Eagles vs. Buccaneers NFL Week 14 Preview

By Joe Doris
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

While the Philadelphia Eagles have no shot at reaching the playoffs this year, they would love nothing more than to spoil the hopes of their NFC foes, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Bucs have had a very up and down season to date. The squad originally toted a lackluster 2-4 record before winning four straight to move to 6-4. But the Bucs have since lost two straight, and are currently clinging onto a 6-6 record, with a chance at clinching an NFC wildcard spot.

When it comes to the Eagles, they have been on a downward spiral ever since the season began. Sitting at an ugly 3-9, the birds have lost 8 straight contests, while winning their three victories by only four points combined.

Much of the blame for the Eagles’ struggles was placed on QB Michael Vick all season long, until rookie QB Nick Foles took over in Week 10 after Vick sustained a concussion against the Dallas Cowboys. Foles proved to be greatly under-prepared for the NFL spotlight, and really stunk up the joint in his first two career starts in Week 11 and Week 12.

But surprisingly, when Foles took the field last Sunday night against the Cowboys in Week 13, he looked like a whole different quarterback. Foles showed great poise and confidence, completing 22 of his 34 passes for 251 yards and a touchdown. Most importantly, Foles did not commit a turnover.

Eagles RB Bryce Brown, also a rookie, has quickly exploded onto the scene, totaling an enormous 347 rushing yards and four touchdowns in his first two NFL starts.

Brown will certainly be in for a great challenge this Sunday, as the Buccaneers field the single best rushing defense in the entire league, allowing just 82.3 yards on the ground per game.

At the same time, the Bucs have one of the worst passing defenses in the NFL, so Foles should be able to find plenty of windows open down-field. With Eagles WR DeSean Jackson (ribs) now out for the season, WR Jeremy Maclin and WR Riley Cooper look to lead the team’s receiving corps.

On the other sideline, the Buccaneers possess one of the most explosive offensive units in the entire NFL.

Bucs QB Josh Freeman has really found his way this season, and has impressed greatly in all of his teams wins, and even many of their losses. The off-season acquisition of monster WR Vincent Jackson has helped Freeman greatly, and has in effect boosted the Buccaneers’ offense to the top of the league.

Freeman has also shown impressive chemistry with 3rd-year WR Mike Williams, and has also connected consistently with NFL journey-men WR Tiquan Underwood and TE Dallas Clark.

But easily the most notable story-line for the Bucs this season has been rookie stand-out RB Doug Martin, who holds one of the best nicknames in NFL history. The Muscle Hamster.

Martin is putting together a rookie season that will without a doubt go down in the record books, as he already has tallied over 1,000 yards rushing and nine touchdowns just 12 games into the season. Martin also has caught 32 passes for 374 yards on the year, on his way to a very impressive 500 receiving yards as a running back.

The Bucs’ incredibly high-powered offense will be taking on a soft, battered Eagles’ defensive unit who has struggled to hold any offense in check all season long.

I look for Martin, Freeman and Jackson to all put up huge numbers for the Bucs on Sunday afternoon, en route to a 34-14 drubbing of the hopeless Eagles.


Please follow Joe on Twitter @Joe_RantNFL for all Eagles/NFL insight.

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