The Eagles are literally and figuratively limping into the postseason. After a 10-1 start and a stranglehold on the NFC East, the Eagles finished the season 1-5 and are now the fifth seed headed to Tampa Bay for the Wild Card round. This collapse took the entire team and turning it around, if there is any hope, will take that too. Unfortunately the Eagles are banged up too and will need to overcome key injuries to beat the Buccaneers and keep this disappointing season alive.
Need some life from Jalen Carter
The Eagles run defense has been extremely vulnerable over the latter half of the season and their pass rush has been even more abysmal. Jalen Carter’s play has been a big reason why as the rookie’s play has really fallen off after a hot start. The Buccaneers have been able to move the ball well through the air and on the ground and Carter will need to dig down to help the Eagles disrupt Tampa Bay on offense.
Can Nolan Smith add some juice to the pass rush?
Nolan Smith’s had a decent game against Tampa Bay in Week 3, getting a big hit on Baker Mayfield on a quality pass rush rep. Smith’s defensive role has grown recently and the Eagles need all the help they can get generating some pressure on Tampa’s passing game.
What the hell is going to happen in the secondary?
The Eagles secondary has been in disarray all season and Monday will be no different. The revolving door at safety and cornerback will keep spinning. While Darius Slay is expected back after a knee procedure, the Eagles will likely have one healthy safety with Sydney Brown out with an ACL tear and Reed Blankenship unlikely to play. This could force Avonte Maddox into playing the safety position. If Maddox plays safety, it’s possible James Bradberry plays in the slot and Kelee Ringo gets to start on the outside. Regardless, expect to see some Eagles rookies in the defensive backfield.