Matchup Monday: 2 key positional matchups for the Eagles in week 2
After a gutsy week 1 win at home against the Atlanta Falcons, the Philadelphia Eagles will head to Tampa bay to take on the Buccaneers. The Bucs are riding high after a big win on the road against their divisional rival New Orleans Saints. The Bucs offense exploded, putting up 48 points. Journeyman quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had himself a day, throwing for over 400 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Many thought week 2 for the Eagles would be an easy win. After Jameis Winston got suspended for 3 games, it seemed like the Eagles had themselves a favorable matchup against the Bucs. That all changed after seeing the Bucaneers blow the roof off the Superdome on Sunday.
The Eagles are still the favorites heading into week 2 and definitely have the better roster. Even with Ryan Fitzpatrick lighting up the Saints, everyone knows he is not Peyton Manning and is still a backup in this league. Here are 2 key positional matchups for the Eagles heading into week 2.
Buccaneers Pass Catchers vs the Eagles defensive backs
The Bucs boast one of the best receiving corps in the NFL when healthy, and it was on full display on Sunday. Mike Evans is one of the best receivers in the NFL, and he is almost unstoppable at times. Former Eagle Desean Jackson lines up on the other side of him and had himself a day on Sunday, hauling in 2 touchdowns on 146 yards receiving. Second year tight end O.J Howard is also a matchup nightmare, but has yet to fully show off his capability in the NFL.
The Eagles will have to keep the Bucs receivers at bay if they want to win on Sunday. The Bucs may be without deep threat Desean Jackson, as he was forced out of the game late against the Saints with a concussion. If Desean doesnt play, the Eagles should be able to put majority of their focus on slowing down Mike Evans. If he does play, the Bucs offense becomes much more dangerous. Eagles fans saw that first hand when Desean Jackson was on the field for us back in the day.
I expect the Eagles to have a 3 safety set throughout the game to try and slow their receivers down.
Eagles Offensive Line vs Bucaneers Defensive Line
The Eagles were able to keep Nick Foles fairly clean week 1, as he was only sacked twice for a loss of 13 yards. Nick Foles needs time to survey the defense to be successful, however I think the key to Eagles offense on Sunday will be their ability to run the ball. The Eagles offensive line struggled to open up holes for their running backs early in their week 1 game against the Falcons, which stalled their offense. The rushing attack picked up late, which ultimately was the difference on offense.
The Bucs have some talent on the defensive line, including a few talented run stoppers. Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is their star on defense, and will be the Eagles offensive line main focus on Sunday. He is capable of blowing up plays routinely, and has to be contained for the Eagles to have success. The Bucs have two former Eagles defensive lineman on their team in Beau Allen and Vinny Curry, who are very capable run stoppers. They will be tasked with slowing down the Eagles rushing attack.
Look for the Eagles to use running back Jay Ajayi early and often on Sunday. He was eased into the game week 1, as he was battling an injury leading into the game. I expect Head Coach Doug Pederson to unleash him early in the game.