What makes professional sports fun is when players find a second life in a new location. Tampa Bay quarterback Baker Mayfield wore out his welcome in Cleveland and Carolina. But after a few weeks with the Buccaneers, Mayfield has shown some of the flashes of what made him a first-round pick several years ago.
Anyone doubting Mayfield’s potential will fit in with many people who were doubting any team in the NFC South Division could find success this season. While Tampa Bay is excited about starting the season 2-0, the Buccaneers have been beating up on teams in the NFC North Division, which appears weak.
The Philadelphia Eagles don’t appear to have quite figured out how to keep the machine rolling like they did last season. The Eagles have shown some struggles while picking up wins over the New England Patriots and Minnesota Vikings. Philadelphia will be eager to try and get things back on track against Tampa Bay.
Buccaneers Have Slight Edge Over Eagles All-Time
Tampa Bay has won four straight games against the Eagles and now leads the all-time series 11-10. The Buccaneers beat Philadelphia 31-15 in their last meeting during the 2022 NFC Wild Card round on Jan. 16, 2022. The Eagles will be 4.5-point favorites for their Monday night game at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
Eagles Running Game Moves Swiftly
Philadelphia surprised some people when it traded with the Detroit Lions for running back D’Andre Swift. The Eagles were acquiring a running back who was effective but had been injury-prone in Detroit. Against the Vikings last Thursday, Philadelphia proved it didn’t need Swift to carry the action.
Swift ran the ball 28 times for 175 yards and a touchdown against the Vikings. The mark was by far a career high. Swift’s previous best rushing game came with Detroit when he piled up 144 yards rushing in the season opener in 2022 against the Eagles.
Angry Evans Helps Out Mayfield
Tampa Bay wide receiver Mike Evans was always a strong player. But in a season where the Buccaneers and Evans have been battling over his contract, Evans has provided Mayfield with a reliable target to turn his career around. During Tampa Bay’s win over Chicago, Evans caught six passes for 171 yards and a touchdown.
Evans now has 10 career games with more than 150 receiving yards. He has the most of those games in the NFL since 2014. He had previously been tied with Tyreek Hill and T.Y. Hilton. Mayfield has been efficient through his two weeks in Tampa Bay.
The Buccaneers quarterback has thrown for 490 yards and completed 69.1 percent of his passes. Mayfield has yet to throw an interception.
Philadelphia Pass Defense Looking for Some Support
The Eagles have suffered a lot of bad luck with injuries thus far this season. Cornerback James Bradberry has missed time with a concussion, and Avonte Maddox will be out for the season with a torn pectoral muscle. So the Eagles have holes to fill.
Philadelphia took a look at bringing in veteran free agent quarterbacks to fill the void. Mario Goodrich filled the void at nickel cornerback. However, the Eagles may move in a different direction going forward.
Shaq Barrett Finds Some Peace on Field
Buccaneers linebacker Shaq Barrett already had a long road back to football when he tore his ACL last season. But tragedy also struck his life last offseason. Barrett spent the offseason handling grief after his daughter drowned in a swimming pool.
Against the Bears, Barrett made an important play to seal Tampa Bay’s Week 2 win. Barrett intercepted Chicago quarterback Justin Fields in the fourth quarter and returned the ball four yards to seal Tampa Bay’s 27-17 victory.
Barrett has struggled to stay on the field due to injuries since he last made the Pro Bowl in 2021. Barrett’s best season came in 2019 when he led the league with 19.5 sacks.
Pass Rush Will be Important for Tampa Bay
The Bears couldn’t keep Fields safe against a vicious Buccaneers’ pass rush last week. Tampa Bay ended up recording six sacks. Star defensive tackle Vita Vea made life difficult on Fields. He finished with a team-high 1.5 sacks in the win.
Eagles Aren’t Worried about the Passing Game
Philadelphia coach Nick Sirianni emphasized in a recent news conference that the Eagles aren’t close to a finished product. Philadelphia didn’t need its passing game to be clicking at full gear to beat Minnesota. Continuing to win moving forward may require more than what it showed last Thursday.
Through the first two weeks of the season, Philadelphia has only recorded 325 passing yards. That ranks 29th in the league. The only teams behind the Eagles in passing yards included the Bengals, Jets, and Panthers. Two of those three aforementioned teams have had major injury issues at the quarterback position.
Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts has played in both games. During the win over the Vikings, Hurts completed 18 of his 23 passes. With Philadelphia having such a strong running game, there isn’t much for the Eagles to sweat if the passing game comes along slowly.
Will Buccaneers Bolster Run Game?
Tampa Bay running back Raachad White had a solid performance against Chicago. The problem for the Buccaneers is they don’t have much behind him. Mayfield was the team’s second-leading rusher against Chicago.
Backup running back Chase Edmonds only took two carries. There are several teams around the league that are stuck with running backs they aren’t happy with. Rumors are that the Rams are trying to move Cam Akers, while Jonathan Taylor is desperate to get out of Indianapolis.
Unless Edmonds can show more against a good Philadelphia defense on Monday night, the Buccaneers may pull some maneuvers to get White some more help in the backfield.