ITB: Matchups to Watch In Wild Card Game
The Philadelphia Eagles will have to overcome injuries and present different looks to advance to the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs.
On the latest episode of “Inside The Birds,” Adam Caplan and Geoff Mosher previewed the Wild Card matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and gave their final score predictions.
Adam Caplan: “He is playing, the issue is how well he can throw it. It is his right middle finger.”
Caplan: “The injury is the side of the right knee, which is typically MCL territory. There is zero chance he would play with a ‘Grade 2’ MCL injury, you can’t. ‘Grade 1,’ he would be very questionable. If he does get cleared to play it is so hard to know how well could do. I would be very dubious of playing if he doesn’t practice on Friday.”
Geoff Mosher: “Hurts was blitzed on 61% of his dropbacks against the Bucs [in week 3]. I think Todd Bowles is going to look at that and say they need to blitz more this time because the Eagles are struggling so much with it…They need to get back to a basics type of game and a blitzing defense is the perfect one to do your 12 personnel, run your RPOs, get your running game going and then open it up into your throwball game once you establish rhythm or comfort.”
Caplan: “From one of the teams that gave us some incredible film stuff: the Eagles last week struggled with short protection and slide protection beaters. They figured out the Eagles protection scheme and they were predictable. Teams are killing them against Cover 0. Blitz, blitz, and more blitz. These teams are willing to take the risk because the Eagles cannot get the ball down the field.”
Mosher: “They used to be a big man [coverage] defense with their blitzes. Starting last year, they play a lot more zone behind their blitzes than most teams that blitz as much as they do. That makes me fearful of what a guy like Antoine Winfield Jr. can do. His strength is playing in space and finding the ball in the air.”
Caplan: “They are 70% zone, their predominant coverage is Cover 3. Cover 3 beaters are tight ends. Keep an eye on that.”
Mosher: “Baker Mayfield is doing a better job of navigating the pocket. He is better at getting away from traffic and extending the play a little bit. They are a little bit more trustworthy in him. The man can get the ball to Mike Evans.”
Final Score Predictions
Caplan: “I have it Buccaneers 24, Eagles 20.”
Mosher: “I’m going to pick the Bucs to win 26-23.”
– Benjamin Paul is a staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com.