1. Archive

BUCS (0-4) VS. EAGLES (2-3)

To recap (deep breath): The Bucs are coming off a bye week, the release of QB Josh Freeman - now with the Vikings - and they have a sellout crowd as a welcome distraction from another set of MRSA infections, including rookie CB Johnthan Banks and G Carl Nicks.Tampa Bay is eager to draw the headlines backto the field as it goes after its first win of the season.

* * *

What the Eagles do best

Run offensive plays at a dizzying pace - one every 22.3 seconds. Whether it be Michael Vick or Nick Foles, Philadelphia has thrown for 1,431 yards. AndLeSean McCoy has a league-best 514 rushing yards.

* * *

How you beat the Eagles

Take advantage of a defense giving up 434 yards and 31.8 points per game. Philly scored 30 against the Chargers and lost, and gave up 52 to Denver. The Eagles defense is on the field even more than their prolific offense.

* * *

Eagles' top offensive player

LeSean "Shady" McCoy (right) leads the league with 514 rushing yards and 700 yards from scrimmage. The last time he faced Bucs coach Greg Schiano, McCoy went off for 146 yards and four touchdowns as Pittsburgh lost to Rutgers in 2008. Do that again, and his team won't lose.

* * *

Eagles' top defensive player

Second-year LB Mychal Kendricks is all over the place: 35 tackles, an interception and three fumble recoveries. He needs to be more consistent. But as this defense seeks major improvements, he's a playmaker on the rise.

* * *

The Bucs must avoid ...

Allowing Philadelphia's defense to collapse on the line of scrimmage and focus too much on RB Doug Martin. A few downfield passes early will force the safeties to respect Mike Glennon's arm and open up Martin for easier yards.

* * *

The pick

Eagles 24, Bucs 16

* * *

Unit rankings

Bucs offense

Run: 100.5 (18th)

Pass: 174.3 (32nd)

Total: 274.8 (31st)

Bucs defense

Run: 94.3 (9th)

Pass: 238.0 (15th)

Total: 332.3 (13th)

Eagles offense

Run: 186.6 (1st)

Pass: 268.2 (11th)

Total: 454.8 (2nd)

Eagles defense

Run: 108.0 (17th)

Pass: 326.0 (30th)

Total: 434.0 (31st)

* * *

Injury report

BUCS - Out: CB Michael Adams (knee). Questionable: CB Johnthan Banks (illness), G Carl Nicks (foot), WR Mike Williams (hamstring). Probable: S Mark Barron (hamstring), G Gabe Carimi (illness), TE Tom Crabtree (ankle), S Dashon Goldson (foot), DT Derek Landri (knee), DE Steven Means (shoulder), CB Rashaan Melvin (hamstring)

EAGLES - Questionable: TE James Casey (groin), QB Michael Vick (hamstring). Probable: LB Connor Barwin (knee), CB Brandon Boykin (groin), S Patrick Chung (shoulder), QB Nick Foles (groin), P Donnie Jones (left foot), T Jason Peters (finger), RB Chris Polk (ankle)

1, Raymond James Stadium - TV/radio: Ch. 13; 620-AM, 103.5 FM, 95.3-FM - Line, O/U: Eagles by 2-1/2; 46

* * *



WR: Vincent Jackson 83

LT: Donald Penn 70

LG: Gabe Carimi 72

C: Jeremy Zuttah 76

RG: Davin Joseph 75

RT: Demar Dotson 69

TE: Tom Crabtree 84

WR: Mike Williams 19

QB: Mike Glennon 8

RB: Doug Martin 22

FB: Erik Lorig 41


DE: Daniel Te'o Nesheim 50

DT: Gerald McCoy 93

DT: Akeem Spence 97

DE: Adrian Clayborn 94

SLB: Dekoda Watson 56

MLB: Mason Foster 59

WLB: Lavonte David 54

LCB: Darrelle Revis 24

RCB: Leonard Johnson 29

SS: Mark Barron 23

FS: Dashon Goldson 38

Special teams

P/KO: Michael Koenen 9

PK: Rian Lindell 4

LS: Andrew Economos 48

KR: Jeff Demps 32

PR: Eric Page 17



WR: Riley Cooper 14

LT: Jason Peters 71

LG: Evan Mathis 69

C: Jason Kelce 62

RG: Todd Herremans 79

RT: Lane Johnson 65

TE: Brent Celek 87

WR: Jason Avant 81

WR: DeSean Jackson 10

QB: Nick Foles 9

RB: LeSean McCoy 25


DE: Cedric Thornton 72

NT: Isaac Sopoaga 97

DE: Fletcher Cox 91

OLB: Connor Barwin 98

ILB: DeMeco Ryans 59

ILB: Mychal Kendricks 95

OLB: Trent Cole 58

LCB: Bradley Fletcher 24

RCB: Cary Williams 26

SS: Nate Allen 29

FS: Earl Wolff 28

Special teams

P: Donnie Jones 8

PK/KO: Alex Henery 6

LS: Jon Dorenbos 82

KR/PR: Damaris Johnson 13

* * *

Jaguars (0-5) at Broncos (5-0)

