Eagles vs. Bucs Pick – Can Tampa Bay Upset on MNF?
Philadelphia Eagles (2-0 SU, 1-0-1 ATS) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS)
Date/Time: Monday, September 25, 7:15 PM EST
Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL.
Point Spread: Phi -5.5/TB +5.5 (Get a 100% bonus with our sportsbook promo codes!)
Moneyline: Philly -240/Bucs +200
Over/Under Total: 45.5
The NFL is treating us to another Monday Night doubleheader this week, with the Eagles visiting Tampa Bay to take on the Buccaneers in the opener. Philly is a 5.5 point road favorite at BOVADA.LV, with over/under set at 45.5. The play here is to take the points with the Bucs and count on Baker Mayfield to keep the game close or maybe sneak out an upset win. Here is the handicap.
Tampa’s Offense Is Efficient
The Buccaneers came into the year as a team looking like they could easily start the season with multiple losses and then go into full tank mode by mid-October. All of a sudden, after Week 2, the Bucs find themselves 2-0, and maybe the new favorite to win the NFC South. Baker Mayfield was given a chance to resurrect his career after a disastrous 2022, and he is making the most of it. Mayfield has completed just under 70% of his passes, throwing for three touchdowns against 0 interceptions. It helps that he is throwing to one of the league’s best tandem of wide receivers in, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, who have combined for 22 catches for 336 yards and two of the TDs. Evans has particularly been unstoppable in the early going this year. I look for this group to have success again this week against the Eagles. The receivers and Mayfield have been completely in sync in September, and the Eagles’ secondary has been vulnerable this year. Rachaad White is the primary back for the Bucs, and though he is not lighting the world on fire, he has proven through 2 weeks that he can keep the offense on schedule, get tough yards, and be a complimentary piece in the passing game. Look for Tampa’s offense to continue their success this week when the defending NFC Champion comes to town.
The Eagle defense has not been the dominant unit through the two weeks that they were last year, but it will still be a tougher foe for Tampa than either the Vikings or Bears represented for the Bucs in the first two weeks. Philly’s two opponents have averaged over 400 total yards, including 326 passing yards per game. There have been some injuries in the on the defensive side of the ball for Philadelphia, and they will probably not be 100% healthy again this week. The Eagles will try to overpower Tampa’s offensive line and pressure Mayfield up the middle, but the Bucs O-line has so far held up well. I think Tampa will have trouble moving the ball on the ground, but that Mayfield should be able to have enough time to exploit his receiver’s advantage against the Eagle secondary. The Bucs have to keep the score tight to be able to run the ball and keep the defense honest, but I think they will be able to do that and be close as the game winds down. Look for Tampa’s offense to continue being able to move the ball through the air and score enough points to keep the game close.
Philly’s Offense Hasn’t Been Sharp
The Eagles were steam-rolling opponents last year, but so far in 2023, they have merely been scraping by. They managed only 251 total yards against the Patriots and only got into the red zone twice, though they did fare better against the Vikings. Jalen Hurts is averaging only 180 passing yards and has struggled to get the ball to his wide receivers. Their elite offensive line was able to control the line of scrimmage last week against the Vikings and allow the running attack to take the pressure off the passing game, but they will probably not be able to do that this week in Tampa. D’Andre Swift was acquired in the off-season to add some electricity in the backfield, and he certainly did that last week, rushing for 175 yards and a score, and he will look to keep things rolling in the sunshine state. I expect the Philly rushing attack to be contained much like the Patriots did to Philly in Week 1 and have to rely more on the pass. The receivers are excellent, but they will have to play their best game of the year for Philly to win and cover the number this week.
Tampa’s defense has also exceeded expectations this year. They are allowing about 300 yards in their two games and have five takeaways that have changed the tone in their first two games. The Bucs front seven has looked like the group that won a Super Bowl a few years ago, allowing just over three yards per carry. They held Justin Fields to only three rushing yards last week, and they will undoubtedly have the same goal for Hurts this week. This is a strength vs. strength match-up, and I think it will be a stalemate in the end. The Eagles will definitely win some of the battles, but Tampa will win their share, too, and will not let Philadelphia roll over their D.
Tampa Is A Tough Place To Play in September
When the Bears and Bucs kicked off on Sunday, the “feels-like” temperature was over 100 degrees, where it stayed all game. Philly will do all the right things to prepare, but as the game rolls on, the humidity will wear on the visiting team. It is a night game, so the temperature will not be as oppressive as it was last week, but it’s the humidity that takes the toll. Tampa and Coach Todd Bowles will look to grind this game out to the 4th quarter with the expectation that his squad will be better prepared for the final 15 minutes of play. With Philly needing to win by six to cover this spread, the heat and humidity are on the side of the underdog.
Take The Home Dog on Monday Night
Tampa Bay has proven in the early going this year they are not a pushover, while the Eagles have not proven themselves to be the dominant team we were expecting. I’m counting on this game to come down to the final minutes and the Bucs to cover the number or maybe sneak out an upset win. Play the home dog +5.5. Bet your Week 3 NFL football predictions for FREE this week by taking advantage of a 100% real cash bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $300 when you use bonus promo code PREDICTEM at BetUS Sportsbok!