A lot has changed since the Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers met back on October 14. Nick Sirianni’s team has gone 7-4 since Week 6, although that Week 18 doesn’t really count with the Eagles resting their starters.
The Eagles lost the first matchup 28-22. Then, Philadelphia turned the 2021 season around by switching their identity to a run-heavy offense. They have also been more locked in on the defensive end. The Eagles and Buccaneers are two very different teams heading into Sunday’s wild-card showdown – except for one major constant: Tom Brady. The greatest quarterback to ever lace up cleats continues to shower in the Fountain of Youth. Coming off a three-touchdown performance, Brady has now thrown 43 touchdowns against 12 interceptions this season.
“I’m confident that Tom Brady’s going to see a completely different defense than he saw in Week 6,” Sirianni told SportsRadio 94WIP’s Angelo Cataldi on Monday. “We know that some of the players have changed throughout Tampa, but we know that No. 12 is still going to be standing back there and what a good challenge for us, to go against one of the guys that is considered one of the greatest players of all-time.”
Sirianni told Cataldi the first thing he’ll do to prepare is go back and watch the tape from Week 6. They put on the film from a 2018 Colts-Patriots game (Sirianni and Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon were both in Indianapolis) prior to the first meeting, then watched a 2020 Chargers-Buccaneers game (Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen was in Los Angeles) to glean clues on how to defend Brady.
“I think both teams are going to look very different,” Sirianni said. “You always like to have the tape. I think one thing that you always do as a coach is, you go back and you look at the last time you played the team or maybe the last two or three times you’ve played the team.”
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Sirianni’s Wife Wins Over Eagles Fans
NBC Sports’ Peter King included an interesting nugget about Sirianni from the preseason in his “Football Morning in America” column. In it, the plugged-in reporter shares how Sirianni’s wife, Brett, gave him the business following a 35-0 loss to New England in the preseason. He was upset the Philly fans had booed him when Brett checked his ego on the drive home from Lincoln Financial Field. King wrote:
He told me he was shocked when the Eagles played the Patriots in the preseason, got creamed, and got booed. He was driving home with his wife after the game and bitched about it being preseason and getting booed.
“Well,” she said, “what’d you give them to cheer about?”
Sirianni said, an hour past midnight Saturday, driving home: “Sometimes it takes the ones who love you to give you the truth.”
Amazing. Which leads to the next question: What did Brett say to him after resting his starters and losing to Dallas 51-26?
Eagles Heavy Underdogs Versus Tampa
The Eagles opened as seven-point road underdogs to Tampa Bay. The line had grown to 8.5 points by Monday morning. Immediately, people began thinking back to Philly’s magical 2017 run through the postseason when they were the underdogs in every single game. They broke out dog masks and rallied around the disrespect that year. Well, it’s time to do it again and Eagles’ right tackle Lane Johnson started the rallying cry.