Looking Ahead at the Eagles

And so it ends- the Eagles run as Super Bowl Champions is over. They played a reasonably good game in a 20-14 loss at New Orleans- especially the defense- but they came up a little short. The Eagles mistakes hurt a little more, their injuries exposed their lack of depth a little more, the bye and home field ultimately played up just a little more. Could the Eagles have won? Possibly. Would they have won in Philadelphia? Probably. This is why you play the season though. The Saints earned the advantages they had. The Eagles didn’t.

This team went 10-8, 9-7 in the regular season in the year after a Super Bowl win. They came up just short very often. There was the horrible collapses against Tennessee and Carolina, the bad start in Tampa, the letdown against Minnesota, the two near misses against Dallas, and of course both New Orleans losses. One can very easily revisit this season and see the Eagles being 13-3 in the regular season, and last year they would have been. Sure, they won some tight ones too- Indianapolis, the comeback against the Giants, and tough wins against the Rams and Texans late. They also easily could have lost in the Wild Card round and felt further away.

There’s a lot of reasons to be positive and hopeful about the Eagles. They should have been better than 9-7. They had really solid wins over the Rams, Colts, Texans, and Bears this year- all playoff teams. Carson Wentz will be 21 months removed from his major knee injury, and get a full off-season of practice time- two things he lacked in 2018. Ertz, Jeffery, Johnson, Cox, and Jernigan are just some of the key players who will almost certainly be back in 2019, and still be very good. Doug Pederson is still an elite coach. This team is a good draft and a few free agents from being back in the Super Bowl. No one in the NFC is that far ahead of them.

Of course, don’t get over confident. The Eagles offensive line is in shambles- Peters is probably done here, Brooks could miss next season now, and Kelce may retire. They need a real #2 wide receiver and a horse of a starting quarterback. The secondary was ravaged by injury, and has question marks moving forward. The linebackers need upgrades. Brandon Graham leaving and Chris Long maybe retiring would leave the defensive front light on depth. There are real questions for this off-season.

It’s been a lot of fun to watch though. The defending champs never quit, even at 4-6, even when the division was gone. They fought to the end.

Fly Eagles, fly.

Time to Stop Doubting Nick Foles

On their way to last year’s Super Bowl Championship, the Eagles were home underdogs against the Falcons and the Vikings, then were record-breaking underdogs in the Super Bowl against New England. Why? Nick Foles was playing quarterback instead of Carson Wentz. The Eagles won all of those games of course, and Foles won the Super Bowl MVP, beating Tom Brady.

I’m not sure why everyone is shocked that Foles lead the Eagles to a victory at the Rams? What have the Rams won that Foles-lead teams haven’t? I mean, really, if he beats Houston on Sunday at home, is it anymore shocking than if he loses? At this point, doesn’t the guy have to be close to a jump ball in big games? He seems to run the Eagles offense smoother. He steps up in big spots. He plays fearless. I’m not advocating that he’s a Hall-of-Famer anymore than I would for Cole Hamels in baseball, but they were probably the two coolest customers in big spots that Philadelphia has produced in my lifetime.

When Foles was quarterback with Chip Kelly as coach, I was convinced he would fail. I think if that had remained the norm in Philadelphia, he would have. I think a lot of people haven’t accepted that Foles, in this conditions and this moment, is simply different. It took me a minute to believe. After Super Bowl 52 I won’t doubt again.

The 2018 NFL Preview

It happened. Hell froze over. For the first time since my 61 year old father was three, the Eagles are champions. For the first time ever, the Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl. 41-33 happened. We beat Tom Brady.

But now it’s over. Tomorrow, football season will kick off. The Eagles will put up their banner. They’ll play a game then, probably a game they won’t win, I might add. They have injuries, they have obvious distractions, the Falcons are a good team, and many defending champions lose the opening game. Just look at last year’s Patriots, who ended up fine. It’s just one game.

I’ll go on the record and predict the Eagles to go 12-4 and win the NFC East, claiming the #2 seed in the NFC. Here’s my predictions, by division:

NFC East

  1. Philadelphia Eagles 12-4
  2. Dallas Cowboys 10-6
  3. Washington Redskins 8-8
  4. New York Giants 7-9

This division will be relatively competitive, after the Eagles. Nobody is really awful.

NFC North

  1. Minnesota Vikings 11-5
  2. Green Bay Packers 10-6
  3. Chicago Bears 7-9
  4. Detroit Lions 4-12

The Vikings won’t cruise like last year, but their defense gets them through, again. Aaron Rodgers carries the Packers to ten wins, while Chicago’s defense makes them competitive.

NFC South

  1. New Orleans Saints 11-5
  2. Atlanta Falcons 10-6
  3. Carolina Panthers 10-6
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-13

This division is truly stacked and deep. It was hard to decide who’s what.

NFC West

  1. Los Angeles Rams 13-3
  2. San Francisco 49’ers 9-7
  3. Arizona Cardinals 6-10
  4. Seattle Seahawks 5-11

The Rams are the runaways here, with a stacked team on both sides of the ball. San Francisco moves up, and becomes elite next season.

AFC West

  1. Los Angeles Chargers 9-7
  2. Denver Broncos 8-8
  3. Kansas City Chiefs 7-9
  4. Oakland Raiders 5-11

This is anybody’s ball game, but not in a good way. I take Rivers to pull it out.

AFC South

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars 10-6
  2. Houston Texans 10-6
  3. Tennessee Titans 7-9
  4. Indianapolis Colts 6-10

I’m taking the Jags to show us Sacksonville wasn’t a fluke. I also think Watson contends for MVP in Houston.

AFC North

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers 12-4
  2. Baltimore Ravens 7-9
  3. Cleveland Browns 5-11
  4. Cincinnati Bengals 4-12

Pittsburgh should roll to this one, even if the Bell saga rages on. Nobody else is even close. Cleveland will show improvement though.

AFC East

  1. New England Patriots 13-3
  2. Buffalo Bills 9-7
  3. Miami Dolphins 7-9
  4. New York Jets 5-11

Just another season here.

Wild Card Playoff Round-

Saints 35 Packers 21

Vikings 21 Falcons 17

Jaguars 24 Bills 17

Texans 27 Chargers 24

Divisional Playoff Round-

Rams 31 Vikings 21

Eagles 24 Saints 21

Steelers 34 Jaguars 21

Patriots 38 Texans 17

Conference Title Round-

Eagles 24 Rams 21

Patriots 28 Steelers 17

SUPER BOWL-

Eagles 41 Patriots 33 😏

Let’s play some football.