coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
On 10/07/2013 04:21 PM in NFL

Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Preview and Pick

Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Preview and Pick

The Philadelphia Eagles may have had their biggest win of the season in week five as they beat the New York Giants. The Eagles had to come from behind with a backup quarterback to get the job done. Now they hit the NFL highway to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fresh off a bye with a rookie quarterback under center. The Bucs will try and start the era without Josh Freeman off with a big win in front of the home crowd.

Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Odds

The NFL betting line for this game opened up with the Eagles as (-1.5) point favorites. This line has switched for two reason. First, the early wagers coming in on this game heavily favor the Buccaneers and secondly, the Eagles have announced that Michael Vick will not be playing in this game. The line can now be found at a (Pk) at several of the top rated online sportsbooks.

In the win over the Giants Nick Foles filled in admirably for Michael Vick. His 84.6 Total QBR is the highest among 30 quarterbacks who have come off the bench and had at least 20 action plays during the last 3 seasons. It was announced that he will start this game. Coupled with Denver's 51-48 win over Dallas later Sunday, the Eagles are tied for first place in the NFC East with the Cowboys, so the Eagles cannot afford to look past this game with the Buccaneers.

The Buccaneers have two things in their favor for this game. They are off a bye and extra time to prepare and the Eagles could be looking ahead to the game against the Dallas Cowboys.

The latest NFL betting trends in this game reveal some appealing wagering angles in this NFC matchup. The total has gone under in 8 of Philadelphia's last 12 games when playing Tampa Bay and the total has gone under in 5 of Tampa Bay's last 5 games overall. Tampa Bay is 1-9 straight up in its last 10 games and that includes a 2-7-1 against the spread (ATS) angle. This is even uglier at home where the Bucs are 0-5 straight up and 1-3-1 ATS In the last five games. Philadelphia is 2-14-1 straight up in its last 17 games, but 6-3 straight up in its last 9 games when playing Tampa Bay.

Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pick

With plenty of time to go before kickoff of this week, I will wait to announce my pick when we get closer to game day. Check back the day of the event for my pick on this great game.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
10/08/2013 02:13 PM

Greg Schiano rarely goes deep into Xs and Os when talking to the media. So when Schiano does step into that territory, it might be significant.

After a four-day break during their bye weekend, the Bucs returned to practice Monday. They’re off again Tuesday before returning to work Wednesday. But Schiano hinted at two areas he feels the Bucs might have improved on during their bye week.

“I think throwing the ball down the field some more,’’ Schiano said. “It wasn’t for lack of trying. Sometimes defenses take you out of it by coverage and things like that.’’

The Bucs, who switched from Josh Freeman to Mike Glennon as their starting quarterback after three games, rank No. 32 in the league in passing offense.

Schiano also hinted at an increased role for running back Jeff Demps.

“I think Jeff Demps is getting more and more comfortable, so I think there will be some things that we can do with him,’’ Schiano said. “He’s a valuable weapon.’’

Demps returned kickoffs and got one carry as a running back in a loss to Arizona before the bye. Due to his unique speed, Demps also could be a factor in the passing game.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
10/08/2013 02:14 PM

Hall of Famer Warren Sapp, who will be inducted into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' ring of honor next month, had some strong criticism for his former team, particularly coach Greg Schiano, during a podcast on

Sapp criticized the way the Bucs handled the situation with quarterback Josh Freeman, who was benched and later released.

"If I'm down in Tampa, I'm questioning this whole thing because it's a mafia style," Sapp said. "I know [Mike] Glennon is not the quarterback that Josh Freeman is. There's no question about it. The film tells me this. Practice tells me this. Even my quarterback demeanor tells me this. If you wouldn't let [Freeman] throw the ball at the end of the game, why is Glennon throwing the ball at the end of the game?''

Sapp also questioned the way the Bucs used cornerback Darrelle Revis at the end of a recent loss to Arizona.

"Why is Revis standing 8 yards off [Larry] Fitzgerald running a slant route and nobody's there? Touchdown. Are you kidding me?'' Sapp said. "Let's lock up our No. 1 corner who we're paying $16 million and then we rotate the coverage. There has to be a plan.''

Sapp was critical of the disciplined style of Schiano, who's in his second season, as well.

"When you're my way or the highway, you must win now,'' Sapp said. "Because guys don't believe in your way when you're losing. And you lose the way they lost the first two weeks, you gave away those football games. And whenever you've given away football games, that means your style needs to change."

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
10/08/2013 02:15 PM

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick has routinely appeared on the injury report over the past few seasons, but the things that have landed him there have typically been the result of collisions, including rib and chest injuries, a concussion and even a contused throwing hand. His latest injury may still have been a result of his style of play, but it was not because he put himself in danger of getting hit. This time, it may simply have been Vick's athleticism -- albeit an aging athleticism -- which resulted in his departing the game early.

While he doesn't run quite the way he did in his 20s, Vick is still nimble enough to represent a threat with his feet, and gives the Eagles the option of creating both running and passing plays for him. Vick injured his left hamstring on a designed run play in the second quarter as he was headed out of bounds -- he said he thought he misstepped as he was slowing down -- leaving Nick Foles to finish the game.

