With the highly anticipated Eagles season opener just hours away, emotions amongst Philly faithfuls has risen to levels previously believed to be impossible, and the hype surrounding the Birds is REAL. And why not? They are the reigning Super Bowl champions after all. After a season in which just about every conceivable achievement was met and lifelong dreams were accomplished, it may seem difficult to predict anything unexpected happening this season. I mean, the Eagles couldn’t possibly follow up their first Super Bowl capturing season with an even better one, right?
Fear not, as I am here to cast out any doubt of this season lacking the excitement and dominance the team possessed last season. Back for the third time in as many years, here are five SHAMELESSLY bold predictions for the 2018 Eagles season:
1. The Eagles set a new record for TDs scored in a single season
Currently held by the 2007 Patriots, the current record for most touchdowns scored in a season stands at 75. This may seem like a large figure, but it’s **only** roughly 5 touchdowns a game- 4.75 to be exact. For the sake of comparison, the Eagles averaged 3.3 touchdowns per game last regular season, and that includes the Week 16 Christmas night stinker vs the Raiders and the Week 17 vacation game against the Cowboys when Pederson rested the starters in preparation for a Super Bowl run. The Eagles were averaging 3.6 touchdowns per game leading up to the final two games of the regular season- roughly one touchdown per game shy of what they’d need to break the NFL record.
Considering the fact they added elite deep threat Mike Wallace and rookie phenom and redzone terror Dallas Goedert this offseason, it’s easy to envision a few more scores for the Birds this year. Furthermore, the Eagles also face quite a few porous defenses this year that they should be able to exploit (looking at you Colts, Bucs, and Titans). The 2017 Eagles broke the Patriots spirits and took the Lombardi out of New England last season, so it’s only right that the 2018 Eagles break New England’s record in pursuit of another Lombardi this season.
2. All aboard!
In eight regular season games with the Eagles last season, Jay Ajayi averaged 5.8 per carry(!) and 58 rushing yards per game. While his YPC dipped a bit in the playoffs (4.4), his YPG actually increased (61 YPG). Ajayi was an incredibly efficient runner for the Birds last season and I expect Pederson to unleash him this season. By projecting Ajayi for 250 rushing attempts with his YPC average since being traded to Philly (5.1), you get a 1,275 yard season for the London native. Ajayi should also see ample
opportunity around the goal line in the Eagles prolific offense, so book me down for a 1200+ yard and 8+ touchdown season for the Jay Train.
3. No Phly Zone
Following a season in which they allowed the fourth-fewest total yards and fewest rushing yards in the entire NFL, the Eagles bolstered their defense even further by adding Pro Bowl talents Michael Bennett and Haloti Ngata to their already fearsome defensive line. The team is also set to have the highly-touted cornerback Sidney Jones manning the slot this year. My bold prediction for the Eagles defense this season is that they don’t allow a single opponent to score more than 21 points in the regular season. My sincerest condolences to the offensive coordinators that have to face the Eagles defense this season.
4. Wentz Sets the NFL on Fire….Again
Carson Wentz- known football junkie who once watched film while on a date in college- has to be itching to get back on the field after having to watch the Eagles’ Super Bowl victory from the sidelines last season. The former 2nd overall pick torched NFL defenses in his sophomore season to the tune of 33 touchdowns in just 13 games. It seemed like he was playing Madden at times with just how effortlessly he dominated his competition in 2017. It’s unclear how much time Wentz will miss this season as he recovers from a gruesome ACL tear, but upon his return, I predict that he throws for at least three scores a game. He was wrongfully snubbed of the MVP award in 2017 because he couldn’t finish the season, but the league won’t be as lucky this year. Prepare yourselves, NFL. #11 is coming.
My final- and perhaps favorite so far this series- bold prediction is actually a rather simple one. The Eagles will repeat as Super Bowl champions. It doesn’t matter who comes out of the AFC. It doesn’t matter that the Rams spent a fortune on acquiring big-name players this offseason. And frankly, it doesn’t matter that future first-ballot Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers is set to return this season. The Eagles are the most talented and deepest roster in the league and are led by one of best coaches the game has to offer. The Birds have shown zero signs of being complacent, as evidenced by the players requesting the Super Bowl sign be taken down in the locker room so that they can focus on being great this season, as opposed to thinking things will fall in their favor because of last season’s success. The only team that could stop the Eagles are themselves, but they still feel they have much to prove, and if there is one thing we learned about them in 2017, it’s that they do not take no for an answer.
As Alshon Jeffery told the locker room a few days ago: “Our season starts with Atlanta, let’s make it end in Atlanta.”
Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports