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Previewing the Bucs vs Eagles week 2 matchup

Photo by Wayne Masut/Scrum Sports

What if I told you that in this matchup we’d be featuring the reigning Super Bowl MVP facing the quarterback who had the best week one performance — and I’d be talking about Nick Foles and Ryan  Fitzpatrick.

This is not the matchup we expected when the schedule was released back in April. However, with Carson Wentz still not cleared for contact and the suspension to Jamies Winston, this is the matchup we get.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are coming off of the most impressive showing in week one, a 48-40 shootout victory against the New Orleans Saints.

The Philadelphia Eagles opened the NFL season with a lackluster victory at home against the Atlanta Falcons. Super Bowl hangover? Possibly. But the Eagles did what good teams do; battle and win those ugly games.

What to expect from Philly

Two things:

One, lots and lots of pressure. This front seven is as good as it gets in the NFL. The depth this team has accumulated on the defensive line is down right scary. The Eagles hit Matt Ryan on 14 of his drop backs to go along with four sacks. The defense isn’t shy about giving up some big plays — ask Tom Brady and Julio Jones — but they are still very difficult to score points on.

Two, a heavy dose of Jay Ajayi. The Eagles didn’t involve Ajayi at all early in the game — for whatever reason. The offense predictably struggled. The more Ajayi got involved, the better the offense got. Darren Sproles has already been ruled out for the game, and while the Eagles like to sprinkle in Corey Clement, Ajayi is going to get a ton of work in this matchup.

Alshon Jeffery is also ruled out, which makes that three pretty crucial weapons on the offensive side of that ball no suiting up for this game.

Can FitzMagic repeat last week?

Simply put, hell no. I think Fitzpatrick himself would even say that. That doesn’t mean he can’t be effective moving the ball on this bend-but-don’t-break Eagles defense. I do expect a decent day number wise from Fitzpatrick, however. I don’t expect him to replicate the same efficiency (21/28 passing) or the 14.9 YPA (yards per attempt). Those numbers are hard to string together over multiple weeks for even the best in the game.

If you go back and rewatch the Eagles Falcons game, you’ll see how wide open Julio Jones was for pretty much the entirety of the game. I’d expect the Bucs to attack the Eagles secondary the same way with Mike Evans, who’s coming off of a monster game himself. I think it’s safe to say the Eagles don’t have a cornerback to the caliber of last year’s defensive Rookie of the Year, Marshon Lattimore. The Eagles do, however, have the luxury of getting pressure on the opposing quarterback as stated before,. It’s going be very interesting to see how both teams game plan for this particular matchup in this game.

Chris Godwin is certainly looking the part as a legit receiving option for this offense. While his boxscore won’t blow you away — only three receptions on four targets — two of his catches were eye popping, including a nine-yard touchdown.

It was disappointing to see second round pick Ronald Jones inactive in week one, but it wasn’t as disappointing as his pre-season performance. Peyton Barber stepped in rather nicely rushing for 69 yards (nice). I wouldn’t look too much into Barber’s YPC (yards per carry) as a handful of his touches came in the fourth quarter when the Bucs had a double-digit lead and Jackson was on the sideline with an apparent concussion. The Eagles are going to be a very difficult matchup for Barber, so I’m not expecting huge numbers from the third-year running back.

Bucs injury update

DeSean Jackson – Questionable (concussion)

Jason Pierre-Paul – Questionable (knee)

Vita Vea – Out (calf)

Brent Grimes – Out (groin)

What Vegas thinks

Philadelphia (-3) | Total (44)

Super Bowl champs or not, you’re never supposed to bet against a home dog. Especially if it’s a backup quarterback that is favored. I like to Eagles to win the game outright, but nine times out of ten I’m going to take the points with a home dog. Eagles 23-21.

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