PSO: A Dark Horse Playoff Candidate Could Be…The Eagles?


Is this a little out there? Certainly.  Is it out of the realm of possibility? Absolutely not.  The Eagles were one of the NFL’s worst teams last year with a record of 4-11-1.  Former franchise quarterback Carson Wentz had a horrible year and was traded to Indianapolis.  The linebacker core was terrible.  There were no receivers to speak of.  The offensive line was crippled by injuries.  Have I convinced you yet?

One of the more obvious reasons that the Eagles might be a sleeper playoff team this year is that the NFC East is still a horrible division.  The Giants are pitiful, the Cowboys have an electric offense but almost no defense to speak of, the Washington Football Team is the exact opposite (great defense, iffy offense), which leaves Philadelphia.  The fact is it doesn’t take that many wins to take the division.  Last year Washington pulled it out with a losing record of 7-9.  Most of these teams have not had massive improvements, and it would be very easy to see someone capturing the NFC East with only nine wins or possibly less.

But do the Eagles have what it takes to even reach nine wins?  I believe they do.  What was a very average and injury riddled defense last year has healed up and added several valuable veterans.  Philly signed Anthony Harris, a former top safety out of the Vikings to fill a long standing hole in the secondary.  Brandon Graham is back after his first pro-bowl season.  Steven Nelson, a veteran corner out of Pittsburgh was also brought in to play alongside Darius Slay.  I am in no way saying that the Eagles have a top defense, but it should be enough to keep the Giants and Washington in check, and hopefully enough to slow down the Cowboys.  Some of the defensive foundation from that 2017 super bowl run is still there, and we may see the Eagles use it.

As for the offense, the broken lineup from last year seems to have been largely eradicated.  While we saw Jalen Hurts in a few starts last year, now we get to see what he can do as a franchise quarterback.  With him on the field last year the offense was noticeably better due to his dual-threat play style and eagerness to throw the long ball.  He has also said to have won over the locker room after a great offseason.  Reigning Heisman winner Devonta Smith was also drafted, giving Hurts a primary receiver right off the bat.  Miles Sanders is an underrated running back and is probably a top ten rusher if he can stay healthy this year.  Former pro-bowl linemen Lane Johnson, Jason Kelce, and Brandon Brooks are all back this year alongside surprise standout Jordan Mailata.

The x-factor of this whole thing is can the Eagles stay healthy? The Achilles heel for the Eagles since their superbowl run in 2017 has been a constant stream of injuries to key players.  But there is hope that new head coach Nick Sirianni can remedy this situation with his new coaching style that isn’t quite so hard on the players bodies, especially the veterans.

This all basically boils down to can Jalen Hurts be a franchise quarterback and can the offense stay healthy?  If they can, it’s not unreasonable to say we may see them in the playoffs.  If they don’t, then Philadelphia may be shopping for Jalen Hurts’ replacement in the top ten of the draft next year.