Some prognosticators picked Tampa as the league’s worst in 2023
Let’s face it; leading up to the 2023 season, nobody was singing the Bucs’ praises in the world of Sports Journalism. I myself predicted an 8 or 9-win season. So contrary to the predictions of most all NFL Beat writers, Mayfield, and the pewter pirates have so far defied the odds placed upon them. Okay, the old Norris division foes Minnesota and Chicago aren’t the cream of the crop this season. You can bet, though, that most of all of the know-it-alls didn’t have the Bucs beating the Vikings at home in week one. Most probably had the Bucs at one and one heading into the Monday Night Philly matchup in week 3, in Tampa. And the majority certainly figure that the Bucs will be one and two coming out of that Monday Night matchup.
Not so fast
Baker Mayfield is playing lights-out football so far in this young 2023 season. Normally, that would mean that the Oklahoma product is due for a stinker against the Super Bowl-caliber Eagles. Not so fast, not only is Mayfield playing well. He is playing his best when he is pressured. That’s a sign that he’s comfortable in Dave Canales’s Offensive system and confident of his abilities in it. He’s moving through his progressions effortlessly and delivering the football on target to his open receiver; while under pressure. You can’t ask for more than that from your lead signal caller. So far, he is also protecting the ball well and not turning it over like he has at times in his past. Many are awaiting the inevitable implosion and see the Eagles game as the perfect storm for Mayfield’s tendency to blow it. What if he continues to play at a high level, avoiding the let-down? The defense has the ability to make things tough on Philly’s offense. Obviously, the key is to not allow Jalen Hurts to beat you with his legs. The gifted quarterback can also be the Eagles’ best running back on any given Sunday. Eagles’ running back D’Andra Swift had a monster game last week against the Vikings. Bucs’ fans should delight in the fact that our run defense will not allow 175 yards from the first-year Eagle on Monday Night.
It could happen
If the Bucs’ running game can find daylight and produce Monday Night, it could be a very long night for Philly. If the Eagles are made to respect our run game, Mayfield should have a productive game. Make no mistake about it, the Eagles will come in here and try to stomp us into the ground. Despite what many may think around the country concerning this Monday Night Matchup. Mayfield and the Bucs have the team to upset the green sleeves. They will have to continue playing without a bunch of penalties and turnovers. In fact, if the Bucs can secure one or more turnovers in the game and play a smothering red-zone defense, I think they will come out on top and move to 3-0 and further baffle all the know-it-alls who predicted nothing but sorrow for the Bucs in 2023. This Eagles game will tell us if this team is for real or just got lucky against a couple of teams that nobody is afraid of. Fingers crossed, and Go Bucs!!