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National Football League
Preview
Philadelphia at Tampa Bay
When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, September 16, 2018
Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida

Backup quarterbacks making the most of their opportunities will be on display on Sunday as Nick Foles guides the Philadelphia Eagles into the Sunshine State to face Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Foles, however, has sputtered since his MVP-winning performance in Super Bowl LII while Fitzpatrick rode a five-touchdown effort (four passing, one rushing) in the season opener to NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors.

"You know I'm better right now than I've been at any point in my career and a lot of that is mentally and whatever else. Truly I feel like the older I've gotten, the better I've become," the 35-year-old Fitzpatrick said on Thursday, four days after throwing for a career-best 417 yards to fuel upstart Tampa Bay to a 48-40 victory over New Orleans. Fitzpatrick, who is playing in place of the suspended Jameis Winston, tossed a pair of touchdown passes to former Eagles wideout DeSean Jackson and one each to Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. The clock may be ticking for Foles as franchise quarterback Carson Wentz reportedly inches closer to a return after injuring his ACL and LCL in December. Foles threw for just 117 yards with an interception in the Eagles' 18-12 victory versus Atlanta on Sept. 6, although the signal caller finds himself in a favorable situation as he faces an injury-depleted Buccaneers secondary that was gashed for 439 passing yards last weekend.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Eagles -3. O/U: 44

ABOUT THE EAGLES (1-0): Zach Ertz answered a career-best eight-touchdown effort in 2017 by dropping a pair of passes in the season opener, leaving the tight end searching for answers. "I don't think I've ever dropped that many balls in a game in my life. Contested or not, whatever it was, it just can't happen," the 6-foot-5, 250-pound Ertz said. Nelson Agholor proved to be Foles' most sure-handed receiver last week with eight receptions, albeit for just 33 yards. Doug Pederson limited Jay Ajayi in the first half against the Falcons due to his ailing toe before upping his carries, resulting in a pair of touchdown runs as well as the coach's admission that the running back's workload would increase.

ABOUT THE BUCCANEERS (1-0): Tampa Bay's secondary was still licking its wounds from a savage beating by the Saints before it was dealt another brutal hit with cornerback Vernon Hargreaves (shoulder) being placed on injured reserve. With four-time Pro Bowl selection Brent Grimes nursing a groin injury that sidelined him for the season opener, Tampa Bay relied on rookies Carlton Davis and M.J. Stewart as well as third-year pro Ryan Smith versus New Orleans -- and the results weren't pretty. Linebackers Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander each recorded nine tackles last week while former Eagles defensive end Vinny Curry registered the team's lone sack. Speaking of former Eagles, Jackson was limited in practice Thursday as he deals with a concussion and shoulder injury.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Tampa Bay TE Cameron Brate did not have a target -- let alone a reception -- last week after recording 48 catches for 591 yards and six touchdowns in 2017.

2. Philadelphia LB Jordan Hicks and DT Fletcher Cox each had 1.5 sacks in the season opener.

3. Tampa Bay's Peyton Barber had 19 of the 22 carries by the team's running backs last week.

PREDICTION: Eagles 24, Buccaneers 21
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf OT Div Conf
Philadelphia 1-0 W1 18.0 12.0 1-0 0-0 1-0 0-0 - - 1-0
Tampa Bay 1-0 W1 48.0 40.0 0-0 1-0 0-0 0-0 - - 1-0
Last Meeting
Philadelphia Tampa Bay
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
8/11/16 TB 9 PHI 17 188 93 95 329 31 298
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Philadelphia N. Agholor 0.0 0 0 0
Tampa Bay J. Adjei-Barimah 0.0 0 0 0
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Philadelphia N. Agholor 0 0 0.0 0
Tampa Bay J. Adjei-Barimah 0 0 0.0 0
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Philadelphia N. Agholor 0 0 0.0 0
Tampa Bay J. Adjei-Barimah 0 0 0.0 0
Touchdowns Player TD
Philadelphia N. Agholor 0
Tampa Bay J. Adjei-Barimah 0
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Philadelphia N. Foles 55.9 117 0 1
Tampa Bay R. Fitzpatrick 75.0 417 4 0
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Philadelphia J. Ajayi 15 62 4.1 2
Tampa Bay P. Barber 19 69 3.6 0
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Philadelphia Z. Ertz 5 48 9.6 0
Tampa Bay M. Evans 7 147 21.0 1
Touchdowns Player TD
Philadelphia J. Ajayi 2
Tampa Bay D. Jackson 2