5th Annual 32 in 32ish NFL Previews: Philadelphia Eagles

The next team up in our NFC East previews, part of our previews of all 32 NFL teams, is the Philadelphia Eagles, who won the division last season, going on to win Super Bowl LII.

Despite losing starting QB Carson Wentz late in the regular season last year, the Eagles managed to make it through the playoffs with QB Nick Foles and win the first Super Bowl title in franchise history, beating the Patriots in Super Bowl LII. They’ll look to defend their title with much of their championship team intact, along with the addition of WR Mike Wallace and TE Dallas Goedert, who the Eagles selected with their first-round pick in this year’s draft to essentially replace TE Brent Celek, who the Eagles released this offseason. They have also lost last year’s leading rusher, RB LeGarrette Blount.

The offense ranked seventh in the NFL with 5,852 yards and third with 457 points scored. Wentz started the team’s first 13 games in his second season in the league. He threw for 3,296 yards with 33 touchdowns and just seven interceptions before suffering ACL and LCL tears that ended his season early. Foles took over the starting job that point, appearing in seven games total in the regular season — including the three starts — and throwing for 537 yards and five touchdowns, with two interceptions. TE Zach Ertz hauled in 74 receptions in 14 games — 13 starts — to lead the team; those catches went for 824 yards and eight touchdowns. WR Nelson Agholor recording 62 catches for 768 yards and eight touchdowns, while WR Alshon Jeffery caught 57 passes for 789 yards and a team-high nine touchdowns. Wallace had 52 receptions for 748 yards and four scores in 15 games, including 14 starts, with the Ravens. After Blount, RB Corey Clement was the team’s second-leading rusher with 74 carries for 321 yards and four touchdowns. RB Jay Ajayi played in seven games for the Eagles after being traded there by the Dolphins. In those games, he totaled 70 rushes for 408 yards and a touchdown. The defense was fourth in the league in both yards and points allowed.

The Eagles’ title defense begins with the traditional Thursday night opener, with the Falcons coming to Philadelphia. After that, the Eagles visit the Buccaneers in Week 2 and return home to play the Colts in Week 3. A visit to the Titans follows in Week 4, and then the Eagles host the Vikings in a rematch of last season’s NFC Championship. The Eagles play their first divisional game in Week 6 when they go to New Jersey to face the Giants. They play the Panthers in Week 7, then head overseas to take on the Jaguars in London. After a Week 9 bye, the Eagles return stateside to host the Cowboys. In Week 11, they play at the Saints and then host the Giants in Week 12. Two more divisional games follow that, with the Redskins coming to Philadelphia in Week 13 and the Eagles visiting the Cowboys in Week 14. The Eagles head to Los Angeles to play the Rams in Week 15 before flying back across the country to host the Texans in Week 16. Their regular-season finale has them on the road to take on the Redskins in Week 17.

With less than two weeks to go before the Eagles play their first game of the regular season, there is still some question about whether Wentz will be ready to take the field in Week 1. If he’s not, Foles will continue to start until Wentz is able to come back and take over the starting job. But that’s not the only injury concern for the Eagles. Jeffery continues to recover from offseason rotator cuff surgery, which could cause him to miss the beginning of the season. It is possible he could start the season on the physically-unable-to-perform list, which would cause him to miss the first six weeks of the season. With those injury concerns and division rivals like the Giants and Cowboys expected to be better this season, I don’t think the Eagles will go 13-3 again this season. They’re still the best team in the division and should make the playoffs with 10 or 11 wins, but the Eagles will likely take a step backward from what they did during the regular season in 2017.

Source: http://www.philadelphiaeagles.com, http://www.pro-football-reference.com

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