2018 win total: 10.5
2017 ATS record: 10-6
Everywhere you look, on both sides of the ball, there are playmakers. So many, that even when QB Carson Wentz, the league MVP through the first 14 weeks, went down with a season-ending knee injury last year, it didn’t prevent the Eagles from winning the Super Bowl. Backup QB Nick Foles won the MVP award with a big game in the biggest game.
QB is hardly the only position at which the Eagles are loaded. RBs Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement are ideal complements. WRs Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor, along with TE Zach Ertz, combined for 25 touchdowns, even though none of them had more than 824 receiving yards. But that’s the beauty of the Eagles’ offense -- take away one weapon, and two others emerge. If you’re a defense, it’s an unwinnable game of whack-a-mole.
Defensively, the Eagles were top five in 2017 and may be better this year with the additions of DE Michael Bennett and DT Haloti Ngata, who join standouts Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham on arguably the NFL’s best D-line. The play-making wealth is spread throughout this unit as well. Four players had at least five sacks, and four others had at least three interceptions.
Super Bowl hangover? Maybe.
How about the questionable move of adding a distraction like Bennett, who is still dealing with a criminal case in Texas for allegedly physically abusing an elderly, handicapped woman who was working security at the 2017 Super Bowl. Bennett “ingratiated” himself to his new team by skipping most of the voluntary offseason program, offering typically nonsensical and self-serving reasons for his absence. G.M. Howie Roseman has made some shrewd moves in getting the Eagles to their lofty perch, but the Bennett move is a head-scratcher.
Once you get past the line, the defense is mostly unimpressive, with the exception of S Malcolm Jenkins. Special teams were mostly mediocre last year, although a healthy Darren Sproles could provide a much-needed boost to the punt-return game. But how much can he have left in the tank at 35 years old?
One more thing: Foles’ passer rating in the regular season was just 79.5.
The downside of Super Bowl success is exposure, and in this case that means five prime-time games; and then there’s a 9:30 a.m. (EST) game in London against the Jaguars. The Eagles alternate home and road games every week until Dec. 3, when they host Washington a week after playing the Giants at Lincoln Financial Field. Five of the first eight games are against playoff teams from 2017. After the Week Nine bye, the Eagles play four of their next five games against NFC East opponents, beginning and ending that stretch against the Cowboys.
We haven’t even mentioned the group that makes the offense go: the O-line. It was elite last year, despite playing most of the season without OLT Jason Peters, who is back. Sure, he’s 36 years old, but before last year’s ACL/MCL knee injury, Peters had gone to the Pro Bowl nine times in 10 years.
It’s true that Wentz might not be back to 100 percent by opening day, considering his injury didn’t occur until December, but Foles proved last year he’s more than capable of stepping in under the brightest lights with a 115.7 passer rating in three playoff games.
Previous projected win total breakdowns