Supposedly tight up against the salary cap with little room to maneuver, the Philadelphia Eagles found ways to be flexible and had themselves a marvelous offseason.
Now with Carson Wentz healthy and a fully loaded roster, the Eagles have Super Bowl 2020 aspirations. Are they good enough to get there, though, or will their championship plans get derailed?
In: DeSean Jackson, Malik Jackson, Andrew Sendejo, Jordan Howard, Andre Dillard, J.J. Arcega Whiteside
Out: Golden Tate, Nick Foles, Jordan Hicks, Jay Ajayi, Michael Bennett
Evaluating The Changes
The Eagles had themselves an excellent offseason.
- They swapped out Tate, who wasn’t quite a fit, for Jackson, who is still capable of taking the top off a defense.
- They then found help on the offensive line with tackle Andre Dillard in the draft and more recently, Brett Toth.
- They also address their ground game as they cut ties with the ineffective Ajayi and brought in former Chicago Bears starter Jordan Howard and drafted Miles Sanders.
This is about as good of a cast as Wentz has had around him.
On defense, the team added Jackson and re-signed contributors Ronald Darby and Timmy Jernigan on the cheap. Losing Foles will hurt if Wentz gets hurt again but they weren’t prepared to pay him the $88 million the Jags did.
The Eagles did about as good as they could.
NJ Sports Betting – Eagles 2019 Odds:
Regular Season Win Total: Over 10 -140, Under 10 +125
Odds To Make The Playoffs: ‘Yes’ -200, ‘No’ +160
Odds To Win NFC East: -125
Odds To Win NFC: +600
Odds To Win The Super Bowl: +1200
The Eagles Will Win More Than 10 Games If…
Wentz stays healthy. He’s really the key to their season. With Foles out and new backup Nate Sudfeld now hurt, the Eagles simply can’t afford any issues with Wentz.
Not only does Wentz need to stay healthy, he has to look like the player who an MVP front-runner two seasons ago. Wentz was good last year but was not MVP-level like he was in 2017. His QBR dropped to 62.0 after clocking in at 78.5 in 2017.
Now if Wentz stays healthy and returns to the status of the elites, look out. This offense is about as loaded as it gets with a receiving corps that includes Jackson, AlShon Jeffery, Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert and Arcega-Whiteside. And if there were issues with the running game before, Howard, Sanders and Darren Sproles are around to iron things out.
This is the top team in the NFC East when Wentz is at his best. He’s the key to their season.
The Philadelphia Eagles Will Win Less Than 10 Games If…
The ground game isn’t improved and Wentz can’t carry the offense.
Wentz’s numbers weren’t bad last season but the offense – as a whole – just wasn’t crisp as they averaged just 20.8 points per game in their first eight contests. Wentz took a lot of sacks – 26 in those eight games, to be exact – so it wasn’t all his fault. The ground game was also terrible as the Eagles finished 28th in rushing yards.
The Eagles offensive line should be better this year, the team has done a lot to address the ground game (Howard, Sanders) but if this team doesn’t have balance on offense, they might not be much more than average.
What Are The Best Bets?
Wentz takes a lot of criticism for not looking like an MVP early on last season but the team’s first four losses – and five of the six under his watch – were by one score or less. Two of those losses were in overtime. This is a well-coached, well-managed team and I’m expecting them to learn from their shortcomings.
Wentz was coming off an injury last year and had less help on the offense. With what is arguably the best cast around him along with a steady defense on the other side of the ball, we should be looking at a season with double-digit wins.
In terms of the best bets here, I like the Philadelphia Eagles to win the NFC East and to make the playoffs.
The NFC East has two teams that are rebuilding in the New York Giants and Washington Redskins. Both drafted rookie quarterbacks in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
The Redskins could have a decent defense but the offense looks like will struggle, while the Giants could have a decent offense but the defense could struggle. At any rate, I don’t expect either of those teams to make a serious push for the top spot in the NFC East.
The Dallas Cowboys are a good team – especially on the defensive side of the ball – but I give the Eagles the edge in a number of categories. I trust Doug Pederson more than I do Jason Garrett, I trust Wentz more so than Dak Prescott, and the Eagles don’t have to worry about a disgruntled Ezekiel Elliott holding out.
Add it all up and I like the Eagles to win the NFC at -125. Along with that bet, I also like the Philadelphia Eagles at -200 to make the playoffs. They’re one of the six best teams in the NFC heading into the 2019 campaign.
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