Five reasons why the Eagles can beat Tom Brady and the Buccaneers (1/12/22)
The Eagles will take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, who are led by the greatest football player of all time in Tom Brady.
They are +8.5 underdogs vs. the Buccaneers, and deservingly so because the Bucs are getting some key pieces back in running back, Leonard Fournette, and linebacker, Lavonte David.
Even without being at full strength, Tampa is still the better and far more experienced team than the Eagles.
While it’s likely that the Bucs will win this game and move closer to their second straight Lombardi Trophy, there are reasons to believe that the Eagles can pull off a major upset.
Back in week 6, when these two teams faced off, the Eagles were missing arguably their best playmaker in Dallas Goedert.
Goedert is fifth among tight ends in receiving yards, which is the second most amongst Eagles players.
Over a nine-game stretch after the Zach Ertz trade, Goedert has compiled 544 receiving yards.
The Buccaneers defense has struggled against tight ends this season.
They have given up the fifth-most receiving yards to tight ends among all NFL teams.
Having Goedert healthy gives the Eagles offense a huge advantage, and gives he gives them a weapon that should easily exploit Tampa’s defense.
Different Eagles Squad
At the beginning of the season when these two teams faced off, the Eagles were a team that hadn’t established their identity as of yet.
Nick Sirianni was clueless in his play-calling, as he hardly ran the ball throughout the game. Lead running back, Miles Sanders, only received nine carries, including only one in the first half.
Ever since that game, the Eagles are 7–4 and now in the playoffs, because they have found their identity, run the ball.
Throughout the regular season, they led the league in rushing, and they broke the franchise record for most rushing yards and touchdowns in a single season.
Tampa Bay’s run defense has been elite all season, as they are ranked as the third-best rushing defense in the league.
There is one underlying weakness to their run defense. Via Eagles reporter, Elliot Shorr-Parks, the Buccaneers defense has allowed 4.85 yards per carry over the last eight games. If that stat had lasted the whole season, then the Bucs would have the second-worst run defense in the league.
Their passing defense has been suspect. Throughout the season, the Bucs have had the 21st ranked pass defense.
While Jalen Hurts’ arm isn’t the greatest by any means, he managed to improve his passing ability during the final stretch of the season.
In December, Hurts posted his highest completion percentage and quarterback rating of the season.
With his improved passing, he has a likely chance to pick apart a Bucs pass defense that has struggled.
Bucs missing key weapons
While Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback to ever play the game of football, just like any other quarterback, he needs playmakers around to be successful.
Due to Chris Godwin’s season-ending ACL injury, Cyril Grayson’s hamstring injury, and the Antonio Brown fiasco, the Bucs are very shorthanded at the wide receiver position.
All they have to rely on is wide receiver, Mike Evans, tight end, Rob Gronkowski, and Leonard Fournette, who is returning from a hamstring injury.
Stopping the running attack
The Buccaneers don’t have many weaknesses, but one of them has been their ability to run the ball. In the regular season, they were 26th in rushing yards per game.
It makes sense though because Tampa Bay is not known for running the ball a whole lot.
But with a lack of wide receivers that will be available for them, they will have to rely on the run game.
At the beginning of the season, the Eagles had one of the worst run defenses in the league, but that has completely turned around. They now have the ninth-best rushing defense in the league.