At the start of the season the Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers thought they were set at quarterback. Now two young faces will start under center on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.
Sources told ESPN on Saturday that Philadelphia’s Michael Vick would likely sit, and head coach Chip Kelly will start Nick Foles at quarterback, and rookie Matt Barkley would back him up after being inactive for the first five weeks.
Tampa head coach Greg Schiano chose Mike Glennon over Josh Freeman two weeks ago before the bye, a move that eventually led to Freeman’s release and signing with Minnesota.
The Eagles have bookended their three losses with two wins over NFC East rivals, and are now on the tail end of a three game road jaunt. Tampa Bay is still searching for its first victory of the season, losing three of four games by a combined five points.
Sunday marks Foles’s first start of the season after he filled in for Vick in the 36-21 win over the New York Giants last week. Vick went down with a hamstring injury, and while he did participate in practices, his ability to cut quickly has been hampered.
Foles went 16-for-25 for 197 yards and two touchdowns, solid stats that should make Kelly comfortable. If not the Eagles can turn to LeSean McCoy, the NFL’s leading rusher with 514 yards on the season.
Glennon can also trust that Schiano will give running back Doug Martin plenty of touches to keep the Philadelphia's run-and-gun offense off the field. The second-year rusher is ninth in the NFL with 342 rushing yards.
Tampa Bay holds a distinct advantage on defense, and is ranked ninth against the rush and 15th the pass. That’ll come in handy against an Eagles team ranked first overall in rushing offense.
There were even questions as to whether either team should play, considering another staph infection outbreak in Tampa Bay. Also called MRSA, a third Buccaneers player contracted the nasty anti-biotic resistant infection. However there have been no serious discussions to postpone the game.
Coverage of the game starts at 1 p.m. ET and will be broadcast by FOX, or watch a live online stream by purchasing NFL Game Access here.
Betting Odds: Philadelphia is favored by 3 points.
Over/Under: 45.5 points.
Prediction: Philadelphia 20, Tampa Bay 13