PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 2022 WIN PREDICTION
To say the Philadelphia Eagles came out of left field to land a postseason spot would be an understatement in 2021. Philly dumped Super Bowl winning head coach Doug Pederson, not because of his coaching ability, but because he just couldn’t get along with ownership anymore. The conflict with Carson Wentz had kind of poisoned the well and the Eagles shipped the former first round QB out of town too, to the Indianapolis Colts.
They still had a QB they liked, 2021 second round selection Jalen Hurts and they brought in a head coach from the same Pederson/Andy Reid coaching tree, adding Nick Sirianni from that same Colts team with which they’d cut the QB trade.
Still, no one really knew what to expect and while there were plenty of holdovers from the 2018 Super Bowl Champions, there was the stink of rebuild around the team. It didn’t help that they opened the year 2-5, with every loss against a legit contender. The Eagles seemed outclassed and that didn’t change when they dominated the Detroit Lions, 44-6 on Halloween, but lost 27-24 to the Los Angeles Chargers the very next week.
They did win two in a row over the Denver Broncos and New Orleans Saints, but a horrible loss to the New York Giants put a stink on the team, even with a 33-18 beat down of the New York Jets before the bye. With four games to go in the season, Philadelphia was under .500 at 6-7.
But, hey, that NFC East schedule showed up in a big way. The Eagles won three in a row, two over the Washington Commanders and a revenge game against the Giants that landed them an NFC Wild Card spot with a game to go. With more to play for and no seeding to change, Philly rested its starters and had its head beat in by the Cowboys in the Week 18 finale, 51-26.
Giving their key players the week off didn’t help the Eagles in the playoffs as Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers sent them packing, 31-15, in the Wild Card round.
Hurts completed 61.3 percent of his passes for 3,144 yards, 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He led the team in rushing with 784 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns. Miles Sanders finished with 754 yards and no rushing touchdowns. Rookie DeVonta Smith caught 64 passes for 916 yards and five touchdowns to lead the team. Tight end Dallas Goedert hauled in 56 balls for 830 yards and four scores.
The defense wrapped the season No. 18 in points allowed and No. 10 in yardage allowed. Javon Hargrave and Josh Sweat tied for the team lead in sacks, recording 7.5 apiece.
Last season: 9-8
2022 NFL Draft: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia (Round 1), Cam Jurgens, Center, Nebraska (Round 2), Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia (Round 3), Kyron Johnson, LB, Kansas (Round 6), Grant Calcaterra, TE, SMU (Round 6)
2022 Additions: AJ Brown (trade), CJ Gardner-Johnson (trade), Haason Reddick, Edge (free agent), James Bradberry, CB (free agent), Kyzir White, OLB (free agent), Zach Pascal, WR (free agent), Jaquiski Tartt, FS (free agent), Jaeden Graham, TE (free agent)
QB: Jalen Hurts
RB: Miles Sanders
WR: AJ Brown
WR: DeVonta Smith
WR: Quez Watkins
TE: Dallas Goedert
LT: Jordan Mailata
LG: Landon Dickerson
C: Jason Kelce
RG: Isaac Seumalo
RT: Lane Johnson
LDE: Brandon Graham
LDT: Fletcher Cox
RDT: Javon Hargrave
RDE: Josh Sweat
WLB: Kyzir White
MLB: TJ Edwards
SLB: Haason Reddick
CB: Darius Slay
CB: James Bradberry
SS: Marcu Epps
FS: CJ Gardner-Johnson
PK: Jake Elliott
P: Arryn Siposs
PR: Jalen Reagor
KR: Jalen Reagor
Of all the Draft Day trades this past April, and there were many, no one made out like a bandit like the Eagles. Lifting AJ Brown from the Tennessee Titans for the price of a first rounder and whatever crumbs they had to toss in there was almost unfair. It shows exactly everything that’s wrong with the Titans as an organization and everything that’s right about Philly.
They weren’t done. Literally, the day before I penned this preview, they worked a trade with the New Orleans Saints for CJ Gardner-Johnson, turning what was already a solid roster to a loaded one. There’s still a considerable distance between the Eagles and the NFC’s two best teams — the Los Angeles Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but they have closed the gap some.
With this squad of players, they have been handed one of the easiest schedules in professional football. They play eight games against teams that finished with a winning record last season and five against franchises that made the playoffs. Two of those are division match-ups with the Cowboys.
Going through the weekly schedule, I can see Philadelphia rolling through the opening section of their datebook. They do have three tough-ish games in their first six, but they host the Minnesota Vikings and Cowboys and play at the Arizona Cardinals, a team that I not only think will be down, but one that is notoriously hospitable to squads with winning records when they roll into State Farm Stadium. I can easily see the Eagles going into their bye 6-0.
It doesn’t really get tough until the final stretch of the season. I think the Indianapolis Colts will take them down in Indy on No. 20 and they’ll probably lose to the Green Bay Packers at home the next week, but they can get right against the Titans the very next week (and don’t be shocked to see Brown go off in that game. Play your Daily Fantasy roster accordingly). Then it’s the New York Giants, Chicago Bears before probably a loss at the Cowboys (I’m predicting a split) and maybe some real trouble when they host the New Orleans Saints.
They finish up against the Giants at home and how seriously they take that game will all depend on what they’re playing for. If they’ve got the NFC East sewn up, they’ll rest starters. If not, it’ll be an old school beat down in Week 18.
Either way, I like the Eagles a lot this year and think they’ll beat the over.
Final record prediction: 11-6
Follow Adam Greene on Twitter @TheFirstMan.