The Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers play on Monday night and it's an unexpected meeting between two unbeaten teams, setting the stage for one of the top games of the week. Either the Eagles or the Bucs will join a short list of only three unbeaten teams remaining once the game is over.
The Eagles are coming off an 11-day layoff after winning two games in five days to begin the season. Philadelphia defeated New England and Minnesota to get to 2-0, starting the season by winning the first two games in consecutive years for the first time since 1992 and 1993. Tampa Bay is a surprising 2-0 after knocking off Minnesota in Week 1 and Chicago in Week 2, establishing itself as an early player in the NFC South race.
An Eagles win puts them in sole possession in first place in the NFC East. The same applies for Tampa Bay in the NFC South.
The Eagles and Buccaneers were playoff rivals of the past (they're meeting for the first time since Tampa Bay blew out Philadelphia in the 2021 NFC wild card round). Perhaps the rivalry will be renewed Monday night, as the Eagles seek vengeance for that playoff disaster while the Buccaneers honor Ronde Barber (a name Philadelphians like to forget) at halftime.
Below is how to watch Monday's showdown, along with the key matchups to watch and a prediction on the game.
How to watch
Baker Mayfield vs. Eagles pressure
Part of the reason why the Buccaneers have started 2-0 has been the play of Mayfield, who has played turnover-free football through the first two games. Mayfield has completed 69.1% of his passes for 490 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions (104.4 passer rating). He has yet to fumble the ball and even recovered a fumble this season.
Where Mayfield has really shined is under pressure. Mayfield has completed 15 of 21 passes for 230 yards with a touchdown under pressure (123.1 rating) going up against an Eagles defense that has the second-highest pressure rate over the last two seasons (38%). Give Mayfield some credit here as he's targeted Mike Evans and Chris Godwin frequently, throwing for 346 passing yards and averaging 10.8 yards per attempt when targeting them.
Opposing quarterbacks are 14 of 31 for 176 yards with three touchdowns to zero interceptions against the Eagles under pressure, as the 99.4 passer rating is 30th in the NFL. The Eagles have pressured on 33.7% of their snaps, 16th in the NFL.
Eagles run offense vs. Buccaneers run defense
This is a classic matchup for Philadelphia, a team that likes to run the ball to get the offense going. The Eagles did this last week when the passing game wasn't going, turning to D'Andre Swift to move the ball against the Vikings. All Swift did was carry the ball for 175 yards and a score as the Eagles rushed for 259 yards with three touchdowns and averaged 5.4 yards per carry.
While Philadelphia is second in the NFL in rushing yards per game (178.0) and fifth in yards per carry (4.9), Tampa Bay is third in the league in rushing yards per game allowed (54.0) and sixth in yards per carry allowed (3.3). The Buccaneers faced the Vikings and Bears in slowing down opposing run offenses, but their biggest triumph was holding Justin Fields to four carries to three yards in Week 2. Hurts is a different style runner, but he's the X-factor in Philadelphia's rushing attack.
Tampa Bay's run defense will be tested this week, as Philadelphia will have Kenneth Gainwell back to help out Swift.
The Buccaneers are a surprising 2-0, but they played scoring defenses that were 29th in the NFL (Vikings, 25.3) and 32nd in the league (Bears, 27.8) over the last two seasons. Philadelphia's defense is much better, ranking eighth in the league over that span (20.6 points per game allowed). They'll have to get their run game going (96.5 yards per game) against the Eagles top-ranked run defense (52.0 yards allowed per game)
The Eagles pass game has yet to get going, as Hurts has not been comfortable through two weeks. A.J. Brown has experienced a slow start and Dallas Goedert hasn't been targeted enough. DeVonta Smith has carried the passing game to date, as he and Brown present a test to Carlton Davis and Jamel Dean. If Davis, who's questionable with a toe injury, doesn't play, the Buccaneers could be in for a long night.
Philadelphia's offense needs a big play in the passing game, and it seems to get one every week. That may be the difference.
Eagles 27, Buccaneers 23
I'm pretty confident in my pick but you might want to check out Micah Roberts' pick. Roberts is 16-6-1 on his last 23 picks in games involving the Buccaneers. We can tell you he's leaning Under the total, but he knows a crucial X-factor makes one side of the spread a MUST-BACK! Check it out here.