Hello Buccaneers Fam! It is damn near game time for week two and I have some info you need to know. I am excited, you are excited, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are excited for their home opener against the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles.
The last time these teams faced off was in 2015 and Tampa came away victorious 45 - 17 and set a franchise record for rushing yards. Not much has changed since then so let's just go ahead and chalk it up as a victory for the Buccaneers and move onto week 3!
Buccaneers Offense versus Eagles Defense
We are one game into the season so we are truly dealing with a small sample size, but we have no better info to go on than what is happening right now. What we know: Todd Monken, the Offensive Coordinator for the Buccaneers, is calling the plays. He called the plays all preseason and he called the plays last week in the Fitzmagical victory over the Saints in New Orleans and he will call the plays in this game against the Eagles. Monken's offense is 2nd in the league in total offense with 529 yards and tied for first in points scored with 48. The play calling duties were formerly handled by Head Coach Dirk Koetter. Koetter ran an under the radar great passing offense for the past few seasons. Monken seems to have improved upon that, partly due to play calling, partly due to player development and chemistry, and partly due to this flat being a better team than it has been the past few seasons. The Bucs' rushing offense is 19th in the league right now with 112 yards. So, average at best. New center Ryan Jensen plays with fire and you can see he enjoys running the ball. If this offensive line can stay healthy you can expect to see an improvement in the run game.
As far as protecting the quarterback goes, the team did excellent last week and were tied for first in the league with zero sacks allowed. It literally does not get any better than that. This weeks test will be a little tougher though. The Eagles' total defense is ranked 7th in the league having only given up 299 yards last week. Their rushing defense was 6th, giving up only 74 yards and the pass defense tied for 14th giving up 225 yards. They were able to get after and sack Matt Ryan last Thursday night four times, good for a tie of 5th best in the league. When the Eagles played the Falcons in the season opener, the Falcons looked bad. Time will tell if that was a result of this Eagles defense or just the Falcons being rusty on a Thursday night. I would give an advantage here to the Buccaneers. The Buccaneers are every bit as good as the Falcons and were it not for a bad throw at the end of the season opener, Julio Jones should have caught that pass for a touchdown and we would be talking about an 0-1 Eagles team now instead of a 1-0 team.
Eagles Offense versus Buccaneers Defense
The Eagles' offense did not look much better than the Falcons did last Thursday. Their offense scored just 18 points good for 23rd best in the league. Their total offense put up a feeble 232 yards tied for 29th best in the league. They had 132 passing yards, second worst in the league after one week. Their rushing offense put up 113 yards (18th in the league.) This team will rely more heavily on running back Jay Ajayi last week as Head Coach Doug Pederson appeared to ease him in after he had some knee issues coming out of the preseason. Ajayi seems ready to go, so I expect the Buccaneers to see a heavy dose of him early and often in this game. The Eagles are also without their true quarterback Carson Wentz and starting wide receiver Alshon Jeffery. The Buccaneers' defense gave up a ton of points to Drew Brees and company last week. The Bucs total defense is 30th in the league with 475 yards given up while 432 of those yards came through the air, which makes the Bucs last in the league in passing defense. The rush defense gave up only 43 yards, 2nd best in the league.
However, this Eagles offense right now is nothing close to the Saints' offense. I can imagine a game in which Eagles quarterback Nick Foles struggles and Buccaneers defensive coordinator Mike Smith leads a ball-hawking unit over the past two-plus seasons. This season the Buccaneers have forced two turnovers and have a +2 turnover margin. If the Buccaneers can pressure Nick Foles (the Eagles gave up 2 sacks to the Falcons) and win the turnover battle, the Buccaneers have a real shot at winning this game.
This is a winnable game for the Buccaneers in Tampa, facing the World Champion Eagles. It will be a fun game to watch and although the Buccaneers are decimated at cornerback right now, the Eagles are without their top wide receiver and quarterback.
Thanks for reading everyone. Hit me up on twitter @stillnfac and below in the comments section. I look forward to our discussions.