4 p.m. Ch. 10 Broncos by 26-1/2, 53-1/2

Yes, you can watch Peyton Manning and friends try to cover a huge spread. You might have read Denver averages 46 points while Jacksonville has totaled 51. The Jags got a boost from WR Justin Blackmon, who had a long TD and 136 yards fresh off a four-game ban. Denver has four players - WR Demaryius Thomas, WR Eric Decker WR Wes Welker and TE Julius Thomas (above) - with more receiving yards than Bucs leader Vincent Jackson (292). So yes, it will cover.

The pick: Broncos 48, Jaguars 13

* * *

Titans (3-2) at Seahawks (4-1)

4 p.m. Seahawks by 13, 40-1/2

Tennessee is averaging exactly as many yards (321.2) as it is allowing. Seattle seeks to rebound from its first loss. New name I like to carefully pronounce: Tennessee DT Ropati Pitoitua, who has as many sacks (five) in five games as he did in his first four seasons. Speaking of names, I'm suggesting "ATV" as a nickname for Titans CB Alterraun Verner (above), who has four picks and an NFL-best 11 passes defensed. Warning to Titans QB Ryan Fitzpatrick: Seattle is tied for first with 15 takeaways.

The pick: Seahawks 34, Titans 21

* * *

Saints (5-0) at Patriots (4-1)

4:25 p.m. Ch. 13Patriots by 1-1/2, 50-1/2

A battle of elite QBs. The Saints and Drew Brees won the last meeting, in 2009, but Tom Brady (above) and the Patriots are 3-1 in the series. Brady has Bucs castoff LeGarrette Blount leading the club in rushing and an undrafted rookie, Kenbrell Thompkins, with a team-high three TD catches. Saints TE Jimmy Graham continues a torrid pace at 593 yards and six TDs. Despite his years in the NFC South, Pats and former Bucs CB Aqib Talib seeks his first interception vs. the Saints.

The pick: Saints 28, Patriots 21

* * *

Cardinals (3-2) at 49ers (3-2)

4:25 p.m. 49ers by 10-1/2, 41

49ers WR Anquan Boldin(above) had five 1,000-yard seasons among seven in Arizona before a trade to Baltimore in 2010. He's on pace to get back over 1,000 for the first time since. San Francisco has won seven of eight in the series, but QB Colin Kaepernick could use a third target. Boldin and TE Vernon Davis account for 617 yards with no one else even at 100. Turnovers are always key, but both teams are even in turnover margin. Watch Cards WR Michael Floyd, who had 166 yards and a touchdown in the last meeting.

The pick: 49ers 28, Cardinals 17

* * *

Redskins (1-3) at Cowboys (2-3)

8:30 p.m. Ch. 8Cowboys by 5, 53-1/2

The Cowboys are tied for the NFC East lead, even after a 51-48 loss to the Broncos. Tony Romo (above) was brilliant, throwing for 506 yards and five touchdowns before a costly late interception. Watch out for rookie Terrence Williams, who had 151 yards receiving, including an 82-yard TD. The Redskins' Alfred Morris needs the ball more. He's averaging 5.3 yards per carry, better than any running back ahead of him in yards. He averaged 156 against Dallas in 2012 with four touchdowns.

The pick: Redskins 24, Cowboys 21

* * *

Colts (4-1) at Chargers (2-3)

8:40 p.m. Monday ESPN. Colts by 1-1/2, 50

Andrew Luck (above) as the next John Elway? After last week, Luck has nine winning drives in the fourth quarter and overtime, the most of any quarterback in his first 21 games. San Diego's Philip Rivers has 13 touchdown passes as well as 400-plus yards in three of his past four games. Chargers RB Danny Woodhead has more catches (31) than carries (28) with three touchdown catches. Colts RB Trent Richardson went for 122 and a touchdown against the Chargers in 2012 while with Cleveland.

