On Sunday, Jalen Hurts and the upstart Philadelphia Eagles(9-8) will try to go on the road and defeat Tom Brady and the world champion Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
Before losing a meaningless game to the Cowboys in Week 18, the second-year quarterback had the Eagles on a four-game winning streak, and after starting 3-6, the Eagles have won six of their final eight games.
In Week 6, Hurts and the Eagles fell to the Buccaneers 28-22 at Lincoln Financial Field. In that game, Philadelphia was down 28-7, but the Eagles trimmed the lead to 28-22 with just under six minutes left, but they could not get the ball back.
Hurts, who was 12/26 for 115 yards, touchdown, interception and two rushing touchdowns in the regular season matchup against Tampa Bay, won big on the collegiate level, including winning a National Championship at Alabama, but this is the NFL, and he’s playing Brady in the playoffs, so it won’t be easy.
According to Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni, Philadelphia will have to play very good football to defeat Tampa Bay.
“It’s going to take everybody’s best effort, but the process remains the same of how we go about our business, right? When it’s about the process when you’re process-driven, and you’re results-aware, then you don’t ride the highs and lows of the season,” Sirianni said on Monday.
Sirianni expects Hurts to be ready against the Buccaneers when it’s all said and done.
“I know he’s ready for the next game, which just so happens to be a playoff game, and he’s going to prepare the same way he has prepared,” he said. “I know, from the outside, it looks like it’s a bigger game and everything, but to us, we understand the consequences of losing, and when you win – you’re done if you lose, so we understand that.
“But our process remains the same through it all, and I’m confident in our process. I’m confident in [QB] Jalen [Hurts’] process that he’s going to go out and be ready to play in this game.”
On paper, the Buccaneers are the better team, and for the Eagles to defeat Tampa Bay, they will need Hurts to be at his best, and they will need the team to be at their best.
However, no matter what happens, 2021 is a successful season for the Eagles.