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Analysis: Eagles Offense vs. Buccaneers Defense

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By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

The Eagles offense has been humming fairly consistently once the team discovered how effectively they could run the ball.

They will hope to keep this going on Sunday against the Buccaneers in order to advance in the playoffs for the first time since Jalen Hurts arrived at QB.

The run-heavy Eagles offense will be facing the third best run-defense in the Buccaneers, but there's a caveat to that stat: avoid the inside.

The Eagles running back room figures to be full strength and that will help, but bouncing to the outside, or really avoiding defensive tackle Vita Vea.

Really, if the Eagles can bounce the ball outside and/or target the middle while Vea is on the sidelines, they should be able to establish their strong rushing style.

K.J. Britt, Devin White, Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaquil Barrett form a solid corps of linebackers, but the Eagles offensive line has players like Jordan Mailata, Lane Johnson and Jason Kelce who excel at getting those blocks in the second level and should help to minimize their impacts on the run game.

In their week six matchup, the Eagles handed off to a running back just nine times. Increasing that and rotating backs will help this offense perform much better this weekend.

The passing game is a whole different story, however.

In the previous meeting, Hurts completed just 12 of 26 passes in an awful showing. He's grown since then, but there is a significant factor to look at in that game.

While the Buccaneers were able to keep DeVonta Smith in check, it'll be difficult for them to do that twice with the developments he's made this season. More importantly Quez Watkins was regularly burning the Buccaneers in their last matchup. He had just three catches for 44 yards and a two-point conversion, but Hurts missed a few times he was open in that game. He also suffered pass interference that went uncalled by a referee staff that argued with themselves the whole game.

So the Eagles know they have two receiver that should be able to make an impact. While the Eagles had Zach Ertz in that match-up, he did not standout and Dallas Goedert was on the COVID list, so did not appear in that game. If Goedert can play a bit more effectively and make sure not to drop passes, the Eagles passing game will come down to Hurts.

If a strong run game can be established, Hurts should be able to complete a few short and mid-range passes here and there, but if Brady can get going, Hurts will likely have to beat the Buccaneers secondary on at least one deep ball for a score - something that has been a challenge throughout the year.

With a revamped offensive identity, the Eagles offense should be able to keep this game close and wear down the Bucs defense. While the running game should be able to get going, the passing game is more of a question mark and that would seem likely to tell the tale of the game.

If the Eagles passing game can overcome Richard Sherman and Antoine Winfield Jr., Sean Murphy-Bunting and that secondary, they just may put their team in a position to walk away with a win this weekend.

Related Reading:
Analysis: Buccaneers Offense vs. Eagles Defense


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