Keys To Playoff Victory: Buccaneers vs Eagles


The regular season has finally come to an end. Despite the ups and downs of the 18 week marathon, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did what they needed to do and made the playoffs. Now we begin the NFL’s second season as 14 teams prepare for their playoff run.

This Monday the Bucs will host the Philadelphia Eagles in their wild card matchup. This will be the second time these two teams face off this year after the Eagles stopped the Bucs in week three by the score of 25-11. Tampa Bay will have to flip the script in order to advance to the second round.

This will be no easy task. Despite only winning one of their last six games, there’s a reason why this Eagles team won eleven games this year. They have an abundance of talent on both sides of the ball and will not be an easy opponent.

Luckily, I can say the same about the Buccaneers. Despite the team’s ups and downs this season, I have never believed that talent has been the issue this year. This makes for several excellent matchups across the board in my playoff additions of the “Keys to Playoff Victory.”

Eagles Defensive Line vs Bucs Offensive Line

The strength of the Eagles defense is their defensive line. They’ve spent a first round pick on a defensive tackle each of the last two years to add to an otherwise already strong front.rong front. This was the main reason that the Bucs had under 175 total yards in the first game.

However, there’s reason to believe things won’t be as bad this time around. In a word, that reason is experience. Week three was a long time ago and this Bucs offensive line has come a long way since then.

When these two teams met the first time, the Buccaneers offensive line was fairly new to their jobs. Tristan Wirfs was making his third start at left tackle, Luke Goedeke was making his fourth start at right tackle, and rookie Cody Mauch was making his third ever NFL start after switching positions from tackle in college to guard in the pros.

The growth and experience of these three players is incredibly valuable. It very well could be the difference in this game.

The Carlton!

One of the most notable names not on the field the first time these two teams played was Carlton Davis. He’s been a key member of the Bucs secondary for several years and the leader of the self named “Grave Diggers” secondary who won the Super Bowl a few years ago. He will play in the playoff game on Monday night.

The biggest reason his absence was significant was his particular skill set. Davis has proven to be one of the best corners in the NFL when it comes to covering big body, physical wide receivers. That’s exactly what he’ll be facing off against in Pro Bowler AJ Brown.

The first time these two teams played Brown went off for 9 catches and 131 yards. He is the Eagles best overall weapon and needs to be a priority for the Buccaneers defense to stop. However, they have enough playmakers around to where you can’t give him too much attention.

That’s where Davis comes in. If you can trust the Bucs veteran corner to handle Brown one vs one then it will take a lot of pressure off the rest of the defense. This is entirely possible for Davis, especially considering that Brown is dealing with a knee injury.

Make Hurts Hurt

The best way to slow down the Eagles offense is to essentially cut off its head. That would be their quarterback, Jalen Hurts. If he doesn’t have time to think or read the defense, then it will be difficult for him to get the ball to the right pass catcher at the right time. 

We have seen that pressure can bother Hurts over the course of this year. This is part of why he has only thrown for 23 touchdowns, but 15 interceptions. This included a pair of interceptions against this aggressive Bucs defense the first time the two played. 

Todd Bowles will once again need to be in his bag of tricks for this game. Various pressure looks, or simulated pressure looks can rattle Hurts and affect his timing and progressions. Even if the Bucs can’t consistently break through a good Eagles offensive line, just increasing Hurts’ internal clock will make a big difference in this game. Blitzing early and often will be critical.

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