, the Eagles ranked 1st in no-huddle and shotgun usage this year. Surely this team will work more on under center next year, which would also help increase the play-action efficiency.
How bad are these rankings? My goodness. The Eagles do nothing well, except rush 3, which they never do. This team plays too much man coverage, and they are utterly hopeless when they play a one-high shell and stack the box. I just want to see 4-man fronts this week with a two-high shell.
This offense is not very good. Of course, they could score 50 points on this current Eagles’ defense, but the numbers show that this team isn’t great on offense. Running the 2nd highest amount of RPOs and ranking 31st in efficiency is pretty bizarre. They don’t use motion a great deal, which should help this Eagles’ defense. The Bucs’ rushing attack is truly horrendous. Even the Eagles might have a chance at stopping this rushing attack. This is about as good of a matchup as the Eagles could get in the playoffs.
Annoyingly, I really want the Eagles to commit to the run, but this could be a week where they think they can create some explosive plays (gulp). The Bucs love to stack the box and play a one-high shell, which means the Eagles might have the ability to take some one-on-one shots on the outside. The Bucs blitz a lot, but they aren’t particularly good at it, so maybe the Eagles will make a few plays against the blitz this week. I wouldn’t bet on it though!
This is a matchup of two pretty average teams for a playoff game. The Bucs’ offense is pretty bad, especially when it comes to running the ball. The Eagles are still a top 5 rushing offense, but this isn’t the best matchup as the Bucs’ defense is good against the run. I do expect the Eagles to be able to score on this Bucs’ defense, even if I think they will catch the Eagles out with a successful blitz here or there, but this game will probably come down to the Eagles’ defense. If they played as badly as they have the past month, it’s almost irrelevant what the Eagles do on offense.
Weirdly, the Bucs’ numbers are the reverse of what I expected. I’m surprised the Bucs are so good on 3rd/4th down, but Baker Mayfield is an aggressive quarterback who is willing to take a shot and not just check it down. I’m also surprised that the Bucs’ defense is this bad on 3rd/4th down, and I’m guessing it’s because they have been so ineffective blitzing this year and Bowles loves to blitz on 3rd down.
The Eagles’ defensive line could not face a better matchup than they will this week. I know the Eagles’ defense has been abysmal of late, but surely they can get pressure on Baker Mayfield this week. I expect Jordan Davis to have a monster game if the Bucs try and run it, and I would give him and Milton Williams a lot of snaps together on early downs to create obvious passing situations.
I still see comments about Jalen Hurts every week, and I maintain he has had a good season, and the numbers still back me up. The Eagles have a lot of problems, but I don’t think the quarterback is one of them.
This is a weird playoff matchup. How many times has the 30th-ranked redzone offense gone up against the 30th-ranked redzone defense in the same game? Maybe even the Eagles will get a stop this week? The Eagles’ offense was terrible in the redzone at the start of the year, but they did sort out the issues and ended up as the 9th best offense, which isn’t terrible considering where their issues at the start of the season.
It doesn’t feel like a matchup between two playoff teams does it? Neither team is particularly good, and I do think the Eagles are the better team, but I have absolutely no confidence whatsoever in this defense. Would it surprise you if this defense crumbles and the Bucs score 35+ points? Nothing can shock me anymore. What a weird season.