5 bold predictions for the Philadelphia Eagles ahead of 2023 NFL season

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 NFL regular season is a little over a week away. With that in mind, it’s time to start jotting down some bold predictions. Here are 5 predictions that could well come true for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2023.

DeVonta Smith leads the NFL in receiving yards

DeVonta Smith has only spent two seasons in Philadelphia and is already one of the best decisions Howie Roseman has made. The Birds had been crying out for a star wideout ever since the losses of Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson. After years of anguish, the Slim Reaper broke the team’s rookie receiving record in 2021 before going on to record 1,196 yards in his second year while sharing targets with A.J Brown.

It’s hard to predict which of the two all-star wideouts will lead the charge in 2023, but I would happily put money on DeVonta Smith exceeding his previous receiving totals yet again. He’s enjoyed yet another dominant summer and, in my opinion, is one of the strongest route-runners in the entire league. Very few can create separation the way he does, let alone pair that ability with the intelligence to manipulate corners and safeties into giving him extra space.

DeVonta Smith eagles
PHILADELPHIA, PA – NOVEMBER 14: Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) celebrates his touchdown during the game between the Washington Commanders and the Philadelphia Eagles on November 14, 2022 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

DeVonta Smith is no stranger to accolades. He is, of course, a Heisman-winning wide receiver. My first bold prediction is that Smitty leads the NFL in receiving yards this year, truly asserting himself in the upper echelon of NFL wideouts.

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Jalen Hurts wins the 2023 MVP Award

Jalen Hurts shocked the world in 2022. His incredible leap in growth stunned just about everyone and helped spur the Eagles to a Super Bowl berth. Hurts was one of only 3 players to receive an MVP vote that year (Mahomes and Allen being the others) and then balled out in the Super Bowl in a way that shattered records.

So, what does that mean for 2023?

The Oklahoma product will be surrounded by the same offensive weapons as he was this year as well as the league’s most dominant offensive front. The backfield has been reinforced with the likes of D’Andre Swift and Rashaad Penny, and his longtime mentor and QB Coach, Brian Johnson, is now coordinating the offense. Johnson has known Hurts since he was a child, so the trust and rapport the two have is unmatched. There is no reason his growth shouldn’t continue.

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PHOENIX, AZ – FEBRUARY 12: Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) throws a pass while warming up for Super Bowl LVII between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles on February 12, 2023, at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ. (Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire)

The Eagles do have a much tougher schedule in 2023, and while Hurts was dominant last year, the easier slate of opponents was used as a counter-argument as to why he shouldn’t win the MVP. However, if Hurts can silence his doubters one more time by beating some of the best the NFL has to offer, winning a consecutive NFC East title, there would likely be no debate that he is the most valuable player in the NFL.

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Haason Reddick wins Defensive player of the year

Haason’s homecoming was nothing short of fairytale-worthy. The Camden native finished last season with 62 QB pressures, a QB pressure rate of 15.4%, 33 QB hurries, 16 sacks, and 3 turnovers off of QB pressures.

According to Next Gen Stats, Haason Reddick was the fourth “disruptor” out of the 10 candidates.

Reddick ranked second only to Nick Bosa in terms of sacks on the season, just in case you needed some extra convincing.

With Jonathan Gannon and his conservative scheme out of the picture, we now see Sean Desai take the reins. Desai is known for being a creative coordinator who loves using mismatches and versatility to generate pressure. This plays perfectly into the hands of one of the league’s most notorious pass-rushers.

Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick reacts following an NFL divisional round playoff football game against the New York Giants, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, in Philadelphia. The Eagles won 38-7. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

If Reddick could generate that much damage in Gannon’s scheme, imagine what he can do when he’s let off the leash…

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Sydney Brown becomes a key cog on defense

I have spent most of this offseason raving about Sydney Brown’s playmaking ability and how I think he could be primed to take on a ‘STAR’ role in this defense as a rookie. Training Camp and preseason have done nothing but make me want to double down on that view.

The Illinois graduate started 50 games during a five-year span at college, racking up 319 tackles, 10 picks, 26 pass breakups, and 10 tackles for loss. As the stats would suggest, Brown is a versatile player who spent a lot of time in the box at College, but his upside is much higher than that.

With Sean Desai’s creative flair being used to build the foundations of a new defense, I’m predicting that Sydney Brown will go on to register 2 picks, 5 PBU’s, and 40 tackles.

Eagles break the all-time sack record

The Philadelphia Eagles were a defensive monster last year. In spite of Jonathan Gannon’s flaws, the 2022 Eagles set a team record of 70 sacks. The scary thing is that the all-time record stands at 72, which was set by the Chicago Bears back in 1984.

The Eagles have only gotten stronger on the defensive line. Nolan Smith and Jalen Carter join the likes of Haason Reddick and Jordan Davis and Josh Sweat exclusively told us that he’s looking forward to playing in a more aggressive scheme.

If the front four was able to feast with Jonathan Gannon as coordinator, imagine how vicious they could be with someone who will play his star players to their strengths…

I predict that the Birds will record 74 sacks in 2023, breaking the all-time record once set by the Bears and one that has stood the test of time.

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AP Photo/Matt Rourke, FIle