#Eagles vs. #Buccaneers: Can Philadelphia upset Tamp Bay? #PHIvsTB #TBvsPHI #FlyEaglesFly#Bucs
The time for talking is over and the Eagles are a little under five hours from kicking off a wild card playoff game against the Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium.
The weather could be playing a factor on Sunday, with torrential rain passing through in the morning, and almost 30-MPH winds circulating at game time.
The Eagles averaged a league-leading 159.7 rushing yards per game, and they’ll have both Miles Sanders and Jordan Howard available for Tampa’s top-ranked rush defense.
The Buccaneers ruled out wide receiver Cyril Grayson (hamstring) and running back Ronald Jones (ankle) for Sunday’s game.
Tampa is already without Chris Godwin (ACL) and Antonio Brown (release) and Grayson had a huge game in the season finale, and they also listed three players as questionable as well, as cornerback Carlton Davis was added to the injury report on Friday with a back injury. Cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting is questionable with a hamstring injury. He was limited all week in practice. Wide receiver Justin Watson (quadriceps) is also questionable, but he was a full participant in Friday’s practice.
The Bucs have running back Giovani Bernard, linebacker Lavonte David, but will be without running back Leonard Fournette, who accounted for 127-yards and 2 touchdowns in Tampa’s Week 6 win at Lincoln Financial Field.
The Week 6 loss was the beginning of an offensive shift for Philadelphia after fans and experts were critical of Sanders logging just one carry in the first half of that loss. Sirianni started his shift towards a run-first philosophy in the loss to the Raiders and the rest is history after the Eagles roared into Detroit and nearly dropped 250-rushing yards (236) on the Lions.
Philadelphia’s momentum and confidence won’t stop there, as this is a team that battled with Tampa in Week 6 without Dallas Goedert, Lane Johnson and had to flip Jordan Mailata from left to right tackle.
Tampa’s weapons aren’t what they were earlier in the season and Jonathan Gannon’s biggest dilemma will be how he approaches containing star tight end Rob Gronkowski in the passing game.
Look for the Eagles to force Tom Brady and company into a contest where they are forced to take the underneath routes, play slow, plodding football, while Gannon plays a two-high look over the top that can prevent any huge plays.
This is a confident Philadelphia, filled with several guys who’ve played in important playoff games and if the Birds can withstand Tampa’s early punch, Sunday could provide the scenario for a dream upset, where Jalen Hurts outplays a legend.