Five bold Eagles predictions for the 2021 regular season

PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 12: Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Quez Watkins (16) celebrates his touchdown with Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) during the preseason game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers on August 12, 2021 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

We’re just two days away from the start of the regular season and Eagles fans are naturally excited to see how their new-look team performs. Here are five bold predictions for the upcoming season.

Jalen Hurts takes a big step

Perhaps the boldest prediction anyone can make when it comes to the Eagles right now is on how Jalen Hurts will fare. All signs are pointing towards a huge leap forward in his development and he has an offense filled with weapons to support that growth. But just how big will the jump be?

The big thing for me when it comes to Hurts is his ball protection. Can he avoid fumbling the rock (after 9 last year)? Will he be able to scan through his reads more confidently with a better offensive line in front of him? Will he be able to overcome accuracy setbacks?

To me, the positives outweigh the negatives here. We saw flashes of what Hurts can do last year and it was encouraging to know there were clear areas of his game that needed work. If he can refine them, he could become a breakout candidate in the making.

My first prediction is that Hurts will throw for 3,000 yards, rushing for 600, and scoring a total of 21 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions.

Milton Williams turns heads

I’m more excited to watch Williams than I am DeVonta Smith, and that’s no knock on the first-round pick. It’s just that Williams probably has the highest upside of any player on the defensive line.

As explosive as he is elusive, Williams has the versatility to play all across the defensive front, as we saw in preseason. His athletic traits are off the charts and his production at LA tech was just as mouth-watering. Knowing that Jonathan Gannon has already flaunted him at different spots, I think that trend is going to continue deep into the regular season, giving the Eagles a weapon that’s hard to nullify because of there being so many ways he can get to the quarterback.

I predict that Williams will end his rookie year with 4 sacks, 7 QB hits, 3 PD, 30 tackles, 2 FF, 4 TFL

A breakout from an unlikely candidate

Quez Watkins was the star of the summer in Philadelphia. The former sixth-round pick flashed some potential last year, but was hampered by injuries, a broken offense, and a heavy depth chart. He’ll now likely be the team’s starting slot receiver and make no mistake, will be a speed-demon to be reckoned with.

Watkins looked electric during preseason. He stood out in joint practices. He worked the Eagles secondary throughout camp. There’s no reason that won’t carry over into his second NFL season.

I’m predicting that Watkins will eclipse the numbers put up by Jalen Reagor last year, amassing 408 yards and 5 touchdowns.

Sack city

The Philadelphia Eagles somehow ranked third in sacks last year. It feels weird to say given how catastrophic the season was, but they were able to get consistent pressure to the quarterback from everyone on the depth chart. The scary part is that the depth has only improved this offseason and they’re bringing back all the familiar faces and then some.

They may not rank higher than third in the NFL this year, but I think they will surpass last year’s team total of 49, putting a much more aesthetically pleasing 50 on the board.

Did someone say playoffs?

The Eagles have a pretty tough schedule this season, make no mistake. Do they have a legitimate chance of clinching the NFC East? I’m not sure. Dak looked fantastic last night, Washington are stacked…and the Giants…okay forget the Giants.

Division hopes? Maybe. So long as they can salvage at least 3-4 wins from the opening 13 games, there’s a good chance that they’d be able to sneak into a newly implemented wildcard spot, or challenge for the division with a strong close of Sirianni can work through teething problems.

The Eagles have too much potential to let opportunities against sub-par teams like the Jets, the Broncos, and the Falcons, slip them by. If they can rally to a .500 record by the closing quarter, then playoffs are absolutely a possibility…and I have every faith the team can upset the odds once again. After all, that’s when they seem to shine brightest.

Photo Credit: Icon Sportswire