Although the Philadelphia Eagles lost five of their last six regular season games, they staggered into the playoffs. However, in the postseason, everything is fresh.

They’ve said it time and time again: everyone is now 0-0. That is accurate, but if the Eagles hope to go far in the postseason, they will have to perform better than they have done over the last six weeks.

The Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will play in Monday night’s wild card game. Here are three matchups to watch:

Todd Bowles vs. Jalen Hurts: the blitz

Hurts will be facing Bowles’ defense for the third time in his career when this game takes place. Hurts has faced Bowles once thus far, going 1-1 with varying outcomes.

Hurts’ postseason debut took place during wild card weekend in 2021 against the Buccaneers, who were the reigning Super Bowl champions at the time, and future Hall of Famer Tom Brady.

Even while Hurts’ passing ability has greatly improved since that game, he has yet to overcome strong blitz defenses like Bowles. Heading into the playoffs, the franchise quarterback for the Eagles is also suffering with a middle finger ailment on his throwing hand.

eagles

Consider the previous week. Hurts was frequently blitzed by Wink Martindale, the former defensive coordinator of the New York Giants, and Philadelphia’s offense was completely out of solutions. Hurts will also be without his go-to weapon, A.J. Brown, since he was ruled out due to a knee injury.

Hurts rated 28th in the NFL against the blitz during the regular season, while the Buccaneers blitz at the third-highest rate in the league.

Hurts had a 40.5 quarterback rating in Week 3’s game against the Bucs, going 13 for 23 for 152 yards, zero touchdowns, and two interceptions.

Bucs WRs vs the Eagles secondary

Moving to the defensive end of the field, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin of Tampa will present a challenge for the Eagles’ secondary.

In Baker Mayfield’s debut season as the team’s starting quarterback, Evans and Godwin both recorded 1,000-yard seasons.

Godwin had to cope with a knee ailment all week, but on Saturday he returned to full practice.

Detroit Lions

The Eagles’ defense held Evans and Godwin to a combined total of eight receptions, 92 yards, and one touchdown in the Week 3 game. However, as we all know, the Eagles have undergone significant transformation since that September Monday Night Football.

Sean Desai, the Eagles’ defensive coordinator, called the defensive plays during the game. However, the Eagles dismissed Desai in the middle of the season and appointed senior defensive assistant Matt Patricia as the group’s defensive playcaller.

Before Week 15 against the Seattle Seahawks, Patricia took over as the team’s play caller. Since then, opposition offenses have torn apart the Eagles’ defense both on the ground and in the air.

Starting safety Reed Blankenship is classified as questionable due to a groin injury, and the Eagles will play without rookie safety Sydney Brown. Starting cornerback Darius Slay will return.

Bucs OL vs. Eagles DL

Last season, the Eagles’ defensive line was among the best in team history. After the 1984 Chicago Bears and the 1989 Minnesota Vikings, they are third all-time in sack totals, having recorded 70 during the regular season.

This year, things have been very different. They are 20th in the NFL with 43 in the regular season, and some of their best pass rushers haven’t been able to get to the quarterback.

eagles

The team’s best pass rusher, Haason Reddick, has 11 sacks this season, but he hasn’t had one since Dec. 10 against the Dallas Cowboys. The other elite edge rusher on the squad, Josh Sweat, hasn’t faced the quarterback since Nov. 5 against Dallas.

Jalen Carter, a rookie defensive lineman, had a great start to the season, but since November, he has only recorded two 2.5 sacks.

The Eagles’ defense line will need to seize the opportunity and provide a pass rush to support the secondary on Monday night if they want to have any shot in the postseason, with Mayfield’s ankle and rib ailments classified as doubtful.

1 COMMENT

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here