5 Matchups to Watch as Eagles Travel South to Face Buccaneers - NBC 10 Philadelphia
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5 Matchups to Watch as Eagles Travel South to Face Buccaneers

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    NEWSLETTERS

    5 Matchups to Watch as Eagles Travel South to Face Buccaneers
    CSNPhilly.com
    5 matchups to watch as Eagles travel south to face Buccaneers

    The Eagles got off to a winning start in Week 1, escaping from the opener with an 18-12 victory over the Falcons. 

    A few days later, the Bucs won a 48-40 shootout over Drew Brees and the Saints in New Orleans. 

    This game in Tampa Bay will be one of just two matchups between 1-0 teams in the NFC this weekend. The other is Packers-Vikings. 

    Here are five matchups to watch: 

    Mike Evans vs. Ronald Darby 

    It remains to be seen whether DeSean Jackson (concussion) will play. A matchup between Jackson and Darby would be fun to watch. But this one is even more interesting. Darby had a really good game in the opener and I'm interested to see how he performs this season with a full offseason in this defense. 

    Evans, meanwhile, is the model of consistency in the NFL. He's been in the league for four seasons and has at least 1,000 yards in each of them. He's one of just three players in NFL history - A.J. Green and Randy Moss are the others - to do that. At 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, he's a much different receiver than the speedy Jackson. He's more of a big catch-radius type of guy, but also has speed. He caught seven passes for 147 yards and a touchdown in Week 1. The Bucs have several weapons to watch, but Evans tops the list. 

    Nick Foles vs. banged-up corners

    Brees didn't waste any time targeting rookie Carlton Davis when he entered last week's game. Expect Foles to have some real chances to get the ball down the field. Vernon Hargreaves is on IR and Brent Grimes is 35 and has a groin injury. Foles is going to have a chance to do some damage if he can get into a rhythm. 

    Brandon Brooks vs. Gerald McCoy

    Lining up next to former Eagle Beau Allen is perennial Pro Bowler McCoy. McCoy lines up most often at LDT, which means he'll be facing Brooks, who is a Pro Bowler too. This should be a fun matchup to watch. 

    The Bucs' defense starts with McCoy. They have other good players, but he's sort of like their Fletcher Cox. Super talented, a game-wrecker and probably doesn't get enough credit. If Brooks can handle McCoy without too much help from Jason Kelce, it would be a huge win for the Eagles. 

    Bucs TEs vs. Malcolm Jenkins 

    In addition to a talented trio of receivers, the Bucs also have two tight ends who play a lot in Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard. Brate had 48 catches last season and Howard had 26 as a rookie. The Bucs had 20 plays with at least two tight ends on the field in Week 1.

    The good news for the Eagles is that they've been pretty hard on tight ends recently. They gave up just three catches for 24 yards in the opener to Falcons TEs. And they gave up an average of 46 yards per game to tight ends last season. It really starts with Jenkins, who likes to play near the line of scrimmage. 

    Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Eagles' DL 

    Did you guys know Fitzpatrick went to Harvard? You're going to hear about that a lot this weekend. 

    Yes, Fitzpatrick is smart. It's how he's stayed in the league for 14 seasons. He's also coming off a game in which he accounted for five touchdowns and was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week. One of the most overlooked parts of Fitz's game is his ability to use his legs. He's not Mike Vick, but he will run at times. At the very least, he's really good at buying time in the pocket. If the Eagles get to him, they need to get him down. 

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