After stunning the football world with a remarkable victory in week one of the new season, Tampa Bay now hosts the reigning world champions, the Philadelphia Eagles, on Sunday. Like the Bucs, Philadelphia is coming off a win as well, as they beat the Atlanta Falcons in a season-opening game that was nothing to write home about. The Eagles were quarterbacked by their backup and super bowl winner Nick Foles, who only passed for 117 yards. In addition to that, he added 0 touchdowns and 1 interception. The Eagles will certainly look to get their passing game going against Tampa Bay’s weak, injury-plagued pass defense. Philadelphia will have to do this without their number one wideout Alshon Jeffrey, however, which will make life slightly easier for the Bucs’ depleted secondary.
Philadelphia’s running back Jay Ajaiy had a great start to the season, rushing for a total of 62 yards and adding two touchdowns. Keeping Ajaiy in check should be a key to winning the game, as this task will be crucial for Tampa Bay’s defense, also in regards of slowing down the passing game, obviously.
Another key to stealing this game from the Eagles will be pass protection. Philadelphia has a great pass rush, the offensive line has to find a way to provide some time for Ryan Fitzpatrick to make plays, especially as he might have to play without DeSean Jackson, one of his favorite targets from last week, who finally made the splash everyone was expecting him to make last year. Jackson suffered multiple injuries against the Saints and is not cleared to play on Sunday, yet.
Furthermore, the Bucs might be without newly acquired defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who, like Jackson, has been limited in practice so far this week and is still questionable to start against the Eagles. Playing without either one, or even both, for that matter, would definitely hurt the Bucs mightily.
Tampa Bay has lost its last two week 2 contests, brutally, both after winning impressively in week 1. Hopefully, this trend will not continue this year.
Prediction: Fitzmagic cools off, but the Bucs find a way to pull it out at the end, beating the Eagles 24-21.