5 reasons why the Eagles will repeat as NFC East Champions

Eagles
FILE – Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts looks to pass against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half of the NFC Championship NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2023, in Philadelphia. Jalen Hurts is set to sign one of the richest deals in NFL history, agreeing to a five-year, $255 million extension with the Philadelphia Eagles, including $179.3 million guaranteed, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press. The Eagles announced on Monday, April 17, “QB1 is here to stay,” but terms were not yet announced, according to the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal was not yet final. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, FIle)

The Philadelphia Eagles are seen as early favorites to be the first NFC East franchise to repeat as division champions since 2003-04. That doesn’t mean things will be easy for the defending conference champions though.

Owning the toughest schedule in football coupled with their rivals getting better means that there will be plenty of adversity that the 2023 Eagles will need to overcome. Nevertheless, there are still plenty of reasons to think why Philadelphia will continue to be the most dominant team in the NFC once again for a second straight year. 

Here are five reasons why the team will repeat as division champions to start.

Jalen Hurts

Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) throws a pass as New York Giants linebacker Jihad Ward (55) tries to rush in on him during the first half of an NFL divisional round playoff football game, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The chief reason why the Eagles should be expected to win the NFC East again is because they have the conference’s best quarterback. 

Hurts is coming off a career year in 2022 and looks to be healthy coming into a very important season in 2023. It’s one of the big reasons why the Carson Wentz era failed so quickly – he wasn’t healthy coming off his MVP-caliber season. 

Philadelphia’s newest highest-paid player is though and as long as he continues his career trajectory, the Eagles should be a force for years to come. 

Coaching Simplicity

Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles’ Nick Sirianni shouts during the first half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Is Nick Sirianni a better coach than Mike McCarthy and Brian Daboll? Is Sean Desai better than Wink Martindale and Dan Quinn. 

In a way, neither question matters. Part of what makes Sirianni’s Eagles so good is the fact that he has no problem making simple calls. He rarely over-coaches a game and that allows the team to play within themselves. Philadelphia’s push to run quarterback sneaks throughout each game isn’t just about having the right team in place – it’s about finding the easiest way to gain a single yard and moving the chains.

There’s no better play for that than the quarterback sneak.

Daboll, McCarthy, and a plethora of other coaches have struggled with that same principle. Take last year’s divisional round for example. McCarthy overcoached his Cowboys and lost a playoff game they should have won. Daboll’s decision to go for it on 4th and 8 early in the first quarter and down by seven was the Giants’ nail in the coffin. 

So long as Sirianni continues to lead his team in the simple approach he has had, the Eagles should be perfectly fine. 

Downfall of Division

Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) is tackled by New York Giants safety Tony Jefferson (36) after making ac a catch during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Dallas has won 12 games in back-to-back years, the Giants won a playoff game for the first time in over a decade and the Commanders have a new owner. 

The NFC East is back baby…or are they? 

Washington has plenty of questions at quarterback with Sam Howell at the helm and lacks competency along the offensive line. Second-year coaches who win a playoff game their first year usually have a slump in year two as well. Daboll’s Giants may be greatly different than in years past, but a tough schedule and luck turns may alter their overall seasons. Meanwhile, the Cowboys are still the Eagles’ chief rival for a division crown, but there are plenty of underwater issues the team will need to figure out. 

Two straight 12-win seasons could lead to a bit of a letdown for Dallas considering Mike McCarthy wants to put a re-emphasis on running the football. Brandin Cooks and Stephon Gilmore are strong additions, but a letdown season isn’t out of the realm of possibility in Big D. 

Health

Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) and teammates warm up during practice at the NFL football teams training facility in Philadelphia, Thursday, June 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Luck plays a part in every NFL season. Philadelphia has been very fortunate over the last two years that they haven’t had terrible injuries ravage their season. 

It may not be just luck though. Sirianni’s approach to practice has changed the Eagles’ fortune in terms of health and has kept the team fresh over the last couple of seasons. Teams like Washington and New York suffer key injuries early for those same reasons and it’s a big reason why the Eagles should be extremely confident going into 2023. 

Youthful Enthusiasm

Eagles
Newly drafted Philadelphia Eagles’ Nolan Smith, right, and Jalen Carter speak during a news conference at the NFL football team’s training facility, Friday, April 28, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

For a team that lost so many good players on both sides of the ball, general manager Howie Roseman did an incredible job of getting younger and more athletic. 

Nakobe Dean, DeAndre Swift, Jalen Carter, Terrell Edmunds, and Cam Jurgens are all in line to provide meaningful snaps at half the cost for the Eagles and could be exactly what the team needs going into 2023. 

Most of these players (outside of Swift) also come in as consistently healthy players. Whenever the Eagles have had tough years, it usually stems from them not having enough competent bodies at their disposal – it shouldn’t be the case heading into the new season this year.

Any way you want to look at it, the Eagles should be back to NFC East supremacy in 2023.

AP Photo/Matt Rourke, FIle