5 Things Philadelphia Eagles Will Learn Playing Tampa Bay Buccaneers
5 Things the Philadelphia Eagles Will Learn Playing Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Entering Week 6, the Philadelphia Eagles have held onto a share of the NFC East division lead, yet they really haven’t met their true potential, with the exception of their very first half of football in 2013. Keeping themselves in play to win the division and make the playoffs after last year’s debacle is a large upgrade under a first-year head coach. Chip Kelly faces another strong test this weekend in the defensive corps of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Displaying the ability to stay consistent and take advantage of the opportunity to grab a game from another winless team seems like a must if the Eagles are to move forward.
To this point, Philadelphia has let two games slip through their fingers that could have been wins. With Nick Foles behind center, the offense will look much different than the high tempo, mobile-option attack which Michael Vick has shown to this point. They are still a very capable offensive group, and putting up points against a good defense can only help in the long run to build confidence. The performances of stars, DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy, will be integral in making the game easier for Foles and giving Philadelphia the best chance to win.
If nothing else, by the end of the day, the Eagles will be able to answer some questions that continue to loom about just how productive their strongest pieces are. The answers will not only affect the outcome of Sunday’s game, but also be a look into the future and the expectations they can have going forward.
#5 Is the Offensive Line More Capable In Front of Less Mobility?
After an admission of lackluster play against the New York Giants, the offensive line will get a chance at reestablishing themselves, controlling the pocket. The possibility may be that protecting and setting up for a quarterback that remains in the pocket and has less mobility, in Nick Foles, may be easier than scrambling around to protect the super mobile Michael Vick. In addition, the past two weeks LeSean McCoy has produced less on the ground which could be another ill effect of the struggles the offensive line has demonstrated.
#4 Can LeSean McCoy Carry the Eagles to Victory?
Coming off of two subpar performances, at least by his standard, LeSean McCoy will look to control the game over a top-10 rush defense in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The effect he has on the game will be magnified by the matchup that the receiving corps will meet in the Tampa Bay secondary, led by Darrelle Revis. If McCoy is able to find the next gear and open the field, look for the Eagles to use it to their advantage to not only to eat up yards on the ground, but to open some room for the undermanned receiving group.
#3 Is DeSean Jackson a True Top Receiver?
Once or twice a season, players have the opportunity to prove just how great they are. Week 6 for DeSean Jackson presents just that. A matchup with the best cornerback in the NFL in Darrelle Revis makes this game a measuring stick for Jackson. He is often criticized for his size and the effect it has on his game when he’s matched against more physical corners. Jackson has a great chance to show just how dynamic he can be and that his size is not what people should be talking about, but rather his speed which will open up variety in his game.
#2 Can Nick Foles Lead the Philadelphia Eagles Against Top Defense?
The Philadelphia Eagles pulled off the divisional victory against the winless New York Giants behind Nick Foles, filling in for the injured Michael Vick. But the Eagles will learn quickly just how prepared Foles is, playing against a strong Tampa Bay defense. His passing touch and quick decision making present him the tools necessary to lead and be successful, but if he can’t use his personnel to take advantage of the situation, the Eagles may be in trouble. His play Sunday could have the effect of creating a controversy or making it clear that Philadelphia made the right decision from the beginning.
#1 NFC East Contenders or Pretenders?
Good teams take advantage of opportunities when they’re presented with them. Bad teams lose games they should win and consequently miss the playoffs. Week 6 against the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers presents an opportunity to see if the Philadelphia Eagles are actually contenders in a weak NFC East, or if they’ve just been hanging around in a bad division. Winning a game they’re supposed to would set them up going forward to hold their own fate, but dropping another winnable game would show that lacking defensive support and being inconsistent on offense is really leaving them with too much to work on.