Sun. Jun 16th, 2024
NFL: NFC Wild Card Playoffs-Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Bucs
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

In this series, we’ll break down different scenarios that could, should, and will happen before the Tampa Bay Bucs get a chance to play them out.

The Bucs are 2-0. Unexpected by most, yet it’s the record the team has earned. After two weeks of 2023 NFL season, Todd Bowles and his notoriously ridiculed passer are undefeated, sitting in a three-way tie atop the NFC South. Can Tampa take their 2-0 record to 3-0? They’ll embark upon that journey on Monday Night Football, against the Philadelphia Eagles. Some things that could, should, and will play out during their quest—

The Bucs could get obliterated.

One of the scariest things about this game for Tampa Bay fans is the very realistic possibility that the Central Florida fairy tale of weeks one and two will come to a crashing halt. By all accounts (Every. Single. One.), the Bucs are outmatched this week. The Eagles are coming off mini-bye week, after playing on Thursday night in week two. Philadelphia’s defensive line is one of the league’s deepest. Jalen Hurts has a top-flight group of weapons at his disposal, supported by a domineering offensive line.

Through two weeks of football, Baker Mayfield has played mistake-free. This could be the week we see Mayfield’s first turnover in a Bucs’ uniform. The Eagles’ multi-talented offense could use the opportunity of extra possessions to drive the Bucs into the ground and the Tampa Bay Bucs could get obliterated on Monday night.

The Bucs should lose this game.

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Philadelphia Eagles v Tampa Bay Bucs
Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

Obliteration could happen, but could also be staved off. Either way, Tampa Bay should lose this game. That’s the territory that comes with being an underdog. Tampa Bay is supposed to lose this game, but that doesn’t mean they need to. The rallying cry of 2023’s Tampa Bay Bucs has been the disbelief. Nothing motivates like having doubt pouring in from all angles and this season’s Tampa Bay Bucs haven’t had to look all that far for doubters. The Bucs should lose this week, but they don’t have to.

More is on the line this week than just the team’s first loss. Their matchup against the Eagles represents a chance to alter their standing amongst their peers.

Tampa Bay will need Dave Canales to be at his best.

NFL: AUG 11 Preseason - Steelers at Bucs
Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The matchup that could derail this entire game the quickest is Tampa’s offensive line against the Eagles’ defensive front. The Bucs have youth and inexperience. The Eagles have talent and depth. That equation doesn’t have anything good for Tampa Bay after the equal sign.

For the Bucs to win they will need their offense to bring the same level of production it has brought in the opening first two weeks of the season and possibly more. To mask some of the gaps in talent, Tampa’s scheme, gameplanning, and play calling will need to be superior. If the Bucs can’t generate any success on the ground, are forced to become one dimensional, and have to see their quarterback spend the majority of Monday night running away from a ferocious Eagles’ pass rush then any path Tampa may have had towards victory will become harder and harder to imagine.

The prevention of this falls on Dave Canales. Canales has had good showings in the season’s first two weeks and that will be necessary if the Bucs hope to stay undefeated moving forward.

After a quick look at things that could happen, should happen, and will happen, we want to hear from you. Do you agree with our list? Do you disagree? What are some things you foresee playing out this week?

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