The Superbowl LII Champions, Philadelphia Eagles, took home the Lombardi trophy in a dominate performance against the New England Patriots without their number one QB. Carson Wentz said he will be ready week one after tearing his ACL late last season. Wentz may easily be the biggest question mark outside of Andrew Luck and Aaron Rodgers in all of the NFL story lines.
NFC EAST DIVISION WINNERS: -165 (Bovada)
NFC CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS: +500 (Bovada)
SUPER BOWL 53 CHAMPIONS: +900 (Bovada)
Team Win Total: O/U 10.5 (Westgate)
Week 1 vs. Atlanta (+4) Week 9 BYE WEEK
Week 2 @ Tampa Bay (-3) Week 10 vs. Dallas (-5.5)
Week 3 vs. Indianapolis (-10) Week 11 @ New Orleans (+2)
Week 4 @ Tennessee (-1.5) Week 12 vs. New York (Giants) (-8.5)
Week 5 vs. Minnesota (-3.5) Week 13 vs. Washington (-7.5)
Week 6 @ New York (Giants) (-3) Week 14 @ Dallas (PK)
Week 7 vs. Carolina (-6) Week 15 @ Los Angeles (Rams) (+1)
Week 8 @ Jacksonville (PK) Week 16 vs. Houston (-5.5)
Week 17 @ Washington (N/A)
Favored in week one (-4) the schedule doesn’t slow down. The Eagles wont play back-to-back games at home until week 12-13. However, they ranked 19th in 2017 opponents’ combined win percentage (.492). Week one will give the reigning champions a solid test to start the year against the Falcons. Week 5 is a rematch of last year’s NFC Championship game. Week 8 will be a great test on the road going into the bye week against the Jaguars. Week 11 could potentially be another playoff match up in New Orleans. Week 14 in Dallas, may be for the division lead.
Key Team Additions and Subtractions
Additions – DE Michael Bennett, DT Haloti Hgata, WR Mike Wallace, WR Markus Wheaton
Subtractions – TE Trey Burton, DT Beau Allen, TE Brent Celek, WR Torrey Smith, LaGarrette Blount, CB Patrick Robinson
Draft – TE Dallas Goedert, CB Avonte Maddox, EDGE Josh Sweat, OT Matt Pryor, OT Jordan Mailata
Philly ranked top ten in both yards per game(365.9) and points per game(28.6). Doug Pederson combines an explosive yet simple college game plan to his playbook. The group will be lead by Carson Wentz who threw for the second most touchdowns (33) in 2017 despite missing 2 full games. If his injury is nagging, Nick Foles who outplayed Tom Brady in the Superbowl is arguably the best back up in the league to handle the position.
The rush that is well balanced by Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement, Wendell Smallwood and Darren Sporles will return after amassing the third most yards in the NFL (2115). A full season of Jay Ajayi behind a stout line should allow him to fill into Blount’s role with ease.
Zach Ertz, Alshon Jeffery, Mike Wallace, Nelson Agholor, and draftee Dallas Goedert will give this team plenty of options. Leading the league in NFL recieving touchdowns (38), this team could very likely do that again. Ertz and Goedert give Wentz two huge options in the middle of the field and the red zone. Jeffery is a tall receiver with a great vertical making him a match up nightmare. While Agholor and Wallace can streak across and down the field to give Wentz space.
The offensive line should again be a strength for the Eagles. Jason Peters is coming off a torn ligament in his knee but that hasn’t stopped him before. The rest of the group returns minus the backup left tackle. Jason Kelce should continue to be a force on the line along side standouts in Brandon Brooks and Lane Johnson.
The Eagles were in the top five in total defensive takeaway (31). They will be losing Robinson who lead the team in interceptions but should have the role replaced by Sidney Jones or Ronald Darby. Malcom Jenkins also solidifies the secondary with his veteran presence and defensive skill set.
The linebacking core lost Mychal Kendricks the second leading tackler but return their leader Nigel Bradham. This could be the biggest weakness of the Eagles this season. They may struggle to defend against teams using two tight end sets.
The defensive line will be lined with veterans including Derek Barnett, Michael Bennett, Chris Long, and Fletcher Cox. Draftee Josh Sweat may be a sneaky late round pick and end up making some big plays. They should be able to get after the opposing teams quarterback quickly.
Jake Elliot was a trust worthy kicker for Pederson to turn to. He hit a 61 yard field goal and only missed three extra points attempts. The Eagles only allowed 29 total punt return attempts with a total of 259 yards allowed but they do fall in the middle of the pack in both categories.
Repeating a championship in any sport is tough. With the rest of the NFC looking strong, the Eagles will have a tough shot at lifting the trophy again. The season will most likely hinge on the health of Wentz since the rest of the team is relatively compete. Their division should be competitive with the Giants improving from last year.
NFC EAST -165
Of all the plays, the NFC East Title is the only safe bet.
Based on the way the schedule lines up 10.5 wins is right on the number. The rest of the NFC closed the gap in the off season. With some tough road games and constant travel the entire year, stay away from the win total. Last year’s win total was misleading since they only played three playoff teams, which may lead to a regression. They should easily win the division which a Superbowl future is something to hedge against, however the odds aren’t near the same as other title contenders.
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