A few pre-game thoughts/notes:
– Kurt Coleman is out with a chest injury, meaning Colt Anderson will likely get major PT (Andy Reid has shown no inclination towards Sims). While I’d normally be excited by anything involving the words “Kurt Coleman” and “not playing”, Colt Anderson has looked lost in limited playing time (against the Lions he was solely responsible for 2 TDs if I remember correctly).
– The Bucs’ pass defense is terrible, giving up an average of 309 ypg. Their run defense, however, is ranked #1 in the league.
THINGS TO WATCH FOR:
– Given the Bucs’ defensive strengths/weaknesses, this should be a showcase game for Nick Foles. Tampa Bay actually has less sacks this year than the Eagles do (Bucs – 18, Eagles – 20), meaning Foles should have plenty of time. Pay particular attention to his downfield attempts, as thats an area of his game we haven’t seen much of.
– While the Bucs are 30th in sacks, they are 4th in interceptions, meaning Foles’ decision making has to be good if he’s going to avoid turning it over.
– Brandon Graham is coming off arguably the best game of his career. With increased playing time (with Babin gone), the next few games will go a long way towards determining whether he is a complete bust or can be a contributor.
– Under Todd Bowles, opposing QB’s have a 142.4 passer rating, with 16 TDs and 0 interceptions. This is a historically bad stretch of defense. Watch the DE alignment to see if they’ve truly abandoned the wide-9. If so, we should see them less susceptible to the PA seam routes that have torched them all year.
– Tampa Bay is favored by 7.5. The fact that the Eagles are 7.5 point underdogs to a 6-6 team is both remarkable and sad. Against the spread this year, the Eagles are 2-9-1, the worst record in the league. Meaning they have been the most consistently overrated team in the league (by the betting market).