The Eagles have really taken to defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz’s “Wide 9” scheme. A solid unit in 2016, the Philadelphia defense took a big step forward, finishing fourth in the league in points allowed, yardage allowed and takeaways. It also finished fourth in defensive fantasy scoring after finishing sixth the year before. The Eagles had the NFL’s top-ranked run defense in 2017 and allowed just seven rushing touchdowns. With Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham and Tim Jernigan, the Eagles already had one of the top defensive lines in the league, and then they added ex-Seahawk Michael Bennett in free agency. The back end is solid and could get even better with second-year CB Sidney Jones, a college standout at Washington, fully recovered from the Achilles injury that dinged his draft stock.
Uh, maybe there’s a championship hangover? It’s hard to find fault here. A few of the starters -- Graham, Bennett and S Malcolm Jenkins -- are now in their 30s. Cornerback might not exactly be an area of strength, but with a pass rush this good, it might not matter much.
All hail the champs. The defense was terrific last season, helping the Eagles reach the Super Bowl, even after QB Carson Wentz went down. And, while it sprung a few leaks in the Super Bowl, the Philly defense thwarted Tom Brady and the Patriots in the end. This is a terrific real-life defense that should also be a nice asset in fantasy.