We’re just two days away from Eagles football. The hype video is out, the blood is pumping, and the fans are ready to scream the fight song at the top of their lungs. So, what better time to predict the Eagles’ statistical leaders in 2019? Don’t forget to give us your predictions in the comments!
Passing yards –
Nate Sud Carson Wentz
Was there ever really any doubt here? Providing all goes to plan, Wentz should be set to eclipse his stunning 2017 numbers, where he passed for 3,296 yards. The face of the franchise has the most explosive supporting cast he’s had yet and all signs are pointing towards total dominance.
Rushing yards – Miles Sanders
This is a two-horse race, but what it essentially comes down to is whether or not Miles Sanders will inherit the bulk of carries before his rookie season is up. If we look at how the Bears deployed David Montgomery last night despite having Tarik Cohen in their backfield, or even the Ram’s use of C.J Anderson last year, it’s fair to say that the complexion of a backfield can change in a heartbeat.
If we then factor in that Jordan Howard was mentioned in Melvin Gordon trade talks, it seems as though the Eagles aren’t quite as comfortable with their backfield as the fans are.
Philly ranked 29th in the league in both rushes of 20+ yards with seven and rushes of 40+ yards with…zero. Sanders sprinkled in 322 yards after contact across 81 carries in 2018 for the Nittany Lions and he’s already flashed ‘Shady McCoy’ level elusiveness.
Jordan Howard has been nothing short of productive in every season he’s played in so far, and being in his contract year, you can see why he’d want to run even harder. But the Eagles are tied to Sanders and while he may well be eased in to begin with, I think he’ll eventually grow into some very big RB1 shoes.
Receiving yards – Zach Ertz
Again, this was tricky because the Eagles now have the best deep threat in the league, a dominant #1 receiver, and arguably the top tight end. But ultimately, over a 16-game span, comfort is going to be key, and Wentz has already proven to find plenty of solace in the hands of Zach Ertz, who caught 33% of all passes thrown to the Eagles’ top-6 receivers last year.
The idea of a 1,000-yard season from any player in this offense became so alien in 2017, with the Eagles adopting the selfless persona of the Golden State Warriors, that it makes Ertz’s record-setting 2018 campaign even more impressive.
Sure, he’s probably going to see less of the ball with D-Jax back in town and Alshon Jeffery likely pounding the table for more missiles thrown his way, but the presence of a lethal run-game and a legitimate deep-threat will only present more open space for Ertz to work into.
Offensive touchdowns – Alshon Jeffery
The Eagles want to shine down in the red zone and while Dallas Goedert and JJ Arcega-Whiteside both figure to play a huge role, make no mistake, Jeffery caught 9 touchdowns in 2017 and 6 last year. He’s going to be feeling the heat from recently-drafted Arcega-Whiteside who’s basically a Baby-Alshon, and will be thriving to make up for that brutal drop in the playoff loss to New Orleans, proving the world wrong for leaving him out of WR1 conversations. Jeffery is a safe pair of hands and a 50-50 specialist, don’t be surprised to see him lead the way in touchdowns this year.
Tackles – Malcolm Jenkins
The heartbeat of the Eagles defense should have no problem surpassing the 100-tackle mark this year after previously tying Bradham for the team lead with 97 last year. Jenkins didn’t receive the payday he deserved this offseason and could play with an extra chip on his shoulder, which is a terrifying thought. As the leader of the secondary, Jenkins could play a very prominent role in the box early on with the absence of Kamu Grugier-Hill.
Sacks/TFL/QB Hits – Fletcher Cox
As much as I’d love to see Timmy Jernigan rip through every offensive lineman like a hot knife through butter, I don’t think it will be enough to outshine the star of the show. Cox had a remarkable 2018 campaign and if it wasn’t for the existence of Aaron Donald, Cox would receive the highest of accolades and praise. He is working his way back from injury and may have a lighter workload early on, but will that really stop one of the most dominant linemen of a generation? I doubt it.
Passes defensed – Ronald Darby
My heart says Rasul Douglas, but my head says he won’t be on the field anywhere near as much as Darby, who totaled 12 last year. The Eagles’ CB1 is sticky in coverage and while I may not be the biggest fan of his re-signing due to the abundance of young talent the Eagles are committed to beyond this season, he’s an absolute stud in a contract year who should be at the top of his game…and if he can sustain that for a whole season without picking up an injury, there won’t be a contest. If he goes down, it’s #SulSZN.
Interceptions – Avonte Maddox
The Eagles struggled mightily in generating turnovers last year and while Sul led the way, it was the rampant rookie who surprised everyone with a pair of his own. Now the starting slot corner, I think there’s a good chance we see the Pitt product step up and continue to be a force at the point of the catch, plucking balls from the sky for fun.
Kick return yards – Sproles
For sentimental value, let’s just have one more year of electric Darren Sproles kick returns. If we don’t, it presumably makes the decision to bring him back an odd one given the running back structure.