The new Pewter Report Roundtable will debut every Tuesday during the Bucks regular season. Every week, Pewter reporters tackle a different tough question. This week’s prompt: Other than him scoring one more point than Philadelphia, what do the Bucks have to do to beat the Eagles in an upset on Monday Night Football and improve to 3-0?
Scott Reynolds: Bucks must protect Baker Mayfield at all costs
Remember how the Bucs defense made Justin Fields’ life miserable in Sunday’s 27-17 win over the Bears? The Bucs can’t let what happened to Fields happen to quarterback Baker Mayfield. Tampa Bay sacked Fields six times, blocked his escape route with great lane integrity, and robbed him twice.
It was a great defensive performance by Todd Bowles’ team, which at times overwhelmed the Bears’ offensive line with a powerful four-man rush and at times brought pressure with blitzes. Nothing derails a quarterback, or an offense in general, more than pressure, and no player put as much pressure on a quarterback as the Eagles had last year with a league-high 70 sacks.
Tampa Bay has eight sacks through two games, and has actually had twice that many sacks. Philadelphia (4) Takes place in previous years. But that doesn’t mean the Eagles can’t have a big night with Mayfield and explode with a Bucs offensive line that allowed just one sack in 2023.
Philadelphia had four players with double-digit sacks last year: Haasan Reddick, Brandon Graham, Josh Sweat and Javon Hargrave. Old man Fletcher Cox also had seven sacks. The breakaway ability Mayfield has shown over the first two weeks of the season will be put to the test Monday night.
I think the Bucks will have a hard time moving the ball against one of the league’s top rushing defenses if things continue like this. The trio of Cox, Jordan Davis and Jalen Carter could just clog up the middle and stop scoring, potentially making life miserable for center Robert Hainsey. Taking a negative play away from a sack will only make things even more difficult for Tampa Bay’s emerging ground game. Offensive coordinator Dave Canales will have to do everything he can to protect Mayfield, and the Bucs will also need more effort in pass protection from tight ends and the Bucs.
That could even limit how rookie Sean Tucker can be used, as Mayfield may have to be counted on to pick up blitzes if he has to check on pass plays. Mayfield’s pocket doesn’t have to be clean. We’ve seen him dodge and duck several shots throughout two weeks that could have gotten him sacked. Mayfield may need a more max-protection situation than usual and may have to wear the Houdini mantle for another week if the protection fails if the Bucks have any chance of beating the Eagles. .Tampa Bay has enough defense to get the job done, but Mayfield leads the way.
Bailey Adams: Keep winning the turnover battle
After the Bucs’ 27-17 win over the Bears on Sunday, I wrote about how winning the turnover battle paid off. The biggest reason for the team’s 2-0 start. In Week 1, Tampa Bay won by three points in Minnesota, and the Vikings’ three turnovers loomed large in a close game. Against Chicago on Sunday, Tampa Bay once again held its offense to zero turnovers, but the defense committed two turnovers in the second half to seal the victory.
The Bucks are currently a plus-5 in the sales margin department. That’s the secret to winning in soccer. If you ask Todd Bowles, Dave Canales, Baker Mayfield or anyone in that locker room, they’ll agree. If this team can protect the ball on offense and keep winning the ball on defense, they have a chance to do big things. And those big moments could include an upset win over the Eagles in Week 3.
Of course, winning the turnover battle against Philadelphia won’t be easy. Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts threw just six interceptions a year ago and lost zero fumbles. Hurts has thrown one interception and lost one fumble this year. This is an unusual turnover pace for him, but it’s helped by an Eagles defense that can generate turnovers at a high clip. Despite those two turnovers of his, his two-week turnover margin in Philadelphia is plus-four.
The Eagles can rush the passer, and the Bucs need Baker Mayfield to avoid A) being repeatedly sacked or running for his life, or B) being forced to make bad decisions and turnover-worthy throws. must be protected. And on the other hand, Tampa Bay’s defense needs to keep producing points.
