3 Keys For Philadelphia Eagles To Upset Buccaneers

Philadelphia Eagles, NFL News
NFL Analysis Network

The Philadelphia Eagles surprised a lot of people when they qualified for the NFL postseason following a victory in Week 17 over the Washington Football Team. It was quite a turnaround for them, as their record stood at 3-6 after a three-point loss to the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 9.

After that, they played some of the best football in the league. They would go on a 6-2 run to clinch a playoff spot before losing a meaningless game in Week 18 to the Dallas Cowboys. Now, the Eagles will be preparing to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Wild Card weekend.

This is the second time this season the Eagles and Buccaneers will face off. They played on Thursday Night Football in Week 6 and Tampa Bay won 28-22. It won’t be easy pulling off the upset, but they are a totally different team than the one that took the field three months ago.

The Buccaneers will look different as well, as they embark on their mission to defend their Super Bowl title. How can Philadelphia pull off the upset? Here are three keys for the Eagles to make that happen.

3. Find A Pass Rush

If there is one thing that has gotten Tom Brady off of his game, it is consistent pressure. Of course, that is something no quarterback wants to face. The difference here is that the Philadelphia Eagles need to bring pressure without blitzing.

Brady is too good at dissecting things at the line of scrimmage. It is a tall task to disguise anything against him, so he can usually pick out the blitz pre-snap and get the ball where it needs to go before they get home.

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Philadelphia isn’t a team that brings many blitzes, recording the second-lowest blitz percentage in the NFL. That will help, but they need to generate pressure bringing only four, something they haven’t consistently done all season.

They were 12th in hurries with 75, 16th in quarterback knockdowns with 51, second to last in sacks with 29 and 20th in pressures with 155. If they are unable to generate heat on Brady, it could be a long day for them defensively.

2. Shutting Down Rob Gronkowski

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense will look a lot different this weekend than it did in Week 6. While Tom Brady will still be under center, which means it will still be productive, the supporting cast is different.

Chris Godwin is sidelined with a torn ACL. Antonio Brown was released midgame against the New York Jets. Leonard Fournette may not be able to suit up because of an injury.

That is a lot of talent to be missing, but the team still has Mike Evans and Rob Gronkowski to catch the ball. The Eagles have a dominant, shutdown corner in Darius Slay who should be able to hold his own against Evans in one-on-one coverage.

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That leaves Gronkowski as the man the rest of the defense has to key in on. He is Brady’s safety blanket and if they can take him out of the game, it will drastically improve their odds of winning.

The other players stepping into prominent roles aren’t players that Brady has nearly the same level of confidence and trust in as Evans and Gronk. Forcing the likes of Breshad Perriman, Tyler Johnson and Cyril Grayson to beat you could be a recipe for success.

1. Sustaining The Running Game

The Philadelphia Eagles’ bread and butter is the run game. They are the No. 1 rushing team in the NFL this season as they have numerous options that can beat you on the ground.

Jalen Hurts is one of the best rushing quarterbacks in the NFL, as he is more dangerous right now with his legs than his arms. Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, Jordan Howard and Kenneth Gainwell make up arguably the best running back room in the league.

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If the Eagles are going to pull off the upset, they have to get the ground game going. Alas, that is easier said than done as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the No. 1 rush defense in the NFL.

Winning in the trenches is the No. 1 key to the Eagles pulling off this upset. Not only will their offense find success if they can run the ball, that ball control offense means that they are limiting the chances for Tom Brady and the Buccaneers’ offense as well.