Which 4 teams will be the Eagles’ biggest roadblocks on their path to the Super Bowl?

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) runs the ball against the Detroit Lions in the first half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

We are a less than a month away from having football being played every week until the big game in February, Super Bowl LIX. Music to all NFL fans’ ears. The 2024 Eagles are certainly built to navigate another trip to the title game, but the NFC is expected to be very strong once again.

Here are the four NFC teams that could force the Eagles to swerve off that road en route to their second Lombardi Trophy:

San Francisco 49ers

Eagles nfl Super Bowl odds fletcher cox
Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (91) sacks San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Yes, this is the obvious choice. The Niners and Eagles have developed a little rivalry over the last two seasons. After the Eagles pummeled the Niners and Brock Purdy in the 2023 NFC Championship game 31-7 to move on to play in Super Bowl LVII, the Niners returned the favor in the regular season last season, drubbing the Birds 42-19 at Lincoln Financial Field which was the start of the historic collapse by the franchise.

Aside from the head-to-head battles over the last two seasons, San Fran has bolstered a resume that is second to none in the NFC since the Eagles won Super Bowl LII in 2018. The Niners have won three NFC West Division Titles, two NFC Championships while losing in both Super Bowls they played in to the dynasty of this decade in Kansas City. They are 8-4 in the playoffs over the last six seasons with most of their success starting in 2019.

The roster is just as strong. Believe in him or not, Brock Purdy can play in the NFL and he has the weapons around him to succeed. Christian McCaffrey, the best running back in the league, returns after posting another incredible season. In turn, he earned himself another contract extension, remaining the highest-paid running back in the league, resetting the record with his new $38 million dollar deal this offseason.

Sprinkle in other offensive weapons in Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and Brandon Aiyuk if the two parties agree to a new contract, that offense is intact from their runner-up season a year ago which could pose a threat to a younger and inexperienced Eagles secondary.

Lastly, the Niners defense continues to be a force in the league, holding teams to the fewest rushing yards per game (83.7) and third-fewest total yards per game (302.3) over the last two seasons. If this team needed any more motivation after losing two Super Bowls in the last five seasons, it’s ending the title drought for the organization which is extending to 30 years this season, winning their last Super Bowl in 1994.

At the time of writing, the Niners are currently tied with the Chiefs as the odds-on favorite to win the Super Bowl at +600 on both DraftKings and FanDuel.

Dallas Cowboys

Eagles josh sweat jalen hurts
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) passes over Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Josh Sweat (94) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Obviously. Just like the Niners, the Cowboys are one of biggest tests for the Eagles to make it to the Super Bowl and it’s because of the regular season implications, not potential postseason matchup. These two teams play twice a year like every division team, and it’s nearly as guaranteed as death and taxes they will split their regular season meetings, having split both games in four of the last five seasons.

Dallas could be in inadvertent roadblock to the Eagles if they force Philadelphia to a Wild Card spot which is a much tougher road than winning the division. The Cowboys and Eagles are expected to be the front runners once again for the NFC East Division this season, a division that hasn’t seen a repeat winner since the Eagles won four straight division titles from 2001-2004.

Since then, the Cowboys have won the most division titles with seven during that span, including last year, but they haven’t been much of a factor in the playoffs, posting a 2-5 record since 2016, failing to make it out of the divisional round.

On the field this year, it remains to be seen how Jerry Jones handles this roster, but he has to make some decisions soon. The Cowboys have yet to resign any of their big-name stars beyond 2024 in Dak Prescott, unhappy wide receiver CeeDee Lamb wants top wide-out money, deservingly so, while anchors on the offensive and defensive line Zack Martin and DeMarcus Lawrence have their contracts expiring at the end of this season. That is a huge nucleus for this team and it’s surprising the Cowboys haven’t resigned any of them or made any major moves in the offseason other than bringing back Ezekiel Elliot after Tony Pollard signed his first big contract with Tennessee to be their starting running back.

