The Buccaneers are already the favorites on Sunday, and no Josh Sweat putting pressure on Tom Brady will only improve these chances.
The playoffs will look very different for the Buccaneers in 2021. Despite being the favorites and the two seed, there is a strange feeling going into this opening game that stems from the team playing with several key players missing.
Sure, the Bucs were a lower seed last year, but the full team being together made it feel like anything was possible in that run. The same hope is there for this season, but anyone can see that the path to winning the Super Bowl has become much more difficult.
Every game on the schedule has become a challenge with limited offensive weapons, even the game against the Eagles this Sunday.
Philly has been able to reinvent themselves and their offensive identity from the last time these teams played, and their defense will have a much easier time against fewer offensive threats.
While this game has certainly become more difficult than the last matchup for the Bucs, there are still certain elements of this game that are going in their favor; the first of which being the questionable status of Eagles pass rusher Josh Sweat ahead of the game.
Sweat is one of the best pass rushers that most fans have never heard of, and you need to go beyond stats to see how he impacts games. Sacks are a terrible determinant of edge efficiency in the modern game and are generally more of a quarterback stat, but Sweat has still found ways to make a name for himself.
After getting better every season and emerging as the full-time starter this year, Sweat has defined himself as one of the bright young stars at the position with a 76.1 PFF grade and leading the Eagles pass rushers on the field.
Sweat is easily the best pass rusher on his team and not being on the field would hurt the Eagles defense greatly on Sunday, putting Tampa’s offensive line in an even better position.
While it would be nice for the Buccaneers to be able to say that they defeated every team at full strength as a point of pride, that just isn’t how games work anymore. The Bucs are one of the most depleted teams in the league at this point and they should be willing to take every bit of luck they can get in the coming weeks.
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