By STP Staff, Eagles Coverage on Sports Talk Philly
The Philadelphia Eagles (9-8) travel to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa to take on the defending Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-4) on Sunday at 1:00 PM. The Eagles are an 8.5-point underdog on most UK betting sites and are a considerable underdog among media members. Find out if our contributors think the Eagles can pull off the upset and move on the NFC Divisional round.
Paul Bowman, Managing Editor-Eagles | Follow on Twitter– When these two teams met in week 6, the Eagles lost a close one. Since then, nearly all changes would seem to be in the Eagles’ favor. The Eagles offense found an identity and began running the ball. The defense made adjustments and was even able to limit the Bucs by the second half of that match-up. They’ve got better defensive line and safety rotations, cut loose Eric Wilson, and called up Jordan Howard from the practice squad. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers have had their defense largely exposed to the run game when Vita Vea isn’t involved. The offense has also lost Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown and Leonard Fournette among others. If Darius Slay can limit Mike Evans as he did in that previous game and the rest of the defense can figure out how to hit Brady and limit the use of tight ends, they should be in position to succeed. The offense should be able to run to the outside or simply away from Vea to get established. If Hurts can put together a mediocre game and maybe hit on a deep pass or two, this team should walk away with a victory. Eagles-27 Buccaneers-20
Michael Lipinski, Contributor | Follow on Twitter– Let’s get it out of the way, the Philadelphia Eagles CAN win this game but it’s going take a monumental, perfect performance. I’m not sure that the Eagles, at this phase of the rebuild, can put together that type of game against a seasoned team such as Tampa. This team makes too many mistakes, dropped passes, bad penalties, etc., and they always occur at inopportune times. Tom Brady will make the Eagles pay for those type of mistakes. This game will be close, the Eagles run game will keep them in this thing until the end. But in the end, the Eagles will give Brady too much time and it will result in the end of the Eagles remarkable season. I hope to eat crow on Monday morning! Buccaneers-27 Eagles-21
Bill Gorman, Contributor | Follow on Twitter– The key to beating Tampa Bay is to shut down their running game and use a dominating front four performance to put pressure on Tom Brady. In their four losses, the Bucs were held to 69 yards per game on the ground (compared to 107 yards in their wins). In addition, they turned the ball over 7 times in their losses compared to 12 in their wins (four of which came on Opening Night against Dallas). Offensively, the Eagles’ running game will be tested by Tampa Bay’s third-ranked rushing defense. If Jalen Hurts can take advantage of a banged-up Buccaneers secondary, there is a good chance of the Eagles pulling off the upset. Eagles-19 Buccaneers-17
Jennifer McGraw, Eagles Contributor | Follow on Twitter– The Philadelphia Eagles are in for no easy feat against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Both sides of the Eagles’ ball has to play a dominant game in order to come out on top. Defensively, they need to contain Brady and his key weapons. Offensively, a balanced offense that gets off the line of scrimmage quickly is going to secure the win for the Eagles. The Buccaneers are really good at exposing a team’s weaknesses, so the game is going to come down to who plays the better 60 minutes of smart and disciplined football. I think the Eagles will come out on top. Eagles-28 Buccaneers-24
Matt Gregan, Contributor | Follow on Twitter– Facing Tom Brady in the postseason is always rough, but the Eagles might be the team best suited in the NFC to take him and the Buccaneers down. With the weather (rain and high winds) set to potentially play a factor, the Eagles should be prepared for a down and dirty game due to their incredibly good ground attack. If the Eagles defense is able to avoid getting gashed by Rob Gronkowski and the Bucs ground game, the Eagles should be able to take this one down to the wire. I believe the Eagles will win this game on a Jalen Hurts touchdown run in the final minute or two, proving that Hurts and the Eagles are for real. Eagles-24 Buccaneers-21