What’s Changed Since the Buccaneers and Eagles Last Played?


I really don’t know how good of a chance the Buccaneers have of beating the Eagles. Their first meeting would not fill you with a lot of confidence the Bucs can hang with them. Also considering that the Bucs are 1-5 against playoff teams, a person looking at only that would think the Eagles winning is an easy bet. But then the Eagles had an epic collapse to end the season. These teams are so completely different that I wanted to write about it.

To start, the Eagles started the season very hot. How hot? They were 10-1 at one point. That feels like a century ago at this point because they looked so horrendous to end the season that they feel like a different team. They now sit at 11-6. But it’s not just they lost all those games, but that they weren’t even competitive in them. Granted, some of those last games were against really good teams in the 49ers and Cowboys at home. Then they faced the Giants in their last game with a chance to still take the division. A team that was 5-11 and the Eagles lost 27-10.

The main culprit for what happened to this team is the defense. It was really really bad. The defense is 30th in points allowed and 26th in yards per game. In particular, they are being gashed through the air. Their pass yards per game is ranked 31st. Run defense is still mostly good and I don’t expect the Bucs to have much success in that area. But in comparison, last year they only allowed 20.2 ppg. There are a lot of factors, but it seems like the main culprit is the loss of their two coordinators last year. The individual players on their team are good, but they seem to be misused in the scheme. Bucs fans can relate.

The Eagles offense still has plenty of talent, regardless of if Jalen Hurts and AJ Brown are playing. But Hurts has looked off this season. I first noticed it in the Bucs game. Last year one of his best attributes as a passer was that he was safe while still being productive. Only 22 passing tds, but 6 interceptions. This of course doesn’t include his 20 one-yard rushing tds. Now look at this year. One more passing td, but he has 15 interceptions. Again, considering he has mostly the same weapons, the departure of Shane Steichen might be the reason why.

Now to the Buccaneers. They aren’t exactly riding the biggest waves of momentum, but they at least won a game before the playoffs, unlike last year. The Bucs are definitely better than when they last faced the Eagles, but the question is how much better. The O-line play has improved since that game, although it is still only average. However, the biggest thing that changed is Baker’s confidence in the scheme. The deep pass in particular had looked a lot better before the last two games. Against a team with a sketchy secondary, the passing game should hopefully be humming (if Baker isn’t injured).

On defense, the Buccaneers will hopefully not let up 200 rushing yards to D’Andre Swift and company. They have the 8th ranked run defense and did a good job of bottling up premier backs like Derrick Henry while simultaneously letting up over a 100 yards to Chuba Hubbard. Regardless, the Bucs have a good run defense. The other thing that will help is knowing Yaya Diaby is a good player and letting him play more than 25 snaps.

The passing defense is a whole other story. It’s still technically better than the Eagles, but it has been incredibly streaky. The good news is that Carlton Davis and Jamel Dean should be playing. The bad news is that Dean has had a pretty bad season, so I don’t know how much of an upgrade this is. However, even though Antoine Winfield Jr was good to start the season, he has evolved into the best safety in the NFL since. Argue with the wall.

The Eagles and Bucs are the perfect match up for each other. Both are struggling and have holes on both sides of the ball. And both fanbases are looking at this as a get right game. I have confidence this will at least be more competitive than their last game. But it is really hard to predict who has the best chance

Make sure you check out Devin’s blog at cannoncrunch.wordpress.com.

Cannon Crunch with Devin Sanguinett

Cannon Crunch with Devin Sanguinett

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