Eagles

Eagles-Buccaneers NFL Week 2 predictions

Eagles-Buccaneers NFL Week 2 predictions

The Eagles are flying south for the weekend to take on the Buccaneers on Sunday in Tampa at 1 p.m. 

This is just one of two matchups between 1-0 teams in the NFC this weekend. 

Here are our (cough) expert predictions: 

Reuben Frank (1-0)
At some point, the Eagles are going to lose a football game again. It’s been a while. But it won’t be Sunday. The Bucs certainly put up a lot of points in the opener against the Saints, but they’re not scoring 48 against this defense. The Saints didn’t sack Ryan Fitzpatrick and were credited with only two hurries on 28 pass plays. The Eagles will get after him. I expect their pass rush to make life much more difficult for Fitz than the Saints did. And I think the Eagles’ offense will find its stride a little bit after a shaky opener. Nick Foles never plays bad in back-to-back games, and the Eagles need him to make some plays down the field. This will be a challenge, especially for the Eagles’ young corners against Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson. But the Eagles are up for the challenge. So I’m going Eagles 30, Buccaneers 20, and the Eagles fly back to Philly Sunday night 2-0.

Eagles 30, Buccaneers 20

Dave Zangaro (0-1)
I made a mistake last week. I can’t believe I picked the Eagles to lose at home the night they raised the Super Bowl LII banner to rafters. I was almost right, but I’m still an idiot. 

I think this game against the Bucs is looking a little tougher after what we saw them do to a pretty good Saints team on the road last week, but the Eagles’ defense is way better than the Saints’ D. This Eagles defense is the real deal and they’ll be able to get after Ryan Fitzpatrick. And on offense, I expect Nick Foles to put together a big game. An extra week of reps, in a stadium where he’s had success and against a team with banged up corners. And Foles always seems to follow his crappy games with good ones. 

Eagles 33, Bucs 16 

Derrick Gunn (1-0)
Week 1 was a little rough offensively for the Eagles, but at least they got the win. Now, it’s on to Tampa Bay. Hopefully, we will see a more fluid passing game from Nick Foles. The run game and defense may have to carry the team until the QB situation stabilizes. Nelson Agholor needs to help stretch the field more and Mike Wallace needs to be involved more in the passing game plan.  

Jim Schwartz’s most trusted soldier, Nigel Bradham, returns from his one-game suspension and that’s huge for the defense. The Buccaneers opened the season with an impressive showing down in New Orleans. Ryan Fitzpatrick had an incredible game: 417 yards passing and four TDs. Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson torched the Saints’ secondary. 

The Bucs’ injury report runs deep. Starting CB Vernon Hargreaves suffered a torn labrum in New Orleans and has been placed on IR. The Bucs' other starting CB Brent Grimes has a groin injury. He did not play against the Saints and is out again vs. the Eagles. Also, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul is wearing a heavy brace on his knee and he’s iffy for this week. After his season-opening performance, they’re referring to Fitzpatrick as “Fitzmagic” down in Tampa. I think it’s an illusion and he won’t have the same success against the Eagles’ defense.

Eagles 24, Bucs 20

Ray Didinger (1-0)
Tampa Bay's stunning victory in New Orleans, rolling up a ridiculous 48 points on the Saints, caught the attention of everyone, including the Eagles, and that's probably a good thing. There is no way the Eagles can go into Tampa this week thinking it will be an easy victory, not after watching the tape of Ryan Fitzpatrick passing for 417 yards against New Orleans. What probably looked like a layup a month ago looks a whole lot trickier now.

Don't underestimate Fitzpatrick. I know he defines the journeyman quarterback. His career has more stops than the Route 11 trolley — he has played for seven different teams in his 14 year career — but if he gets hot, he can do major damage as he did last Sunday and he has some very explosive weapons in Tampa with the imposing Mike Evans, a still-fleet DeSean Jackson and the talented O.J. Howard at tight end.

The Saints didn't generate much of a pass rush last week and Fitzpatrick picked them apart. I don't see Jim Schwartz allowing him the same degree of comfort Sunday. I also think Nick Foles will have some fun working against a porous Tampa defense that allowed Drew Brees to pass for 432 yards last week. 

Eagles 24, Bucs 16

Andrew Kulp (1-0)
Forgive me for not being afraid of Ryan Fitzpatrick. Oh, Tampa Bay's offense is loaded with talent — Mike Evans, in particular, is unstoppable — but if you think for one second Fitzpatrick is hanging 48 points on this defense, like he did to the Saints in Week 1, you're sorely mistaken.

Meanwhile, the Eagles might be catching a wounded Bucs defense at the right time. Cornerbacks Vernon Hargreaves and Brent Grimes, along with defensive tackle Veta Via are all out. Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul is questionable. Seems like the stars are aligning for Nick Foles to get into a rhythm and hit some big plays deep.

The crowd at Raymond James Stadium should be fairly pro Philly, too. Fitzpatrick throws three picks, Foles throws three touchdowns and the Eagles move to 2-0.

Eagles 34, Bucs 17

Corey Seidman (0-1)
The Bucs always play the Saints tough. I don’t see Tampa Bay’s offense scoring even half as many as the 48 points from Week 1. 

Yes, Mike Evans should be a problem, but we just watched the Eagles allow 170 receiving yards to Julio Jones while shutting down every other Falcons skill player, with the exception of a few plays from Tevin Coleman.

The Eagles just have too much depth in all phases. The worry is that the Bucs’ front 7 applies pressure to Nick Foles, but it’s not like Foles could play much worse than he did in the opener. 

Eagles 26, Bucs 13

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Why did Eagles draft JJ Arcega-Whiteside over D.K. Metcalf?

