The Philadelphia Eagles are back home to take on their next opponent, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, tonight on Thursday Night Football. As the two most recent NFC teams to win the Super Bowl, both have had a different journey so far this season.
The Eagles opened with a strong victory over the Atlanta Falcons but have had difficulty adjusting since then under a new coaching staff. Their Week 5 performance against the Carolina Panthers wasn’t great; however, Hurts and the defense showed up when they needed to, pulling out their first win in four weeks.
As for the Buccaneers, they fell in Week 3 to the Los Angeles Rams but won to their last two matchups, with the hopes of continuing their streak.
The Eagles are 6-0 in their last six Thursday night games, and in their previous eight meetings with the Buccaneers, Philadelphia has gone 6-2.
So, what exactly will the game bring tonight? Iggles writers Alicia and Drew share their predictions before tonight’s kickoff.
EAGLES – BUCCANEERS PREDICTIONS
ALICIA’S PREDICTION: BUCCANEERS, 27-20
Tonight’s game will come down to two things — the number of penalties and which Eagles’ defense shows up.
In five games, Philadelphia has accrued 50 penalties. FIFTY. Frankly, the team is undisciplined. Opportunities are being thrown out the window, along with four touchdowns taken off the board in the last two weeks. Why work harder to make up for the points when they can just work smarter?
As for the defense, Javon Hargrave has been the only saving grace. He needs help, and I think fans finally saw the defense come together last week against the Panthers. Cox logged a sack, Slay had an outstanding game, and the defense rebounded. I’m not sure Jonathan Gannon worked out the kinks that fast, but if the defense plays anything like they did against the Cowboys and the Chiefs, this game will be a blowout, and not in a good way.
Philadelphia’s offense has consisted of very little run game so far this season, and tonight, no Eagles fan should complain about this. The Buccaneers rank last in the NFL against the pass, which sets the stage for Hurts to thrive. DeVonta Smith, Quez Watkins, and Zach Ertz will likely be intended targets.
I want to say so badly that Philadelphia will win this game, and I actually think we have a fair shot if the Eagles remain focused. However, I don’t think we’re entirely there yet, and for that reason, the Buccaneers will pull ahead.
DREW’S PREDICTION: Buccaneers 35-27
All eyes will be on the defense tonight as Tommy Boy and his crew come to town. While Philadelphia doesn’t have to worry about Rob Gronkowski, who’s dealing with a rib injury, they still have to worry about three top-tier receivers: Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Antonio Brown.
Can they do it? Probably not. While Darius Slay has a decent chance of shutting down whoever he guards, the other two could cause some serious havoc. Expect to see Brady try for a lot of deep balls… and make them.
Meanwhile, the offense continues to remain in a state of flux. They looked far from competent in last week’s victory, so it will be interesting to see how they attempt to rebound against a defense that’s far from dominate (Tampa Bay is allowing 24.4 points/game, which is middle-of-the-pack in the NFL).
Miles Sanders and Kenny Gainwell will continue to be underused, although for good reason this time: Tampa Bay is allowing just 45 rushing yards a game, and has allowed just 229 total rushing yards this season. Not the best time to try and work them into the game plan.
That’s why I think this will be the DeVonta Smith game. Jalen Hurts is going to lean on his top target, and hard (especially if they play catch-up the majority of the time). I also think Jalen Reagor will get some decent looks as well. Plus, Hurts manages to put up yards no matter how stagnant the offense is. Zach Ertz is also someone I think will step up, especially since he won’t be sharing targets with Dallas Goedert.
Ultimately, given where the Eagles’ units are at right now, and how they match up, this is gonna be a tough one. I don’t think it’ll be as bad as the Monday night blowout, but the Bucs will probably pull away in the third quarter. The Eagles then get a few garbage TDs to make the score better. However, if the Eagles can play the Bucs as hard as they did the Chiefs, then that should at least have them feeling better heading into Week 7.