TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 14: Philadelphia Eagles At Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Eagles
Buccaneers
Quarterback
Nick Foles is struggling badly for the Eagles and it’s unlikely he is the long-term answer for the Eagles. He’s definitely not the short-term answer. Foles has been playing since Michael Vick suffered a concussion and it’s likely he will play in this game as well. Foles has a tough time reading defenses and does not always the ball accurately.
Winner Josh Freeman is having a solid season and his confidence has improved dramatically under first-year head coach Greg Schiano. Freeman has size, athletic ability and physical strength. He also has a big arm and when he feels comfortable in the pocket, he is quite accurate. Freeman has shown quite a bit of improvement this season.
Offense
The Eagles have not been able to establish any consistency on offense no matter who plays quarterback. Much of that is due to the horrendous play by the Philadelphia offensive line. Bryce Brown is a tough and enthusiastic running back who has made a contribution with LeSean McCoy (concussion) sidelined, but ball security is an issue. Tight end Brent Celek will catch nearly anything he can get his hands on.
Winner Schiano has built a credible offense and much of that is the result of the hard running of Doug Martin. Vincent Jackson is one of the best big-play receivers in the league. Jackson has size, strength and long arms. When he senses he has the defensive back at a disadvantage, the Bucs will look to him for explosive plays. Mike Williams is also one of Freeman’s top receivers.
Defense
Winner The Eagles have been getting blitzed badly on the defensive side of the ball. One of the biggest problems the Eagles have had is the lack of a pass rush and they cut pass rusher Jason Babin prior to their Week 13 game against the Cowboys. Middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans is a solid tackler and a good-effort player and so is free safety Kurt Coleman.
The Bucs give up a lot of yards through the air. The Bucs rank 30th in yards allowed and 31st in passing yards allowed. While they are at the top of the charts in rushing yards allowed, much of that is due to the fact that opponents will simply attack through the air. The Bucs’ secondary is not fast enough and their coverage technique is weak.
Special Teams
In addition to all their other problems, the Eagles have not been beaten badly in punt- and kickoff-return differential. Alex Henery is a decent placekicker, but the Eagles have often trailed by multiple touchdowns so field goals don’t always come into play.
Winner The Bucs also struggle on their coverage teams. Michael Koenen is a decent punter and he is averaging nearly 45.0 yards per punt, but the Bucs don’t get downfield quickly enough to corral punt returners. Connor Barth has been solid as a field goal kicker, but he does not rank with the best players at his position.

The Winner Is

Winner Buccaneers
3 out of 4

The Bucs are not yet a finished product, but the Bucs have an explosive offense and they are moving in the right direction. The Eagles appear to be in the final days of their run under Andy Reid. They have a slew of problems and a 60-minute effort does not seem likely in this game.

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  1. Nigel Williams-Goss #5 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs reacts after a play in the second half against the South Carolina Gamecocks during the 2017 NCAA Men's Final Four Semifinal at University of Phoenix Stadium on April 1, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. Kennedy Meeks #3 and Justin Jackson #44 of the North Carolina Tar Heels react in the second half against the Oregon Ducks during the 2017 NCAA Men's Final Four Semifinal at University of Phoenix Stadium on April 1, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona.
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  3. Joel Berry II #2 of the North Carolina Tar Heels handles the ball in the second half against the Kentucky Wildcats during the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament South Regional at FedExForum on March 26, 2017 in Memphis, Tennessee. Tyler Dorsey #5 of the Oregon Ducks reacts in the second half against the Kansas Jayhawks during the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Midwest Regional at Sprint Center on March 25, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri.
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