We’re five weeks into the NFL season, and frankly, Philadelphia is being seriously disrespected. Just take a look at any publication’s power rankings.
You’re telling me that the Seattle Seahawks, who have the same record as the Eagles mind you, and just lost their generational talent at quarterback for the next few weeks, are currently a better team than the Philadelphia Eagles? You’re telling me that the Denver Broncos who beat up on three weak teams only to get stomped by two slightly more competent teams are better than the Eagles? The Broncos’ defense is supposed to be stout and they let the Steelers rush for 147 yards, almost double their previous season high. You’re telling me that the Carolina Panthers, who just lost to the Eagles at home while only managing one trip to the end zone are ten spots higher than the Eagles? Should they be higher than the Eagles? Yes, but ten spots? That’s too many. The Eagles are undoubtedly a top-20 team, maybe even top-18 team in the league. I say this knowing full well what I’m about to say next.
The Eagles are going to get crushed tonight.
In the same way the Dallas Cowboys stomped the Eagles in Week 3, the Buccaneers are going to dominate every aspect of this game and walk away with a two-possession victory. “Oh, but Tampa Bay’s pass defense has more holes than the plot line of The Last Jedi.” That’s true, but you know who else has a defense that can’t stop the pass? Dallas. And Kansas City. Sure, the Eagles averaged 25.5 points in their games against those teams, but they allowed 41.5. Now, throw in the fact that unlike the Cowboys and Chiefs, the Bucs can actually stop the run, and this game is going to get ugly real fast.
The Bucs’ offense also matches up extraordinarily well with Philadelphia. Teams that can pass the ball efficiently against the Eagles absolutely tear their way down the field. Not only do the Bucs boast one of the most efficient passing attacks in the NFL — ranking seventh in the NFL in net yards per attempt (7.4, only two points lower than the Dallas Cowboys) — but they pass the ball more often than any other team in the league. Furthermore, despite passing the ball over a full percent more than any other team in the NFL, the Buccaneers don’t turn the ball over through the air. They’re the only team in the league with less-than-a-one-percent interception percentage (0.9 percent), and they are doing so while leading the league in passing touchdowns (15).
While the Eagles have done well defensively this season against teams that like to run the ball (and the Atlanta Falcons, but everyone does well defensively against them), they have not been able to keep up with high-octane pass offenses, even when those teams have horrendous pass defenses.
Perhaps you can blame Jalen Hurts for that. But he’s still young. The receivers around him are all pretty green, and the one consistent target the team has had in years past, Zach Ertz, isn’t exactly a reliable target anymore. While Dallas Goedert may be the most consistent target for Hurts this season, he will draw the eye of the Tampa Bay linebackers. The Buccaneers have allowed only one touchdown to opposing tight ends all season, so don’t expect much from Goedert either.
I like the Eagles. I like the future they are building. I like their young core. I don’t even mind their defense, but they’re one of the most predictable teams in the league in terms of success. They beat the teams they should beat. They lose to the teams they should lose to. They get pummeled by teams far better than them. Tonight will be no different. Bucs by 15.