To the bliss of all Eagles’ fans, the Cowboys have that sour taste in their mouth after being embarrassed on their home turf by the Packers in a 48-32 loss which was actually a lot more lopsided than the score indicates. Shockingly, Mike McCarthy remained as the head coach after that loss and enters this season with perhaps less runway than most established head coaches.

However, they still have the talent and if they can put it all together for one season, Dallas has enough pieces to make a push for its first Super Bowl since 1995.

Dallas is behind the Eagles in terms of odds to win the Super Bowl at +1700 on DraftKings and +1600 on FanDuel.

Green Bay Packers

Saints vs. Chargers vs Packers vs giants
Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love passes during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

The Week 1 season opener in Brazil is not only kicking off the season for both teams, but could be a very, and more than likely, way too early playoff preview between the Packers and Eagles. The Packers put the league on notice with their improbable run in the playoffs last season after starting the season off 3-6 after their first nine games. However, they got healthy and hot at the right time, snuck into the playoffs and made a statement. The Packers steamrolled Dallas on the road in their first playoff game without Aaron Rodgers as the QB and almost pulled off an epic comeback against the Niners in the divisional round.

If you’re looking for a dark horse to win the Super Bowl, Green Bay might be your choice, currently listed at +1900 on both DraftKings and FanDuel.

Heading into 2024, the team is fueled by a potent passing attack led by quarterback Jordan Love, perhaps the most underrated receiving corps with Christian Watson leading the way and an aggressive head coach in Matt LaFleur. Green Bay can make some serious noise this year.

They did lose star running back Aaron Jones who signed a deal to division rival Minnesota, but they replaced him with former Raiders stud back, Josh Jacobs, who led the league in rushing in 2022 with a career-best 1,653 yards and is nearly four years younger than the former mainstay back in Jones. The Packers are hoping he returns to that form after a down year last year in Las Vegas.

Green Bay may need to rely on airing it out and winning shootout style games this year as the defense ranked in the lower half of the league in yards per game (22nd) and 13th in points allowed per game (21.4) a season ago.

Don’t be surprised if they give the Eagles and the rest of the NFL a tough time with the explosive youth they have on this roster.

Detroit Lions

Buccaneers vs. Lions nfl 49ers vs lions
Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff walks off the field after an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Los Angeles Rams, Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Another surprise from the NFC North, the Lions have tasted success for the first time in quite a while thanks to the leadership of fiery head coach Dan Campbell. Detroit claimed its first-ever NFC North Division title last season and now there’s a bar set for the team and fans in the Motor City after reaching the NFC Championship game, almost taking down the Niners in a 34-31 loss after building a 17-point lead.

Tied for the second-best regular season record at 12-5 with the above-mentioned Cowboys and Niners, Detroit is similar to the Packers in terms of their roster construction.

They have young talent up and down the depth chart, highlighted by wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown who signed 4-year, $120-million dollar extension, second-year running back Jahmyr Gibbs looks to build off his impressive rookie campaign while Jameson Williams showed flashes of his speed and athleticism in the second half of the season as a deep threat down field. Defensively, they are anchored by defensive end Aidan Hutchison and Alex Anzalone at linebacker who is the defensive play-caller and the front office used the team’s first and second round picks to improve the secondary with cornerbacks Terrion Arnold and Ennis Rakestraw Jr. who are looking to provide long-term depth and success to a unit that struggled last year in defending the pass.

This is a Lions team that plays passionately for a head coach that matches that passion with intensity. If it wasn’t for Campbell’s pride in his aggressiveness in last year’s NFC Title game, the young Lions would be the hunted ones as the defending NFC champs. However, they have the experience and players to make another exciting run this season.

The Lions are currently ahead of the Eagles as the second-favorite to win the Super Bowl among the NFC teams, only behind San Francisco at the time of writing at +1200 on DraftKings and +1300 on FanDuel.

It won’t be easy for the Eagles to return to the Super Bowl in 2024 and oddsmakers tend to agree, having them behind San Francisco and Detroit in the NFC to win it all. However, perhaps the early exit in the playoffs last year, newly acquired talent and a fresh start after the debacle to close out last year can position them well once the season gets underway.

AP Photo/Duane Burleson