Keys for Eagles defense vs. Buccaneers in Week 6

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IF the Eagles are going to pull off the upset at home against the defending Super Bowl champions, it’ll likely take a herculean effort from Jonathan Gannon’s defense.

Philadelphia played outstanding in the secondary against the Panthers and they’ll need to be patient and precise against a Bucs skill-position group that scores points in spurts like a college basketball team.

We’ve identified several keys for the Eagles’ defense for Thursday night.

Don't make Fournette a star on Thursday night

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Fournette is a talented back and already a star, but there’s no way Philadelphia can afford to allow the Bucs leading rusher to end up at the winner’s podium post-game.

The Eagles can ill-afford to allow Fournette (251 rushing yards) to gain over 100-yards or average over 4.2 yards per carry.

Pressure bust pipes

Mandatory Credit: Griffin Zetterberg-USA TODAY Sports

Brady is still amazing, but he becomes somewhat mortal when pressured and pushed off of his spot. Philadelphia’s pressures the opposing quarterback better than most teams in the NFL and they’ll need to get 7+ pressures and at least 4 hits on Brady to come away victorious.

Who eats at WR for Tampa?

Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Rob Gronkowski is out again at tight end the Tom Brady will have Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Antonio Brown at his disposal.

In the perfect world, Slay, Nelson, and Maddox take away Brady’s threesome, but this is the NFL and someone from Tampa is going to eat. Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, or whoever sees the most time on the outside against Steven Nelson could have the biggest night.

O.J. Howard -- Cameron Brate

Oct 10, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown (81) celebrates with tight end O.J. Howard (80) as he scores a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins during the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia is an ideal matchup for a talented but oft-injured tight end looking for a breakout performance. Through six weeks, 28% of opponent targets against Philadelphia have been directed at the TE position — the highest rate in the NFC.

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