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Philadelphia Eagles 2017: How I See It

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Someone once said: “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future.”

 

I start this piece off this way because it never ceases to amaze me how the number of prognosticators and prophets out there claim to know the future—as it relates to the Philadelphia Eagles.

 

It’s one thing to predict the number of wins you think (operative word) they will get to. But it’s an entirely other thing to go game-by-game checking off a W or L accordingly.

 

Now, maybe you have conducted this exercise yourself, and it’s fine if you have. It does make for good debate and fodder, especially amongst the local radio stations. Photo: BleedingGreenNation.com

 

But hey, I say why stop there? Let’s go deep...really deep.

 

Game 1 @ Washington:

With exactly 5:34 left on the clock in the 4th quarter and down 6, Eagles’ linebacker Jordan Hicks will intercept a deflected Kirk Cousins’ pass at the Birds’ 35-yard line. The ball will tip off Redskins’ wide receiver Terrelle Pryor’s left ring finger into the waiting hands of Hicks, who will initially bobble the ball right-to-left then left-to-right – or is that the other way around? – before securing the pigskin.

 

Hicks will leapfrog over Redskins’ center Spencer Long at the 33, before juking out RB Rob Kelley on his way to pay dirt.  And Eagles’ safety Rodney McLeod will be the first to congratulate him in the end zone by high-fiving his right hand with Hick’s left hand.

 

Eagles’ PK Caleb Sturgis converts the extra point, drawing the kick in from the right to the left to split the uprights.

 

Eagles win by 1.

 

Oh yeah, at this exact moment, the marine forecast for the coastal waters from Manasquan to Cape Henlopen will be S winds 5 to 10 kt, increasing to 10 to 15 kt late. The waves will be 2 feet or less, then around 3 feet late, with mainly a SE swell with a dominant period of 8 seconds. (Inside joke: It’s a Philly thing)

 

How 'bout this one?

 

Game 2 W@ Kansas City:

An ill-advised timeout by Chiefs’ head coach Andy Reid early in the 3rd Quarter comes back to haunt the Chiefs. The clock runs out with the Chiefs on the Eagles 5-yard line down 5.

 

Oh wait, that actually could happen.

 

Bad example.

 

Back To Life. Back To Reality.

 

You get the idea and my point. Hopefully. Feel free to do all the W & L exercises you want. I’ll stick to the more realistic type of forecasts.

 

Cutting right to the chase, I see this Eagles team winning 9, maybe 10 games. Tops. There are just too many unknowns – just as was the case last year. Granted, the unknowns are more on the defensive side of the ball (i.e. the secondary) – again.

 

If this sounds familiar, it’s because it is: Much like the Flyers and their seemingly endless quest for a legitimate NHL goalie, the Eagles are once again trying to find their holy grail: two starting NFL cornerbacks.

 

This year, it won’t be for a lack of job applicants, that’s for sure. According to their official roster, there are nine cornerbacks in training camp. And that doesn’t even include second round pick Sidney Jones, who is currently on the Active/Non-Football Injury List.

 

Surely, the Eagles can find a pair of starting corners, a nickel and some backups from this group, yes? Of course, as we learned last year, just because someone is a starter in the National Football League does not necessarily mean they can play the game. It simply means they’re better than nothing.

 

On the other side of the ball, there are less unknowns, at least on paper. There is no question the Eagles have two legitimate starting wide receivers in Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith. Add Jordan Matthews into the mix, and you have, again on paper only, a formidable group of receivers. And rest assured, I only use the word “formidable” in contrast – stark contrast, to last year’s receiving corps.  

 

There is no reason to think Carson Wentz will not improve this year. With the aforementioned improved wide receiving unit and one year under his belt as an NFL quarterback, I would be disappointed if he did not throw for at least 25 TDs and 4,500 yards. Yes, the offensive line needs to hold up, and yes, there needs to be, at the very least, the threat of a running game.

 

On the national front, here’s some predictions from NFL.com, ESPN, Fox Sports and The Sporting News, which includes former NFL Coach Brian Billick referring to the Eagles as “the dark horses” to win the NFC East.

 

Individual Predictions

 

Ok, so you know by now I have the Eagles going 9-7/10-6. That’s my overall team forecast.

 

Here’s some predictions on the individual level:

 

-LeGarrette Blount will rush for 6-8 TDs.

 

-Alshon Jeffery will have over 1,000 yards receiving and 8-10 TDs.

 

-Fletcher Cox will record at least 12 sacks, finally getting to double digits.

 

-Zach Ertz will break a tackle

 

Ok just making sure you’re still with me. I do see Ertz finally realizing the potential that has been there all along, and possibly even making the Pro Bowl.

 

-Nelson Agholor will have more TDs than drops. Talk about a bold prediction.

 

-Jason Kelce will lose his role as starting center, replaced by Isaac Seumalo with

 

-Chance Warmack taking Isaac Seumalo’s spot at LG.

 

-Rookie DE Derek Barnett will see his playing time increase as the year goes on, moving ahead of Vinny Curry on the depth chart.

 

That’s all I got. For now.

 

I’ll be back soon with another year of The Morning After!

 


 

Leave a comment or tweet me @steveolenski

 

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Contact Steve Olenski at solenski@philly2philly.com

 

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Photo: Bleeding Green Nation