Why did Eagles draft JJ Arcega-Whiteside over D.K. Metcalf?

It’s hard not to compare J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and D.K. Metcalf.

They play the same position, they were taken seven spots apart in this year’s draft, and they’ll both be playing at the Linc on Sunday.

Through 10 games?

Metcalf has 35 catches for 595 yards, 23 first downs and five touchdowns.

Arcega-Whiteside has 3 catches for 43 yards, 1 first down and no touchdowns.

It’s still awfully early. But so far the Seahawks’ rookie has a monumental edge in production.

Doug Pederson said Wednesday that the Eagles liked Metcalf coming out of Mississippi. 

They just liked Arcega-Whiteside better. 

“We liked the player,” Pederson said. “He’s a big, powerful, physical guy, and he had some really good tape out there. And then we also liked J.J. We loved his size, his ability to play above the rim so to speak in the red zone and things like that. Similar players and made the decision with J.J. and we’ve been happy with that.”

The Eagles took JJAW with the 57th pick in this year’s draft, and the Seahawks selected Metcalf at No. 64. 

Metalf’s 595 receiving yards leads all NFL rookies, and Redskins rookie Terry McLaurin, a 3rd-round pick, is second with 566. 

The Eagles could have had either one. 

Metcalf and McLaurin are tied with the second-most receptions this year by rookies, three fewer than 49ers wideout Deebo Samuel, the 36th pick out of South Carolina. 

The only Seahawk in franchise history with more yards in his first 10 games of his career than Metcalf is Joey Galloway, a high 1st-round pick who had 650 in 1995.  

Metcalf has played 577 snaps. Arcega-Whiteside has played 195 but only 62 in the last six games.

His 29-yard reception against the Patriots Sunday was his first catch since Week 3.

“He did some nice things in the game, even though the ball necessarily didn’t come his way,” Pederson said. “He ran some really good routes and he played physical. The signs of him getting work in practice kind of paid off in the game and it will just give him more confidence moving forward.”

With Alshon Jeffery’s status still up in the air, there’s a chance JJAW will get more work against the Seahawks.

But it won’t be as much as Metcalf.

The only person who can really explain why the Eagles liked Arcega-Whiteside more than Metcalf is Howie Roseman, and he doesn’t do interviews during the season.

So Pederson sometimes has to answer questions about personnel that really aren’t his department.

“Young players sometimes it just takes time,” Pederson said. “It takes time to settle into their role, to understand their role and then to understand our game, to be able to play fast and to be able to play at a high level, and he showed some of that Sunday.”

Metcalf has been showing that every Sunday. 

It’s still way too early to write off Arcega-Whiteside or speculate who’s going to end up having the better career. There is certainly no reason to think JJAW won’t become a key part of this offense. 

But something is holding him back right now. Whether it’s coaching or just a poor evaluation by Roseman and his scouts, something is keeping him off the field. 

Meanwhile, Metcalf is producing at a high level as a 21-year-old rookie for one of the NFL’s best teams. 

And the way the Eagles’ wide receivers have been playing, it’s hard not to wonder how things would have gone if the Eagles had taken Metcalf instead.

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Eagles injury update: Nigel Bradham returning to practice field

Eagles injury update: Nigel Bradham returning to practice field

Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham, who has missed the last four games with an ankle injury, will return to the practice field today, according to head coach Doug Pederson. 

Bradham, 30, hasn’t played since the Vikings game on Oct. 13.

On Tuesday, Bradham wasn’t sure if he’d be ready for this Sunday’s game against the Seahawks. 

“Hopefully,” he said. “That’s the goal, but can’t force it.” 

Getting their top linebacker back would be a huge boost for the Eagles. Since Bradham has been out, Nate Gerry has assumed defensive play call responsibilities. While Jim Schwartz wouldn’t say the plan for when Bradham returns, it would stand to reason that Bradham would take back that job. 

“It’s been difficult (to miss games), not being out there to contribute with the team,” Bradham said. “It’s obviously tough, but I think our young guys are doing well. We just gotta keep motivating them and keep them going until the time I can come back.” 

Here are a few other injury updates from Wednesday at the NovaCare Complex: 

Lane Johnson: Johnson is still in the concussion protocol and the Eagles are preparing to play on Sunday without him. That means rookie Andre Dillard will spend the week getting first-team reps at right tackle. Halapoulivaati Vaitai, who struggled after replacing Johnson on Sunday, will be the swing tackle. 

For the most part, Dillard has only ever played left tackle, so this will be an important week of practice for the first-round pick. 

Jordan Howard: The Eagles’ workhorse running back still hasn’t been cleared for contact and won’t be allowed to play until that happens. Howard suffered a stinger in the Bears game on Nov. 3 and even with the bye, missed the Patriots game on Sunday. He’ll be a limited participant in practice until he gets cleared, which means he’ll participate in individual drills. 

Pederson said Howard is improving. “It’s just a slow process right now,” he added.

If Howard can’t play this coming Sunday, it’s possible Jay Ajayi could find a role. Pederson emphasized on Wednesday, though, that the Eagles re-signed Ajayi to fill Darren Sproles’ roster spot and it had nothing to do with Howard, despite their similar playing styles. Still, Howard’s injury could create opportunity for Ajayi. 

Alshon Jeffery: Jeffery (ankle) is expected to be a limited participant in practice this week. He suffered his injury against the Bears and missed the Patriots game. 

Nelson Agholor: Agholor was not at Wednesday’s practice, presumably for injury reasons. Agholor banged his knee pretty hard on the ground in the end zone on that fourth down play in the fourth quarter Sunday. 

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