PHILADELPHIA, PA - The Philadelphia Eagles rallied for a much-needed win on the road against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. It was a game that started off ugly for Philly, falling behind 15-3 with the offense sputtering, despite the defense’s best efforts to keep things close. In the end, the defense’s efforts would not be wasted, as the Eagles found life.
It started with a 53-yard pass from Hurts to Quez Watkins that led to a touchdown, continued with a massive blocked punt that led to another score, and then finished with cornerback Steven Nelson intercepting Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold to seal the 21-18 comeback victory.
The win is nice, but a short week presents a big challenge against one of the NFL’s best. On Thursday, the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers are coming to town. The Bucs picked up right where they left off last year, starting 4-1 behind an ageless Tom Brady and an assortment of weapons, as well as an athletic defense. This will be one of the hardest matchups all year for the Eagles, but it’s also a game that feels like a must-win. 2-4 would be a hard place to recover from.
For the Eagles to pull off the victory, it all starts offensively. The output against Carolina is not good enough to win many games, and Philly can’t expect four turnovers to help bail them out. The Eagles have all kinds of speed, and they’d do well to use it to spread the field. Between Smith, Reagor, and Watkins, one of the speedsters has to be able to get a big play deep at some point, and that’s what the Eagles should hope for. Outside of the big plays, plenty of running and designed quarterback runs are going to be key. If the Eagles can run the ball, they can do a lot offensively.
Defensively, pressure is key. Back in 2017, when the Eagles met Tom Brady in the Super Bowl, it was the pressure that forced a key strip-sack to help the Birds win their first-ever ring. A lot has changed since then, but the principle remains the same. Pressure Brady and good things will happen. With all his weapons, if Brady has time, he will dice the secondary to pieces. The Eagles have to try and confuse Brady or flat-out rattle him in order to have a chance in this game.
The Eagles aren’t a bad team, but they are not ready to contend with the Bucs. I foresee another tough loss for Philly. Final score: Eagles, 13. Bucs, 31.