This week’s Thursday Night Football action sees the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-1) taking on the Philadelphia Eagles (2-3) at Lincoln Financial Field.
Fresh from a comprehensive victory over fellow Floridians, the Miami Dolphins at the weekend, a game which saw Tom Brady throw five touchdown passes and over 400 yards for the first time in his career, the Bucs head north in the hope of cementing their place at the top of the NFC South.
However, the Eagles will be more confident heading into this game after defeating the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, with two rushing touchdowns from quarterback Jalen Hurts being the key difference between the two teams.
BetRivers Sportsbook gave the Eagles as the +235 underdogs on the moneyline, with the Bucs the -278 favourites. The spread also sees the Bucs handed a -7 handicap (-107), while the Eagles are +7 (-114).
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Team News – Bucs Without Three Key Starters, Johnson Absent Again For Eagles
In their Wednesday injury report, the Bucs have announced that three starters, Tight End Rob Gronkowski, and defensive duo Lavonte David and Antoine Winfield Jr, will all miss the game through injury.
In addition, center Ryan Jensen, and lineman Patrick O’Connor along with Edge rusher Jason Pierre-Paul are all questionable for the game, although all three participated in practice on Wednesday.
The Eagles are without Lane Johnson once again. The Right Tackle is missing for the third straight game with what is being called a ‘personal matter’, although no details have been forthcoming as to what that is, or when he will return.
Dallas Goedert may miss out after being placed on the reserve/Covid-19 list unless he returns two negative tests over a 24-hour period.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Philadelphia Eagles Preview
It is clear the bookmakers think that Tampa Bay are the smart bet to land the victory in this game and it is hard to go against that, however there are a few issues that will give Eagles fans hope of causing an upset here.
Firstly, Gronk’s absence is a big blow for the Bucs offense. Brady’s chemistry with his team mate is renowned throughout the NFL and while the quarterback still has plenty of other notable targets on offense, Gronkowski is his go-to guy and safety net. His absence, does give the Eagles defense one less match up on offense to concern themselves about.
However, the Eagles may be more enthusiastic about facing the Bucs pass defense. While Tampa have been strong against the run this season (allowing just 45 yards per game, by far the lowest in the NFL), passing teams have caused them plenty of problems.
The Bucs pass defense ranks dead last in the NFL, giving up over 314 yards per game through the air.
In contrast, the Eagles pass defense rates highly, third in the NFL and offering up just over 194 yards per game so far this season. A factor which will not be lost on the pass-heavy Bucs. Especially when you consider the Eagles have allowed an average of 142 yards on the ground this season, the third worst record in the NFL.
Jalen Hurts is certainly going to have to have a big passing night if he is to steer the Eagles to an underdog victory.
Our Tips For Bucs @ Eagles
So how do we see the Bucs @ Eagles game going? I think the key aspect here will be how the Bucs defense stacks up against Tom Brady’s passing. If the Bucs can do to Brady what New England did, then I think the Eagles have a real chance of an upset here.
However, I also feel that to win, Jalen Hurts has to step up. It’s unlikely he will be rushing for many touchdowns tonight and while the Eagles average 23 points per game, they average just 1.4 passing touchdowns per game, Tampa average 3 in comparison.
If both those things turn out to be positive for the Eagles tonight, they could land an upset win, but the golden rule in the NFL is never to back against Tom Brady and I’m not going to start that tonight.
- For me, the Bucs land the win and will cover the spread here.