Eagles (4-5) vs Bucs (4-5) Week 11 – Preview

Stop me if you’ve heard this before – The Eagles have another shot to take over first place in the NFC East.  This team is clearly running out of chances.  Honestly, how many do they deserve?  I’m sure most Eagles fans are very similar to myself where every time they think they have this team figured out the complete opposite happened.  Last weeks game was on the same level as the week 2 Dallas game.  An utter disappointment.  We as fans pay good money to watch our beloved Eagles quit and lay down.  A disgusting act of football that has been played more often than not this season.  This we get our first look at Mark Sanchez as the starting QB.  This Bradford/Sanchez debate has been very active on twitter.  For those clambering for Mark, you got your wish.  I do believe he will be able to move the ball just like Bradford.  The biggest unknown going into this game is how many of the little things show up on tape?  Meaning penalties, illegal procedures, drops, guys lined up wrong or the wrong guys in the game.  It seems like week after week the Eagles battle the opponent and themselves.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about this teams psychy.  I think this is a fragile group and a mentally week football team.  Last week vs Miami being a perfect example.  If the Eagles get off to a rough start this week, this will in all likely -hood be another poor performance.

Here are the  injury reports for both teams from philadelphiaeagles.com.

Jason Peters has been limited in practice and I don’t expect him to play.  The Eagles will keep their OL intact from the last 2 games by kicking Lane Johnson out to LT and keeping Dennis Kelly at RT.  This OL hasn’t been horrible in terms of pass protection.  They will face a talented defensive line led by another all-pro nose tackle in Gerald McCoy.  Suh dominated Kelce last week and threw him around like a rag doll (if you think I’m kidding check the tape).  Kelce will need to be stronger at the point of attack and stand his ground.

The Bucs like the Eagles have struggled along the OL during stretches this year.  They have started two rookies and have tried to keep rookie QB Jameis Winston upright.  The Eagles should be able to control the line of scrimmage with Cox and Logan.  The Bucs come in average 126.6 yards on the ground this year.  If the Eagles can limit the Bucs on the ground and make Winston beat them through the air, they will win this football game.  We’ve mentioned this before and it’s worth mentioning again – the Eagles have struggled lately against the run, giving up some big plays.  They need to get back to their early season success.  Injuries to the ILB position haven’t helped.  DeMeco Ryans should be back this week.  He will definitely help in run support.

Jameis Winston has done a nice job this year.  He clearly struggled during the first quarter of the season but lately has played well.  He’s shown poise in the pocket, can make all the throws and can make a play or 2 with his legs if need be.  He reminds me a lot of Ben Roethlisberger.  Not in terms of resume but his size and style of play.  It’s often not all that pretty with Winston and Big Ben but the ball ultimately goes where it needs to go.  Winston has been as advertised this year in my opinion.  He has a bright future.

The Eagles will need to be disciplined in their rush lanes this week.  If the OLB’s get too far up field Winston will be able to step up and make plays.  Conor Barwin has been limited with injuries this week.  All signs point to Marcus Smith getting his first start.  Smith will need be focused on keeping contain and not running himself out of the play behind Winston.  He will be amped up to get to the QB being his first start and all.  He needs to play with in himself and the scheme and the rest will take care of itself.

Last week was the first game action for Nelson Agholor in over a month.  I expect him to see more time this week and ultimately take Josh Huff’s snaps.  Agholor still has half a season to make an impact on this team but he’s running out of time.  This season hasn’t been a total loss but it’s getting close.  The lack of production from Chip’s draft picks is alarming but that’s an off-season topic.  A topic that we will spend a fair amount of time on, believe me.  Last week the Eagles primarily ran their offense out of 2 TE personnel.  I expect more of the same to help with this offensive line.  Eagles will have some match – ups in their favor from with their TE’s.  Celek went off last week opening up plays for Ertz underneath.

I mentioned before in my opening paragraph Mark Sanchez will make his first start of the season.  Last week, Sanchez showed why he should be on the field more.  He was able to manipulate the pocket, showed his elusiveness and was able to get the ball down the field.  He then showed us why doesn’t deserve to play because he can’t take care of the football.  The classic Sanchez interception, throwing a ball that had no business being thrown.  It’s a simple formula honestly.  Take care of the ball and the Eagles will win the game.  Clearly it’s easier said than done, but Sanchez must take care of the football.  If I were Chip I would really come out and pound the football.  If it takes DeMarco getting 35 carries than so be it.  Eagles can’t afford to lose one more game maybe 2 the rest of the way.  Every game from here on out is a must win.

Prediction – The Eagles do have some favorable match-ups as mentioned above.  The question is will both lines be able to hold up for them to take advantage?  Like last week, I don’t have a particularly good feeling about this game but I’ve been wrong every time I thought I had a beat on this team.  Last week I picked them to win.  I won’t make that same mistake again. EAGLES 24 BUCS 30

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