It’s been a season of mixed results in the City of Brotherly Love so far in 2015. With all of the pre-season hype surrounding Chip Kelly and his high-octane offense under a reborn Sam Bradford, many predicted great things for the Eagles. And while they haven’t entirely flamed out, fast forward a couple of months and Bradford is out injured and this team resembles nothing like how it looked back in Week 1. Chip Kelly has had to adapt on the fly, and full credit to him for keeping his team afloat in a miserable NFC East. The Eagles have a legitimate shot at the post-season, but coming off a tough loss last week to the Dolphins, this is a must-have game for Philadelphia. Tampa Bay is playing improved football of late and this definitely won’t be an easy match-up. Read on below for a game breakdown and an official betting selection for this key NFC showdown with heavy playoff implications.
Buccaneers vs. Eagles Betting Odds:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +6 (-115)
@ Philadelphia Eagles -6 (-105)
Over 45 (-110)
Under 45 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Buccaneers vs. Eagles Pick:
With Sam Bradford being unable to avoid his seemingly inevitable rash of injuries, it’s Mark Sanchez that will fill in for him in Chip Kelly’s offense. Bradford has mixed results this season, and many predict that Sanchez may in fact be a better fit in this style of attack. He does have a tendency to make key errors at the worst of times – as was seen last week vs. Miami, but if he can play a safe game, it can do wonders for the Eagles offense. Sanchez is fortunate enough that he’ll be taking on a Tampa Bay secondary that has been much worse than expected in 2015. They can’t cover anybody right now. He should be able to move the chains effectively on Sunday.
On the other side of the ball, the Buccaneers have been doing alright as they’d had to make due without Austin Sefarian-Jenkins and Vincent Jackson. Those are two big cogs in their offense and without them, the Bucs have struggled. It’s not yet known if both will return this week, though early indications have ASJ missing yet another game, while V-Jax has a shot at suiting up. One area of concern for Chip Kelly should be the play of late for his defense. They’ve been lacklustre in coverage and have started to fall back to old habits in defending the run. Luckily for the Eagles, the Bucs aren’t really designed to exploit those flaws – especially given their injuries at the moment. Still, Tampa will hang around in this contest if the Eagles do not brush up defensively. Expect a bit better of an outing from this unit on Sunday, as with the playoffs on the line, this defense should be able to win the match-up against Jameis Winston and his offense.
I think at home, the Eagles should be getting a full touchdown. There’s so much negativity surrounding Mark Sanchez, but I look for him to turn in a solid effort on Sunday and play consistently conservative, especially in the red zone. I think the Eagles defense will limit the damage and show their early-season form, while I doubt the Bucs will be able to consistently get stops vs. Philly’s offense. Look for the Eagles to continue their playoff push with a double-digit victory on Sunday.
PICK = Eagles -6 (-105)