On Sunday, LeSean McCoy and the Philadelphia Eagles (2-3) will travel to Raymond James Stadium to square up against Doug Martin and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-4). Kick-off is scheduled for 12:00pm and the game will be televised on FOX.
The Eagles are hitting a soft spot in their schedule, as they are playing a winless team for the second straight week. The Eagles are currently tied with the Dallas Cowboys for first place in the NFC East and a win would have them sitting at .500.
Last season, the Eagles led the league in games against opponents coming off of their bye week. The Bucs happen to be coming off of a week 5 bye, one of which was very much needed. Prior to the Bucs bye, starting quarterback Josh Freeman was replaced for rookie third round draft pick Mike Glennon. Not too long after, the team released Freeman, who fans once were confident would become the franchise quarterback. Freeman is now a Minnesota Viking.
Coming off of their bye week, Glennon and his receivers had an extra week to become familiar with each other. Glennon looked solid early on against the Arizona Cardinals in week 4, hooking up with Mike Williams for a touchdown for the first score of the game. It would only seem to go downhill from there, as Glennon turned the ball over three times and failed to connect with his top playmaker, Vincent Jackson.
However, rookie quarterback or not, passing weather or not, the Bucs game plan is not to attack their opponents through the air. With a solid offensive line, led by pro bowl guard Carl Nicks, leading the way for former Boise St. Bronco Doug Martin, also known as the muscle hamster to his dismay, the Bucs are going to pound the ball from start to finish.
Doug Martin is only averaging 3.4 yards per carry this season, which is disappointing after averaging 4.6 yards per carry during his rookie season. The Eagles are giving up 108 rushing yards a game, so look for Martin to find some holes in the Eagles defense. If they are able to do that, then the Bucs big receivers, Mike Williams and Vincent Jackson, are going to have an easier time getting open against a secondary that gave up 142 receiving yards to Hakeem Nicks last week, another receiver with great size.
The Bucs off-season acquisition of cornerback Darrelle Revis has made them a much more complete defense than last year’s. The Bucs rank 10th in the league at stopping the run as Gerald McCoy has lived up to his first round draft pick status at defensive tackle.
LeSean McCoy was kept in check last week against the Giants, which allowed Desean Jackson, Jason Avant, Brent Celek, and others to step up and have a big game. Those players are going to have to repeat last week’s performances to help Nick Foles and the offense put some points on the board. However, with Foles in at quarterback, the threat of the quarterback running no longer exists. This is going to limit the versatility of coach Kelly’s play calling a bit.
While Coach Kelly and the Eagles are game planning for a team that is hungry for a win, the Buccaneers are dealing with some off the field issues that may be drawing their attention away from the Eagles at the moment.
An infectious disease known as MRSA is being spread throughout the Tampa Bay locker room. Infectious disease specialists have met with the team and an investigation is under way regarding the transmission of this disease. The Buccaneers are currently trying to decide what the best course of action would be.
With this as a distraction on the mind of Coach Greg Schiano’s team, it seems as though the Eagles may have an opportunity to add another W to their win column, taking advantage of what seems to be a constant theme for the Bucs this season, which is simply bad fortune.