September 18, 2023
Jalen Hurts and the Eagles are off to a 2-0 start, but for anyone who watched either of those first two games, not exactly comfortably so.
Baker Mayfield and the Bucs, meanwhile, are also 2-0 out of the gate in one of the bigger early surprises of a very young season.
Both teams will face each other Monday night down in Tampa in what will be a long week for the Bucs and an even longer one for the Birds.
It'll be the first time these two teams have met since the 2021 NFC Wild Card game, with both having undergone dramatically different trajectories since, and right now, the Eagles are generally a 6.5-point favorite going in.
Here's a look at the odds across several sportsbooks with a full week to go:
|Book||Spread||Money Line||Total (O/U)|
|DraftKings||PHI -6.5|| PHI -265|
|FanDuel||PHI -6.5||PHI -300|
|BetMGM||PHI -6.5||PHI -275|
|UniBet||PHI -7||PHI -286|
|PointsBet||PHI -6.5|| PHI -290|
Again, both teams are in way different places from that January 2022 playoff game that Tampa Bay went on to take easily, 31-15.
The Eagles rallied behind stellar defense and an elite rushing attack to push their way into the playoffs late in the 2021 season, but Nick Sirianni was the rookie head coach and Jalen Hurts wasn't the complete MVP-caliber quarterback he would develop into that following summer.
The team was good, but they were still a work in progress, and hit a wall once they ran into the Tom Brady version of the Bucs, who were the defending Super Bowl champs and still very much in contention to repeat. They just picked the Eagles apart.
Since then, however, the Eagles have become the new juggernauts of the NFC, thanks to Hurts' development, one of the best pass-catching units in the league, a still elite O-line, and arguably the league's most lethal pass rush.
The Bucs still have pieces – like receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, who are always going to command respect from opposing defenses no matter who's throwing them the football – but entered the season appearing to be somewhat lost in limbo after Brady retired, though working with an incredibly weak NFC South to their benefit.
They upset the Vikings in Week 1 and then pounced on the Bears in Week 2 – both suspect NFC North teams – but how will they fare against an Eagles team that has come so far since the last time they saw them?
Follow Nick on Twitter: @itssnick
Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports