The PewterReport.com staff offers up its staff predictions on this week’s Bucs vs. Eagles game and welcome your predictions, too. See who we think wins, how and why and what player for the Bucs will have an exceptional game.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (1-0) VS. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (1-0) WHEN: SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 1:00 P.M. ET WHERE: RAYMOND JAMES STADIUM (65,618) NETWORK TELEVISION: FOX PLAY-BY-PLAY: KENNY ALBERT ANALYST: RONDE BARBER SIDELINE: TIKI BARBER BUCSRADIO: 98ROCK, FLAGSHIP STATION (WXTB-97.9 FM) PLAY-BY-PLAY: GENE DECKERHOFF ANALYST: DAVE MOORE SIDELINE: T.J. RIVES LAST GAME: TAMPA BAY WON AT NEW ORLEANS, 48-40; PHILADELPHIA WON VS. ATLANTA, 18-12
PewterReport.com Publisher and Bucs Beat Writer Scott Reynolds
The Buccaneers are now 3-0 under head coach Dirk Koetter and 0-2 in the following week. Will history keep repeating itself or will the Bucs use the momentum generated from a 48-40 upset in New Orleans to buck the trend and start a season 2-0 for the first time since 2010 when Tampa Bay last had a 10-6 record? I’m sticking with my original prognostication and predicting a win here. No, the Bucs offense isn’t going to score 41 points and the defense may not score another touchdown this week, but the offense will do enough against a tougher Philadelphia defense to get the win.
You can cut Ryan Fitzpatrick’s stats from last week in half. If he throws for 250 yards and a pair of touchdowns that should be enough to get the win as long as running back Peyton Barber can get 100 yards on the ground, which I think he can over four quarters. Tampa Bay’s defense has to play much better and I think it will bounce back this week, especially at home. If Eagles star receiver Alshon Jeffrey was playing this week I would probably project a Philadelphia win, but despite the injury woes and inexperience at cornerback Nelson Agholar and Shelton Gibson don’t scare me. Gibson has deep speed and the Eagles will try to get him matched up on big cornerback Carlton Davis, who has 4.53 speed and struggled to contain Saints speedster Ted Ginn, Jr. last week. I think defensive coordinator will play more Cover 2 this week to help his corners out with safety help over the top. Blitzes from Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander will help rattle Nick Foles.
Offensively, I think offensive coordinator Todd Monken will utilize the team’s tight ends more this week and the running game will have more of an impact this week with a heavy dose of Barber on the ground and in the air with screen passes. I also think Monken will use Mike Evans’ big 6-foot-5 frame and height advantage downfield to have a big day.
I wasn’t that impressed with Philadelphia in the week opener against Atlanta. I think a momentum-driven Bucs team playing at home in the heat and humidity will have enough to beat the defending Super Bowl champions. I think this Bucs team wants to continue its hot start and finds a way to get the job done. Chandler Catanzaro ends up kicking a game-winning field goal in the final minutes to grab a dramatic victory.
PewterReport.com Editor & Bucs Beat Writer Mark Cook
Back and forth. Back and forth. This game will go as my prediction goes. One minute I think there is no way the Bucs can beat the defending champs and there is no way this offense can come close to duplicating what they were able to do last week at New Orleans. A minute later, I am saying to myself, “Well, why not?” And as I am writing this I am still not sure which team I am picking. It goes back and forth.
If the Bucs are to start 2-0, they don’t necessarily need to score 48 points(although that would help) or Ryan Fitzpatrick doesn’t have to account for five scores. But I think offensively, the one think that will be crucial that they did in New Orleans, or should I say didn’t do, and that is turn the ball over. Turnover free football again on Sunday gives the Bucs a great chance at winning.
Defensively the Bucs secondary issues need to get resolved. Nick Foles is no Drew Brees, but you know what? They have the same number of Super Bowl rings. So thinking it will be much easier than last week, will get you beat. Philly tight end Zach Ertz will have a big game I believe, but the Bucs just need to force the Eagles into field goals and not give up touchdowns in the red zone.
I don’t think this is quite the track meet we saw last week, and I think the Eagles defense will bring the Bucs offense back down a notch or two. However, even then, this is a really, really good offense. Protect Fitzpatrick, have a good balance of run and pass, and feed off of the home crowd and the Bucs can win this game. Maybe. I don’t know. Okay, yes the Bucs win a close one on a last minute Chandler Catanzaro field goal
PewterReport.com Beat Reporter Trevor Sikkema
Can one game really make the difference in my short-term season outlook for this team?
Last week was hard to believe. The way the Buccaneers not only put up points, but weathered the early storm, sustained their scoring and overall out dueled the New Orleans Saints was something that not even the members of the Buccaneers organization saw coming. But, that is why those offensive weapons were brought in, and they all played at their best last week.
That lets us know where the bar is, and were I don’t see that bar being reached, to that extent, again this week, I do think they have a good shot to put up a lot of points again.
The big key to this game is going to be the Buccaneers’ offensive line. That Eagles defensive line is no joke, and it’s more than just their starting four. Josh Sweat, Haloti Ngata and Chris Long all rotate in and out of the already stacked starting line up, which gives the Eagles defensive line a fresh and ferocious pass rush and trench control all game long.
The Bucs’ offensive line was a big reason why they were able to do what many thought was impossible last week in New Orleans, and they’ll need a similar, if not better, performance this Sunday. I’m going to cheat a little on my click-to-pick, but a collective effort by the big boys up front will land the Buccaneers at 2-0 on the season. Not only of those starting five offensive lineman can have a bad game. They all have to rise to the occasion as one.
PewterReport.com Intern Matt Matera
The offense can’t be as good as it was against the Saints, can it? On that same notion though, the defense can’t be as bad either. As the Bucs welcome in the defending Super Bowl champs, it’s important to keep in mind that both teams are hurting. Tampa has lost CB Vernon Hargreaves for the year and it looks like Brent Grimes won’t play either, leaving the corner duties to rookies MJ Stewart and Carlton Davis.
We saw Drew Brees pick them apart, can Nick Foles do the same? For Philadelphia, they’ll be without Alshon Jeffery once again along with Carson Wentz. You noticed how much the Eagles missed Jeffrey in their opening night game, outside of Nelson Agholor making a few catches, they didn’t have much in the passing game. I don’t think the Bucs will lose sleep over Agholor. The Eagles made their bones by running the ball and of course, their stout defense.
While Tampa’s defense was ugly, it actually did a fine job stopping the run letting up only 38 yards. I would think that surely Beau Allen and Vinny Curry might have a little more fire under them playing their old team. The Bucs defense will handle the run, giving them the chance to pin their ears back for third down against Nick Foles, whether they get to him is a different story.
Letting up 12 points in their opening game, Philadelphia’s defense can give anyone a headache. If you look further though, Atlanta didn’t have that much trouble moving down the field, it was abysmal play calling in the red zone that stopped them. Julio Jones went all over the place, and that was just one guy. How is Philadelphia going to stop Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, DeSean Jackson, AND O.J. Howard?
Now Ryan Fitzpatrick is the same quarterback that can get you five touchdowns in a game and five turnovers in the next. We thought Saints the would give him trouble and they didn’t, I’m not willing to bet that would happen again this week. On Sunday we’ll get somewhere in the middle of that. He’ll be formidable enough to get the ball to their skill players and survive a stout Eagles defense. What will make the difference for him here? Being at home. With the combination of the Florida humidity and both teams already having some injuries, the Bucs, aided by the crowd, somehow squeak this one out.
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org