Now the question is whether Vick will miss games and, if so, how many, as a result of his strained hamstring. ESPN's Adam Schefter is reporting Vick will likely be out for Week 6. Coach Chip Kelly was noncommittal, saying only that Vick had indeed undergone an MRI, that he is day-to-day and that they will "see how he goes" with his rehab.

It would not be surprising if Vick were to miss at least a week, given that he needs to be able to run -- at the very least to protect himself -- if he is to step on the field. Without knowing the details regarding the severity of the injury, it is impossible to project any meaningful timeline, but fantasy owners probably anticipated at least a one-week absence at some point in the season. If Vick were to miss only one week this year, it would actually be an improvement considering that he has missed at least three games in each of the past four seasons.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
10/09/2013 10:53 PM

How well Nick Foles fares as he replaces Michael Vick as the Philadelphia Eagles starting quarterback this week will depend a lot on how well their offensive line fares. The unit has been shaky so far this season, which has led to a lot of pressure on Vick.

In fact, Vick was pressured on 45.6 percent of his dropbacks over the first five games this season. Only Brandon Weeden (47.7 percent) and Russell Wilson (46.6 percent) have been pressured more often. Vick didn't fare well in those situations, completing just 34.6 percent of his passes.

This could be an even bigger problem for Foles, because over the course of his career (10 games, six starts), he has completed just 39 percent of his passes when he was under pressure. Granted, that's better than Vick's production in those situations this season, but Foles also lacks the experience and wheels that Vick brings to the gridiron to counter defensive pressure.

Surely, coach Chip Kelly will tweak his offense to an extent to make up for the traits Foles lacks, but things could turn ugly Sunday if the Eagles O-line can't keep the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense at bay long enough to allow Foles to make good decisions with the ball.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
10/09/2013 10:53 PM

A day after DeSean Jackson said Darrelle Revis couldn't run with him, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback wasn't disputing the Philadelphia Eagles receiver's assessment.

"No," Revis said Tuesday. "He's fast. Fast people are allowed to say those type of things."

The two met up previously, when Revis was a member of the New York Jets in the 2011 season. They'll meet again Sunday when the winless Bucs (0-4) host the Eagles (2-3).

"I've covered him before in the past, and it was a good battle then and we'll see what happens this time around," said Revis, who helped limit Jackson to two catches for 28 yards in that 2011 game. "I'm not in here to discuss who's the fastest. I'm not running for the Olympics or anything like that, and he's not either. I'm here to compete and play."

Revis generally covers the opponent's best receiver.

"It's a matchup every week, whoever I'm covering or the best receiver, and he is their best receiver," Revis said. "We'll see. It's going to be a battle and he's a great player. We'll see."

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
10/10/2013 01:42 PM

Five Things to Watch

Tampa Bay fans -
After all that's transpired with the Josh Freeman saga, it's difficult to know whether they'll support the Glennon-led Bucs or just turn on them unmercifully. The Bucs are 0-4 coming in. If the Eagles start fast, it could get ugly.

Michael Vick's leg -
After the way Foles played against the Giants, it's probably a good bet Vick will do everything he can to be back from a hamstring injury to get behind center against Tampa Bay, if for no other reason than job security. Personally, I don't think he should worry. Even as well as Foles played, the running option Vick presents gives the Eagles a dimension that Foles can't.

Mike Glennon's nerves -
This is Glennon's team now for the rest of this season. He could evolve into a Tom Brady surprise success story (Brady was a sixth-round pick) or into another journeyman backup. A golden opportunity has fallen into his lap. His performance this week could go a long way in charting that course.

Tampa's rays -
It's going to be sunny and 87 degrees with a real feel temperature of 91 in Tampa on Sunday. Some Eagles reported sucking wind in Denver's high altitude a few weeks back. Running back LeSean McCoy said he felt it on the first series against the Broncos. Will the Florida heat cause the same problems?

Bill Davis' game plan -
When your defense is statistically last in the entire NFL, most people would be talking about the Eagles' offense making the difference. But Tampa Bay's offense is also statistically last in the NFL. Doug Martin has carried on all but 11 of the Bucs' running plays this year and only averages 3.4 per carry. Tampa Bay has connected on only 49 percent of passes attempted, the longest going for just 39 yards. If Eagles are going to shut down an offense this year, this is the game for defensive coordinator Davis and his group to do it.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
10/11/2013 11:48 AM

Though it's unclear if Michael Vick will start, the Philadelphia Eagles might not need him to pull out a victory against the scuffling Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

With his starting job possibly on the line if he doesn't play, Vick hopes to overcome his ailing hamstring and lead the visiting Eagles to consecutive victories for the first time in 20 games Sunday against the winless Buccaneers.

The veteran quarterback pulled his left hamstring late in the second quarter of a 36-21 win over the New York Giants last Sunday while running out of bounds on a 13-yard scramble.

Before going down, Vick completed 6 of 14 passes for 105 yards and ran seven times for a team-high 79 yards. Backup Nick Foles came in and connected on 16 of 25 attempts for 197 yards and two touchdowns, sparking a debate over who should start for the Eagles (2-3) at Tampa Bay (0-4).