The Bucks scored nine points through four games last year, but finished the season with just 20 points. We need to ensure that this year’s similarly strong start doesn’t turn into a slump like in 2022. And a defense doing its part to win the turnover battle against the Eagles could go a long way in putting Tampa Bay in position. To win on Monday night.
Matt Matera: Success in football
The Bucs have already established that their commitment to running the football is critical to their offense. It doesn’t necessarily have to be long runs of 10-20 yards, but the Bucs need to be able to find some kind of run game against the Eagles and at least open up whatever they want to do.
The Eagles allowed an average of 52 yards per game and the Bucs allowed just 54 yards per game, making for a very interesting matchup between two teams with some of the best run-stopping defenses in the league. Tampa Bay has been up and down in its running game to start the season. The team only allowed him to run for 73 yards in Week 1, but in Week 2 he was even better with 120 yards. While rookie Sean Tucker struggled, Rathard White improved.
They weren’t always in this situation, but there were times last week when the Bucks were able to convert on third-and-long situations. That was highlighted by a touchdown pass from Baker Mayfield to Mike Evans on third-and-14. The Bucks might be able to get away with it against the Bears, but that could prove even more difficult against the Eagles.
If the Bucks want to win, they need to control time of possession, and they’ve proven they can do that. This offense also can’t get into too many “must pass” situations because it’s not yet ready to consistently withstand against a dangerous Eagles front seven. Can the Bucks do it well enough? Yes, but the matchup against Philadelphia will be a tougher sledding and will require a better effort.
Josh Quapo: Finishing in the red zone
Through two games of the 2023 NFL season, the Bucs have scored only two touchdowns on six red zone opportunities. Their conversion rate of 33% ranks 30th out of 32 teams. They have scored a total of 23 points on six trips to the red zone, allowing them to average 3.8 points once inside the 20-yard line.
Against a fairly strong opponent, 2-0 Philadelphia and the defending NFC champions, the Bucks don’t have the luxury of winning points like they did against Chicago and Minnesota. Tampa Bay will need to be near perfect in the red zone if they are to keep up with the in-form Eagles.
Offensive coordinator Dave Canales will need to fine-tune his play sequences while adjusting his calls to ensure the offense executes at a high level. If the Bucks can get through this critical phase of the game, they’ll have a chance to be a puncher.
Adam Slivon: Victory in the trenches
In order for the Bucks to continue their hot start and leave the field at Raymond James Stadium undefeated on Monday night, they will need to win the top-of-the-line matchup between the two teams in the football.
Tampa Bay’s offense will start on offense and will have its hands full, including Philadelphia’s defense led by Haason Reddick, Jalen Carter, Jordan Davis, Josh Sweat, Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox.
It’s no secret that Cox, a six-time Pro Bowler, ranks third-highest among Eagles defensive tackles by Pro Football Focus behind Carter (90.2 points) and Davis (89.8 points). It tells the story.
In theory, this would be the toughest defense Tampa Bay’s offense will face all season.For an offense that has done a good job of containing both the Vikings and Bears, Baker Mayfield will need to bring his “A” game to avoid a matchup. more pressure More than last week, and for Rathard White, there was no hole to go through.
Not only does the offensive line need to win the battle up front, but so does the defensive line.The defense is They were able to take home Bears quarterback Justin Fields with six sacks on Sunday, but that was against a questionable Bears offensive line. There’s no question about the big men up front for the Eagles.
Jordan Mailata and Lane Johnson have reputations as two of the best offensive tackles in the business, and Jason Kelce is as close to a Hall of Fame center as you can get.Landon Dickerson and Cam Jurgens are still not good enough that Although he’s at the guard level, he’s done enough to make the Eagles’ offensive line one of the best in the NFL. That’s the level the Bucks would need their big man to play in all four quarters to have a chance of beating the Eagles and heading into New Orleans 3-0.