After missing the playoffs last season, head coach Chip Kelly decided to change things u on the team, trading QB Nick Foles to the Rams in exchange for QB Sam Bradford and sending RB LeSean McCoy to the Bills in exchange for LB Kiko Alonso. To fill the void left by the McCoy trade, the Eagles signed former Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray to a long-term contract in free agency.
Bradford missed the entire 2014 regular season with an injury, a problem which has plagued him throughout his professional career. In his most recent NFL action in 2013, he played in seven games, throwing for 1,687 yards and 14 touchdowns with four interceptions. Backup QB Mark Sanchez, who is likely to see some action with Bradford’s injury history, started eight games for the Eagles last season, throwing for 2,418 yards and 14 touchdowns with 11 interceptions. With the Cowboys in 2014, Murray ran for a career high 1,845 yards and 13 touchdowns behind a strong offensive line in Dallas. Last year’s leading receiver, WR Jeremy Maclin, is also gone, leaving last year’s No. 2 WR Jordan Matthews atop the depth chart; last season, Matthews had 67 receptions for 872 yards and eight touchdowns in his rookie season. The defense ranked 23rd in the league last season.
With all of the changes to the offense this offseason, it’s hard to know what to expect from the Eagles. Bradford and Sanchez have each had success at times in the league, though Bradford isn’t always able to stay healthy enough to show off his skills. The Eagles also have QB Tim Tebow in camp; he could be used in specialized situations if he makes the final roster heading into the season. The loss of Maclin leaves a hole in the receiving core that Matthews will look to fill. With a year of NFL experience, he could move up to another level in his game heading into the 2015 season. The Eagles also have WR Riley Cooper and rookie WR Nelson Agholor — a first-round draft pick — at the position, along with veteran WR Miles Austin, who was signed to a one-year deal in the offseason. The Eagles are hoping Alonso, who didn’t play last season, can help improve the defense; Alonso had four interceptions and two sacks in his rookie season back in 2013.
The Eagles begin their season with a Monday night road game at the Falcons, then they host the Cowboys in Week 2. They have a Thanksgiving Day game at the Lions in Week 12 before heading to Foxboro to take on the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots in Week 13. Two divisional battles await the Eagles in Weeks 16 and 17 to end the season; the first is a home game against the Redskins, then they end their season on the road at the Giants. The Eagles don’t have an overly difficult schedule, and I think they’re good enough to compete with the Cowboys for the division title, though I think the Cowboys will win it. I think they’ll win 11 or 12 games and may get a Wild Card.