Will this be the week Tampa Bay finally gets into the win column? It’ll be a tough task as they host the high scoring Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday but Tampa Bay will have some chances to succeed.
The following keys to victory could result in the Buccaneers getting their first win of 2013.
1. Don't Let History Repeat Itself
Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy came out this week telling Eagles quarterback Michael Vick that he wanted to play him and did not like the fact he was injured. Well Vick has been ruled out for the game after being listed as "Full participation" in Friday’s injury report so McCoy won't get a chance to play him once again.
Instead it'll be Nick Foles, a name that is accompanied by visions of the game winning drive he orchestrated last season to crush Tampa Bay's comeback bid in Week 14. But this is 2013 and the Buccaneers defense is much improved.
The Bucs can not allow for history to repeat itself. If they do, that hot seat will begin to boil.
2. Take Demps Out Of The Dumps
After the Buccaneers acquired University of Florida track star from the New England Patriots, they got themselves a speed threat they’ve never had. Problem is they have to know how to use him.
The staff has stated they have plays designed specifically for him. We saw a flash of that in Week 4 when they faced the Arizona Cardinals and he took an end-around for 14 yards. But that’s all we saw aside from kick returns.
Tampa Bay can see themselves with a Darren Sproles type of player if they find ways to get him the ball. Plus, it'll take some of the load off of Doug Martin. If they do, they can have success Sunday against Philadelphia’s defense that ranks 31st in the league.
3. Has Help Arrived?
The tight end position has been lacking success and that’s saying it politely. That could change with the regular season debut of Tom Crabtree who was the Bucs offseason acquisition at tight end.
Crabtree isn’t expected to be a huge difference maker but his versatility in the offense is an asset. He has the ability to line up as a fullback and be a lead blocker and is also good in pass protection. In the passing game, he displayed the ability to find holes in the defense when he was in Green Bay and quarterback Aaron Rodgers never shied away from him even though he got limited looks.
Expect rookie quarterback Mike Glennon to look for him underneath.
4. Shady’s Back
Eagles running back LeSean McCoy has bounced back this season after he battling a concussion in 2012 that forced him to miss several weeks and he is making the most out of his 2013 campaign.
The man they call “Shady” leads the league in rushing with 514 yards on 98 carries but in three of Philadelphia’s first five games, he has rushed for under 75 yards. Nonetheless, he is a threat in the passing game as he is averaging 14.3 yards per reception.
The Bucs defense has been able to hold opponents running backs to just under 100 yards per game on average. They better hope McCoy has a bad game because if he is given any cushion it’ll be a long day for the Bucs.
5. The Glennon And Jackson Connection
Veteran wide receiver Vincent Jackson has faith in his rookie quarterback as both have spent extra time outside of practices working on getting on the same page. Whether that translates to a live game remains to be seen. But Jackson is optimistic.
In Glennon’s debut, he failed to connect with Jackson with consistency and accuracy. Out of 11 targets, Jackson caught two passes and one was a Glennon interception that lead to the game-winning touchdown for Arizona.
Philadelphia has not been good against the pass this season. This could be the perfect game for Jackson and Glennon to build a rhythm.
Gil Arcia (1-3): Buccaneers 30, Eagles 17
Mark Cook (1-3): Eagles 27, Buccaneers 13
Scott Reynolds (3-1): Eagles 23, Buccaneers 16