There’s little doubt that the Eagles are in store for a successful season. The team is without any glaring weaknesses and is a virtual lock to win the NFC East.
In terms of talent, this is probably the richest, deepest team (on paper) team that the Eagles have had in years. Coming off a nine-win season last year, the Eagles, pioneered by general manager Howie Roseman, spent the offseason augmenting an already impressive roster.
Superstars Haason Reddick and A.J Brown were both brought in on long-term contracts this offseason.
Reddick is coming off back-to-back 11+ sack seasons and figures to be deployed all over the field on defense.
“Haas is a guy who can rush well, he can cover, he can move in space,” linebacker T.J. Edwards said after joint practice in Miami. “Having a guy like that, that you can kind of move around and put in different looks and different formations and how the O-line counts him and things like that.”
Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon figures to use Reddick as both a linebacker and edge rusher as he looks for creative ways to unleash him.
“Dude, Haason’s good. He’s good,” said rookie Jordan Davis, shaking his head. “And to be able to play [with] a guy like that, have him on the good guys, it’s great. He’s like a Swiss Army knife, he’s pretty much everywhere on the field.”
On the other side of the ball, A.J Brown continues to impress with his superb athleticism and wide catch radius.
Seemingly every practice, A.J Brown comes up with a highlight grab, including this insane one-handed snag:
A.J. Brown is ridiculous
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) August 24, 2022
His presence on the outside should help Jalen Hurts tremendously and Eagles fans should be excited about the potential of the duo this season.
The Eagles also added talented draftees Jordan Davis, Cameron Jurgens, and Nakobe Dean, all of which have shone throughout camp.
Jordan Davis and Cameron Jurgens have proven to be the people-movers they were advertised to be out of college while Dean is coming along well.
Given the depth of the team, none of the rookies will have to be All-Pro to be effective, but the early returns should excite Eagles fans and coaches alike.
Let’s get wild!
With so many positive vibes around camp, I figured it was time for a few Eagles-related hot takes. So, let’s look at my five shamelessly bold predictions for the upcoming Eagles season:
Jalen Hurts will score 40+ total touchdowns this season
All eyes have been on Jalen Hurts this offseason. As the Eagles gauge whether to hand him the keys to the franchise, the 24-year-old quarterback has done his part to earn their trust.
Hurts worked with a throwing specialist in California this spring and has looked much sharper to begin his third NFL season.
Despite having 19 NFL starts under his belt, Hurts is still less than 25 years old and is only scratching the surface of his massive potential.
When speaking of his young signal-caller earlier this summer, Eagles GM Howie Roseman said he has full confidence that the best is yet to come for Hurts.
“I think the first thing about Jalen is every year, and we’ve evaluated since he was a freshman at Alabama, he’s gotten better,” Roseman said on CBS Sports HQ. “And he’ll do whatever it takes to get better. And what we’ve seen this offseason is he’s gotten better. Now we got to show it in the games, but he’ll do whatever it takes to be a good player. We’re rooting for him. I mean, we want him to be the guy. And we also want to make sure that he has a chance to be successful.
We want to make sure he’s protected up front, that our offensive line is strong and that he has weapons, so we’re not sitting there and going like, ‘This isn’t fair to him.’ So hopefully we’ve done that, and I’m really excited for the opportunity that we have with him and our team this season.”
Last year, Hurts completed 61.3% of his passes for 3,144 yards and 16 touchdowns to nine interceptions. As a runner, Hurts added another 784 yards and 10 touchdowns, bringing his touchdown total to 26 in 2021.
This season, I expect Hurts to not only improve but to go full-blown nuclear.
With A.J Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Dallas Goedert as his primary weapons, mixed with his own rushing ability, I think 40 touchdowns is in reach for Hurts this year.
Dallas Goedert becomes a household name
Part of the reason I’m so confident in the ceiling of Jalen Hurts is fellow former second rounder Dallas Goedert.
Goedert, who is entering his first full season as the Eagles’ TE1, is primed to break out in 2022.
Last year, Goedert had 830 yards and 4 touchdowns on just 76 targets in 15 games played. He also set a new career-high in 20+ yard plays (14) and first down receptions (42).
Goedert did have a few frustrating drops along the way, but he proved to be a reliable receiving option for Hurts last year. Now, with the tight end job firmly in his grasp, I expect Goedert to be an X-Factor for the Eagles in 2022.
One area I expect him to improve is near the red zone. His touchdown total of four in 2021 is a bit low for a player of his caliber.
Goedert is a freak athlete at his size and has the potential to be a matchup nightmare for defenders.
It may be tough for him to get consistent targets with DeVonta Smith and A.J Brown needing their lion’s share, but I still believe a 1000 yard and 10 touchdown season is within reach for Goedert.
Eagles will have a top 5 pass defense
Return of the No Phly Zone?
For the better part of the last decade, the Eagles’ rushing defense has been the anchor of the unit. This year, though, I expect the passing defense to takeover games as well.
Last year, despite a historically bad start, the Eagles finished just outside of the top ten in fewest passing yards allowed.
With veteran cornerback James Bradberry now opposite Darius Slay, I expect the unit to become even more formidable.
It also helps that the Eagles schedule isn’t exactly laced with Hall of Fame signal-callers. In fact, the Eagles play some pretty subpar quarterback options this year.
Here’s a list of some of the uninspiring quarterbacks the Eagles are scheduled to face this year: Jared Goff, Kirk Cousins, Carson Wentz (twice), Trevor Lawrence, Mitch Trubisky, Davis Mills, Ryan Tannehill, Daniel Jones (twice), and Justin Fields.
The Eagles will also face Kyler Murray and the Cardinals without DeAndre Hopkins, who will still be serving a six-game PED-related suspension.
That’s over half the season where the Eagles will be facing a severely subpar passing offense.
With so many weapons to deploy, I expect the Eagles pass defense to soar in 2022.
Jason Kelce retires as an All-Pro
Arguably the greatest center of all-time, Jason Kelce is entering the final chapter in his storied NFL career.
Pro bowler, All-Pro, Super Bowl champion- there really is nothing Kelce has yet to achieve. With that being said, we all know that Kelce has no plans of going out on his back.
Look for the Eagles lifer to pack a punch in his (assumed) final NFL season.
Surrounded by studs across the offensive line, I think Kelce has one more All-Pro run in him.
Eagles clinch the No.1 Seed in the NFC
Okay so remember how earlier I mentioned how half of the Eagles schedule is against rather rubbish quarterbacks? Well, typically when that happens, it leads to a lot of wins, and I expect this outcome to be no different.
Even last year’s last season surge was due in part to playing the likes of Jake Fromm, Zach Wilson, Garrett Gilbert, Trevor Siemian, Cooper Rush, and a few other forgettable names.
If the Eagles can take care of the teams they are favored against, they could very well finish the season with 11+ wins, putting them squarely in contention to win a rather anemic NFC.
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire