Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-1) at Philadelphia Eagles (2-3)
The Buccaneers are obviously one of the best teams in the league, but they are dealing with more injuries than they were a year ago, when they were one of the healthiest teams in the league. In total, they are missing three week one starters from their secondary, top tight end Rob Gronkowski, and now the loss of one of the top linebackers in the league, Lavonte David, who will miss his first game of the season this week. The Buccaneers are coming off of a blowout win over the Dolphins, but the Dolphins are one of the worst teams in the league right now and could be 0-5, while the Buccaneers’ previous two games were a convincing road loss against the Rams and a near defeat against a middling Patriots team in New England.
Despite that, they are favored by a touchdown on the road against an Eagles team that has been better than most think this season. They are just 2-3, but their losses are all against above average teams in the 49ers, Chiefs, and Cowboys, while their two wins have come in blowout fashion against a below average Falcons team and a close win against a decent Panthers team.
My roster rankings have them as a middling team overall, especially with the re-addition of left tackle Jordan Mailata, who returned last week from a two-game absence, unsurprisingly their two least competitive games of the season (Philadelphia and Kansas City). Prior to his absence, the Eagles played the 49ers close and last week he returned for their victory over the Panthers.
They are still missing their top edge defender Brandon Graham, as well as a trio of starting offensive linemen, Lane Johnson, Brandon Brooks, and Isaac Seumalo, but they have better depth upfront than a year ago and are not a bad offensive line now with Mailata back. They are also getting good play from young quarterback Jalen Hurts and this young receiving corps, while also playing solid overall defense as well. My calculated line has the Buccaneers favored by just 3.5 points, so there is value with Philadelphia +7. This is worth a play.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24 Philadelphia Eagles 20
Pick against the spread: Philadelphia +7