Scouting

Posted: December 09, 2012

When the Eagles run

Hold off another game on the Bo Jackson comparisons. Brown will face his stiffest test in his third start. The Bucs are first in the league in rushing defense (82.3 yards per game, 3.4 per carry) and have shut down some pretty good tailbacks. But when the Bucs faced elite running backs such as the Vikings' Adrian Peterson (123 yards) or the Redskins' Alfred Morris (113), they struggled. So Brown, who has rushed for 347 yards and four touchdowns in the last two games, could have some room to run. That being said, defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and linebacker Lavonte David spearhead a Bucs run defense that is quick off the ball. If left guard Evan Mathis is a Pro Bowler this season, as some have suggested, he should be able to keep the 6-foot-4, 330-pound McCoy in check. David, a rookie, plays all three downs and leads the Bucs with 108 tackles, 17 for loss. Chosen in the second round out of Nebraska, David was available when the Eagles selected linebacker Mychal Kendricks 12 picks earlier.

Edge: EVEN

When the Eagles pass

The Birds offense scored its most points of the season (27) last week largely because of the ground game, but Foles finally took advantage of some opportunities downfield in the passing game, as well. He completed 22 of 34 passes for 251 yards and a touchdown and should have chances to hit a few big ones against a Bucs pass defense that is last in the league in yards allowed (309.4 per game). The Bucs still run a lot of the Tampa 2 defense with the everlasting Ronde Barber now at safety with rookie Mark Barron. Their deficiencies are two-fold. The front four have not generated enough pressure - the Bucs are 30th in the league in sacks with 18 - and the back seven have not been able to cover the middle of the field. Barron, Tampa Bay's top draft pick, has been particularly bad. To shake things up, defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan has blitzed a lot. Foles didn't see many extra pass rushers against the Cowboys and Panthers, but he had significant issues when the Redskins blitzed him often three starts ago. The improvement on the offensive line has helped, especially along the right side with guard Jake Scott and tackle Dennis Kelly.

Edge: EAGLES

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