The Philadelphia Eagles face a tough test on Sunday in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense. The Bucs have an excellent defensive line including defensive end Adrian Clayborn and star defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.
Where they are most improved is in the secondary. Over the offseason the Bucs added Dashon Goldson and Darrelle Revis to strengthen and shore up what was a weak unit last season. They also added cornerback Jonathan Banks high in the draft, and all of these moves have paid off. The Bucs are in the top 5 in passing defense in the NFL and are 4th in total defense. They are playing with tenacity and aggressiveness on that side of the ball.
The Eagles offense certainly faces its biggest test yet on Sunday. Quarterback Nick Foles won’t have as much room to throw as he did last Sunday against a leaky New York Giants secondary. With talents such as Revis and Goldson and an ascending corner in Banks passing room may be scarce on Sunday afternoon.
The running game will have to be a focal point on Sunday. LeSean McCoy is the Eagles’ best player, regardless of position, and for the Bucs’ defense to stay honest in the passing game the running game has to be productive.
There is one problem with that: The Bucs defensive line is as stout as they come, and they also are the 4th ranked rushing defense in the league. It is astonishing to me that a team this solid on defense is 0-4. There is one reason and one reason alone for that: The offense.
The Bucs have been ineffective both throwing and running the football this year. They are doing their defense zero favors and it has led to zero wins.
This could be a defensive struggle on Sunday. I believe the first team to 21 points wins.