A four-day turnover after demolishing the Miami Dolphins at home, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-1) are on the road this week to face the Philadelphia Eagles (2-3) on Thursday Night Football.
The Bucs are a seven-point favorite, according to Sports Illustrated Sportsbook. The over/under is set at 52.5 points. You can find the AllBucs staff picks and predictions for the game below.
Zach Goodall (5-0): Buccaneers 31, Eagles 21
I've got the Buccaneers winning and covering the seven-point spread, however, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Eagles putting up a tough fight. Not only are the Buccaneers struggling to defend the pass this season, but mobile quarterbacks have given defensive coordinator Todd Bowles fits in recent memory. The Bucs' pass rush is disruptive but, beyond the past two games, has struggled to turn pressure into sacks and Jalen Hurts is the type of quarterback who can take advantage of that.
The Eagles own one of the league's top passing defenses by the numbers, but I'm not sure Philadelphia will be able to hang tight with the Buccaneers' air attack, a unit that posted 437 yards and five touchdowns a week ago. Hurts and the Philly offense may match some of Tampa Bay's scoring drives, but I can't see it being enough to pull off an upset over the Buccaneers - even at home.
As linebacker Lavonte David will reportedly miss the game with an ankle injury, I project that rookie K.J. Britt will make an impact play or gather a handful of tackles, even if it's in a limited role with Kevin Minter expected to start in David's play.
Jason Beede (5-0): Buccaneers 34, Eagles 24
After a 10-point loss at Los Angeles and only a two-point win at New England, the Bucs seemed to get back on track on offense at home blowing out a bad Miami Dolphins squad that allowed Tampa Bay to put up 45 points.
Back on the road this week, I feel confident to project that the Bucs will win by double-digits despite recent struggles on the road. Like Zach indicated above, the Eagles have done well against the pass on defense so far this season. Philly has limited opposing teams to 194.8 yards a game, which ranks third in the league. However, the Eagles haven't faced a team like the Bucs.
Simply put, Tampa Bay's offense will likely overpower the Eagles and I've got a good feeling Bucs wide receiver Antonio Brown will be part of that attack. He only needs one more touchdown to tie Calvin Johnson and Brandon Marshall (83) for the 23rd-most touchdown receptions in NFL history.
Evan Winter (4-1): Buccaneers 32, Eagles 28
When I first started looking at this game, I was a bit worried. However, that changed once I really started diving into the matchup.
The Eagles can't stop the run and they can't stop committing penalties. Those two traits will lose you a lot of games in the NFL, especially when you're going up against an offense like the one Tampa Bay possesses. Jalen Hurts should do plenty to keep this game from reaching blowout status, but I don't think the Eagles can get by as a one-dimensional team.
There are plenty of matchups for both sides to exploit. The key for an Eagles upset will be whether or not they get pressure with their front four. If they can do that, then this game can go either way. The key for the Bucs to move to 5-1 is simple: Don't beat yourselves.
My final score will not be indicative of the entire game. I believe that the Bucs will never have a comfortable lead in this game, but at the same time, they will keep the Eagles at arm's length throughout the game. Like, let's say the Bucs have an 8-10 point lead throughout the night, but never much more than that. Philadelphia scores a backdoor touchdown late to cover the spread.
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