3 Keys to victory that will help the Eagles defeat the Buccaneers

Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) catches the ball and runs for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Never before in Philadelphia Eagles history (at least in the Super Bowl era) has the franchise gone 2-0 in back-to-back seasons. Much like the Jalen Hurts and Nick Sirianni era, we are in uncharted territory – it’s a great place to be in.

To move to 3-0, the Eagles will need to take on a very tough Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that is brimming with surprising confidence. Picked to rot following the retirement of Tom Brady, the Bucs are 2-0 with clutch victories in their first two weeks against the Vikings and Bears. They can move to 3-0, something they never did with Brady with a possible upset win over the defending NFC Champs.

As with any game, there are keys that the Eagles can use to exploit and try to pull off a win on Monday night. Let’s get to them here.

Stabilize the Secondary

Dolphins vs patriots
New England Patriots tight end Hunter Henry (85) is pursued by Philadelphia Eagles safety Reed Blankenship, left, as he scores a touchdown on a pass from quarterback Mac Jones in the first half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Through the first two games of the new season, the Eagles’ secondary has been an Achilles heel for the team.

For good reason.

Philadelphia is now down their starting slot corner and was originally down three starters in Thursday night’s win over the Vikings. As good as Justin Jefferson is, the 300+ yards Philadelphia’s secondary has given up cannot play against a Bucs offense that employs several All-Pro wideouts.

Tampa Bay’s offense has improved, but they aren’t going to be considered a top-running team. The only way the Bucs can pull off an upset as they’ve done over the last few weeks is if they win through the air. Baker Mayfield has had a rejuvenation of sorts in his third stint elsewhere, but if the Eagles secondary is healthy, and does their job, they can bring him back down to earth.

Make quick decisions in the Passing Game

Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Philadelphia’s passing game has been a work in progress in 2023. A new play-caller along with some injuries and exotic defenses has had the group stuck in the mud to start the year. A big reason for that is because quarterback Jalen Hurts is trying to dissect the opposing defense. He’s reacting instead of dictating the play as the leader on the field.

To beat Tampa Bay, obvious answers like dominating the line of scrimmage, or protecting the football are all important keys.

But for the Eagles to show they are once again the NFC Power that other teams fear, they need to start picking apart defenses through the air. Luckily, with it only being Week 3, there’s no sense of panic just yet. This group has plenty of talent, and a push to get better.

A way to solve their early season rut though is to get the ball out quickly and get the receivers in space. Letting A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Dallas Goedert be the All-Pro athletes they are will only improve the team in the long run, and develop the chemistry and trust that seems to be out of sync right now.

Philadelphia’s passing game hasn’t been bad, but they definitely need improvements and Monday night is the perfect time to find that.

Find the Matchup

Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles’ A.J. Brown scores a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Like in any game against an underdog, finding the right matchup is always key. Whether it’s attacking Tampa’s vulnerable interior offensive line, or attacking certain injured corners like Carlton Davis. There are matchups to be won all over the field for the Eagles.

One thing about matchups though is that they can change by the series. With the way coaches adjust to certain schemes, a matchup to exploit can turn into a lopsided deficiency in a hurry if the Eagles’ coaching staff isn’t ahead of the curve.

Two years ago, Nick Sirianni’s staff was embarrassed by Todd Bowles and Bruce Arians. Sure, the talent discrepancy was large, but the Eagles got outcoached in the playoffs. They cannot be outcoached against a solid Bucs staff now without Arians there.

If the coaching staff can find a favorable matchup, the Eagles should feel pretty good on Monday night.

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AP Photo/Matt Slocum