Vick has been able to throw and jog this week, but didn't participate in team drills during practice Tuesday or Wednesday.

"It's day to day," coach Chip Kelly said. "We'll see how it goes."

Although Vick is expected to get the nod if he's healthy, Kelly left open the possibility that Foles could win the job if he plays and performs well.

"There's always open competition," Kelly said. "So if Nick goes out there and throws 100 for 100 and throws 27 touchdown passes, then, yeah (he's the No. 1)."

After completing 62.3 percent of his passes for 631 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions in his first two games, Vick has hit 46.5 percent for 554 yards with one score and two picks in his last three.

Foles was 1-5 as the starter last season after Vick sustained a concussion in November. The only win came at Tampa Bay, completing 32 of 51 passes for a career-high 381 yards with two touchdowns in a 23-21 victory Dec. 9.

Though Vick certainly has more mobility, Foles has been more effective in the red zone this season. Vick is 5 for 19 for 38 yards and one score inside the opponents' 20-yard line, while Foles is 2 of 3 for 11 yards and two touchdowns.

"My expectation is to work great (in practice), get a lot of work in, study the film, and whatever it is on Sunday, I'll be ready," Foles said.

Whoever gets the start will try to guide the Eagles to consecutive wins for the first time since opening last season 2-0. They should have a good chance to get that done against a Tampa Bay team looking to end its worst start since losing its first seven in 2009.

Coming of their bye week following a 13-10 loss to Arizona on Sept. 29, the Buccaneers are hoping rookie quarterback Mike Glennon can show some improvement and provide a lift for one of the NFL's worst offenses.

The third-round draft pick completed 24 of 43 for 193 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions - both in the fourth quarter - in his first career start. He also was charged with a second-half fumble on a handoff that Doug Martin was unable to hold.

"I thought he handled the operation of the game very well - protections, reading plays out," said coach Greg Schiano, whose Buccaneers released former starter Josh Freeman last week. "He had a couple of balls, I think, he'd like to have back at the end of the game."

Tampa Bay is 31st in the NFL in scoring (11.0 ppg) and total offense (274.8 ypg), but might be able to get things turned around against a Philadelphia team that ranks 30th in points allowed (31.8) and 31st in total defense (434.0).

It would certainly help to get Martin back on track after he was limited to 45 yards on 27 carries by the Cardinals. Martin, third in the league at 85.5 rushing yards per game, ran for 128 and a touchdown on 28 carries in last year's meeting.

Philadelphia's LeSean McCoy, leading the NFL with 514 yards rushing, also hopes to rebound after finishing with 46 last Sunday on 20 carries.

Leading receiver DeSean Jackson, who had seven catches for 132 yards and a touchdown, may face his biggest challenge of the season as he goes against three-time All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis.

"I don't think he can run with me. I don't think he's as fast as me," Jackson said. "... We're not going to make it into a one-on-one battle, me versus Revis. It's the Eagles versus Tampa Bay. At the end of that game, as long as we're winning, that's all that matters to me."

The Eagles have won both meetings with the Buccaneers since 2007.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
10/11/2013 12:06 PM

The Philadelphia Eagles plunked down a second-round pick to select Stanford tight end Zach Ertz in this year's draft. Although he has had a very limited role early on this season, the rookie has posted some intriguing numbers. He has only been targeted 11 times in five games and hasn't had more than two catches in a game, but he has averaged a whopping 21.4 yards per catch, pulled in four passes of at least 24 yards and registered a first down on all seven catches. He may be in for an increasing role as the season progresses, perhaps sooner than later.

"Soon, very, very soon, Zach Ertz is going to become a major player in Chip Kelly's offense," wrote Paul Domowitch of the Philly Daily News. "... Eighty-two percent of their offensive plays have been run with '11' personnel (1 back, 1 tight end, 3 wide receivers). They've used 12 personnel (2 tight ends) only 59 times in the first five games. When they've gone with two tight ends, Ertz has teamed with Celek. The last couple of games, he also has been rotating with Celek in 11 personnel sets."

Coach Chip Kelly said that the young tight end would need to learn "the little nuances" of the game before he could be deployed all over the field a la Jimmy Graham, so we may not see Ertz' full fantasy value for another year or two. The fact that he has the requisite physical skills to be used outside and in the slot is something owners in fantasy keeper leagues will want to keep in mind when considering his long-term value.

In the short term, it's unlikely that Ertz will unseat the veteran Celek as the Eagles' No. 1 tight end, because Celek has been solid, catching 10 of his 17 targets (one drop) for 178 yards and two scores. On the other hand, if Ertz is worked into 11 sets more often and Kelly starts looking at more 12 sets to give his quarterback more receiving options, we may start seeing Ertz pumping out bigger and more reliable stats in the coming weeks.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
10/12/2013 10:50 AM

Eagles quarterback Michael Vick (hamstring) is questionable, but isn’t expected to play.

Bucs cornerback Johnthan Banks and guard Carl Nicks are both questionable after they were found to have MRSA, while wide receiver Mike Williams is questionable because of a hamstring injury.