The pick: Chargers 35, Colts 24

* * *

Packers (2-2) at Ravens (3-2)

1 p.m. Packers by 3, 48-1/2

Take away the records, and it's a huge game. Baltimore has dominated at home, 35-7 under coach John Harbaugh and winners of 13 straight against NFC teams. Ravens LB Terrell Suggs, who had three sacks last week against Miami, can set the franchise record by getting one in his sixth straight game. Green Bay needs a consistent running game. Rookie Eddie Lacy (above) had 99 yards last week, a promising development. Baltimore's Torrey Smith leads the AFC with 111 receiving yards per game.

The pick: Packers 28, Ravens 24

* * *

Bengals (3-2) at Bills (2-3)

1 p.m. Bengals by 6-1/2, 41-1/2

The Bengals defense gets kudos for stopping Tom Brady's streak of games with a touchdown pass at 52 in last week's 13-6 win over the Patriots. How many touchdown runs do you think Cincy's BenJarvus Green-Ellis (above) has since the start of 2010? Answer's 33, tied for fourth in the NFL. QB Thad Lewis, signed off the practice squad, makes his second career start, so the Bills need help from RB C.J. Spiller and RB Fred Jackson. Buffalo's Mario Williams has 7-1/2 sacks, 6-1/2 off of his career high set in 2007.

The pick: Bengals 24, Bills 10

* * *

Lions (3-2) at Browns (3-2)

1 p.m. Lions by 2-1/2, 44

In the teams' last meeting, in 2009, then-rookie Matt Stafford (above) passed for five touchdowns, including the winner as time expired in a 38-37 Lions win. Detroit has, perhaps, the league's best 1-2 dual-threat running backs in Reggie Bush and Joique Bell, who have combined for more than 400 yards rushing and another 400 receiving on 37 catches. The Browns have won three straight, but QB Brandon Weeden has two touchdowns among 110 passes. And Willis McGahee is averaging just 2.6 yards per carry.

The pick: Lions 31, Browns 21

* * *

Rams (2-3) at Texans (2-3)

1 p.m. Texans by 7-1/2, 42-1/2

Eli Manning is worse, but Matt Schaub (above) is despised in Houston. After six touchdowns in a 2-0 start, he has two and six interceptions in an 0-3 slide, including at the Ravens and 49ers by a combined 64-12. Houston is No. 1 in total defense (260 yards per game). But thanks to Schaub's four pick-sixes, it is 25th in scoring. Rams QB Sam Bradford needs help from the run game, and rookie Zac Stacy had 78 yards last week. He's still waiting for first-rounder Tavon Austin to improve on his 6.8 yards per catch.

The pick: Texans 21, Rams 14

* * *

Raiders (2-3) at Chiefs (5-0)

1 p.m. Chiefs by 8, 41

Can Oakland, winners of six of the past eight in the series, hand the Chiefs their first loss ... on their homefield? The Raiders won four games last season, but two were against Kansas City, including 15-0 in December. Raiders QB Terrelle Pryor, above, is playing well - 502 passing yards, 72 percent completion rate and three touchdowns without an interception - over the past two games. The Chiefs are undefeated because they have committed five turnovers in five games. They're an NFL-best plus-10 in turnover margin.

The pick: Chiefs 28, Raiders 13

* * *

Steelers (0-4) at Jets (3-2)

1 p.m. Pick 'em, 41

These are the AFC's worst in turnover margin. Pittsburgh seeks its first takeaway to offset 11 turnovers; the Jets are minus-9 with an AFC-worst 12 turnovers committed. Expect the Steelers to lean more on rookie RB Le'Veon Bell (above), who had two touchdowns in his debut after missing three games to injuries. Steelers WR Antonio Brown (412 yards) shouldn't be a new name. He had 1,108 yards in 2011 and five touchdowns in 2012. Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson, a 315-pounder, has four sacks.

The pick: Jets 21, Steelers 14

* * *

Panthers (1-3) at Vikings (1-3)

1 p.m. Vikings by 2, 44

Ex-Buc Josh Freeman will be the inactive No. 3 QB for the Vikings and behind Christian Ponder. But how will starter Matt Cassel play looking over his shoulder? The 2-year-old son of RB Adrian Peterson (above)died Friday. Peterson is expected to play. But in any case, emotions will be high on the Vikings sideline. Carolina's only win is against the winless Giants, and it has scored 12 points in its other three games. Ted Ginn is averaging 20.1 yards per catch, third in the NFL among players with 10-plus receptions.

The pick: Vikings 28, Panthers 24