Nick Foles is expected to make his season debut Sunday against a familiar foe in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Philadelphia Eagles fans will remember Foles’ last minute drive and last second pass to Jeremy Maclin with zeros on the clock to walk off with a win on the road against the Bucs.
Foles faces a very different team this time around. The Bucs shored up their secondary and the cupboard is full of talent. They added arguably the best cornerback in the game in Darrelle Revis and hard-hitting and instinctive safety Dashon Goldson. They also used a high second round pick on rookie talent Jonathan Banks in an effort to completely revamp the secondary with more talented, premium players, and it is already paying dividends.
The Bucs rank 5th in the league in passing defense after being at the bottom of the league last year. Making matters even more difficult, the Bucs defensive line is stout and ranks 4th in rush defense. There won’t be a lot of field for the Eagles offense to work with on Sunday.
This may be Chip Kelly and the Eagles’ biggest offensive test. While Foles does have his strengths, starting him at quarterback makes the running game more difficult to get going. With quarterback Michael Vick defenses have to respect the read option, and this leaves more running room for LeSean “Shady” McCoy to work with. No defense is going to confuse Foles for Vick athletically. This hinders McCoy’s ability to find running room, and that really showed last Sunday where he was totally shut out in the second half after Vick went out.
This game will be a defensive struggle that will go down to the wire on Sunday. Let’s hope history repeats itself for Foles against the Bucs.