Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-4 SU, 1-3 ATS) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS), 1:00 p.m. EST, Sunday, October 11, 2009, Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Penn. TV: FOX
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Buccaneers N/A/Eagles N/A
Donovan McNabb returns under center for the Philadelphia Eagles, as they come off a bye week by hosting the 0-4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. McNabb isn’t the only storyline for the Eagles. Michael Vick will play in his second game as an Eagle, his first with McNabb, and the Eagles just signed retired linebacker Jeremiah Trotter to help out a young defense. Meanwhile, the Bucs replaced quarterback Byron Leftwich last week with Josh Johnson.
McNabb threw for just 79 yards in a Week 1 win over the Panthers before getting injured in the end zone while running in a touchdown. Kevin Kolb replaced McNabb and became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for over 300 yards in each of his first two starts. Quarterback controversy? Not quite.
Vick played against the Chiefs for the first time since 2006. He didn’t do much, running for seven yards and throwing incomplete passes on both of his attempts. He may be able to become more of a factor with McNabb back in the lineup, but it should take a few more weeks before Vick is really back in NFL mode.
Westbrook ran for 116 yards in the first two games, but sat out against the Chiefs. LeSean McCoy filled in as a more than capable backup, but Westbrook should be back out there on Sunday.
After pulling in just two receptions for nine yards against the Panthers, DeSean Jackson caught four passes for 101 yards and a touchdown against the Sants and six passes for 149 yards and a touchdown against the Chiefs.
Eagles tight end Brent Celek has emerged in the first three games as one of the best pass-catching tight ends in the league. In three games, he has caught 22 passes for 245 yards and two touchdowns.
The Buccaneers have looked like one of the worst teams in the NFL this season. They lost their first three games by a combined 50 points before losing 16-13 to the Redskins on Sunday. With a new head coach (Raheem Morris) and a revamped defense, the Bucs defense has not looked good. They have given up nine passing touchdowns, the second most in the league. That’s not a good thing when they are about to go up against a dynamic pass attack like the Eagles.
Meanwhile, the Eagles have been great against the pass. They have allowed the second fewest passing yards per game (156), despite having faced Drew Brees in one of their three games. They have six interceptions, five of which came against the Panthers, and 10 sacks.
After a 24-0 loss to the Giants, the Bucs replaced Leftwich with Johnson, an athletic second-year quarterback who was 13-for-22 for 106 yards, a touchdown and an interception, and ran for 41 yards in his first NFL start.
For Johnson to be successful, he needs running back Cadillac Williams and tight end Kellen Winslow to be effective. Williams has run for 191 yards and a touchdown in the four games, and is averaging five yards per carry. Winslow is the team’s leading receiver with 17 catches for 155 yards and two touchdowns. If the Bucs are going to have a chance against the Eagles, both of these players will have to have huge games. Williams only has 38 carries in four games, so the Bucs need to get him the ball more from the start of the game.
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The Eagles have a done a decent job against the run so far, giving up 106 rushing yards per game. With Trotter in the mix, the run defense should be improved.
Andy Reid has been the head coach of the Eagles since 1999. In those 10 years, the Eagles have never lost their next game after a bye week. Based on that, the Bucs don’t stand much of a chance to win this one.
The Eagles are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games. The total has gone over in all three Eagles games this season. The Eagles are 4-1 ATS in their last five home games. The Bucs are 1-5 ATS in their last six games.
Ryno’s Pick: The Eagles just don’t lose after a bye week. It’s just as simple as that. And they are playing one of the worst teams in the NFL, so there’s no doubt they will win this one at home. The Eagles will put tons of pressure on Johnson, forcing some bad throws. If the Bucs hand the ball off 30 times, they might be able to keep the game within a reasonable margin, but they haven’t done that yet this season. The Bucs won’t be able to stop McNabb and Jackson through the air and the Eagles will put up a lot of points. This game could get ugly if the Bucs don’t start well. Take the Eagles.