PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Despite growing up in Philadelphia and being a die-hard Eagles fan, I evaluate the Eagles—and all Philadelphia sports teams for that matter—with an unbiased eye. After all, I work at 94WIP, negativity is in my blood.
Having said all that, I’m extremely high on the Birds this season. I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited for a NFL season in my life. My age, my job, Chip Kelly, Nick Foles, Darren Sproles, Jordan Matthews, the horrid Phillies, the rebuilding Sixers, and the pedestrian Flyers all play key roles in my unique eagerness for this upcoming season of Eagles football.
Here are my five bold predictions for the 2014-15 Philadelphia Eagles.
5. Seven Eagles will have 40+ receptions, zero will have 80 receptions
Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper, Jordan Matthews, Brent Celek, Zach Ertz, LeSean McCoy, and Darren Sproles will all have over 40 catches this season. Josh Huff might even be close as well. Last season the Eagles had six players with over 30 catches, five players with over 35, and one player (he-who-shall-not-named) with 82. It will be even more dispersed in 2014, which doesn’t bode well for fantasy footballers, but will be incredibly strenuous for opposing defenses in real football.
4. Nick Foles will have at least 30 touchdowns and no more than 10 interceptions
Why not? He had 27 touchdowns and two interceptions in 13 starts last season and heads into 2014 as the unquestioned starter for the first time in his young career. Confidence is important in sports and now Foles knows he’s the man. With weapons like McCoy and Sproles that can go the distance any time they touch the ball, Foles’ numbers will be glorious.
3. Nolan Carroll will play more snaps than Bradley Fletcher
Right now, at least according to the first released depth chart (that doesn’t mean much), Nolan Carroll is a second-string CB behind Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher. Carroll, who is also listed as the Eagles first kickoff return man, has been one of the most impressive Eagles during training camp. Carroll is just a tad bit younger, taller, bigger, and faster than Fletcher.
Carroll: 27-years-old, 6’1″, 205-pounds, 4.43 40-yard dash
Fletcher: 28-years-old, 6’0″, 200-pounds, 4.44 40-yard dash
Am I splitting hairs? Maybe. But I needed a quantitative argument for why Carroll takes Fletcher’s reps. It’s really just a hunch.
2. Mychal Kendricks will lead the Eagles in sacks
This is the year the 23-year-old linebacker gets unleashed. After one sack, 75 tackles, and zero forced turnovers in 15 games as a rookie, Kendricks compiled four sacks, 106 tackles, three interceptions, and two forced fumbles in the same number of games played last year.
In an interview on 94WIP, Kendricks talked about the wide-nine defense he played in during his rookie season “I’m not making any excuses, but that’s a very large area to cover. We’re thankful for the defense we have now.” He also talked about how much he loves rushing the quarterback, something I expect Billy Davis to let a more comfortable talented third-year player do.
Kendricks will be unleashed in 2014.
1. The Eagles will win at least one playoff game, compete for a Super Bowl.
I’ve got the Eagles going 11-5 this season, winning their second straight division title in as many years under Kelly. In the NFL, if you make the tournament, you have a shot. A ton of playoff games are decided by the bounce of ball, a last-second field-goal, or a ridiculous catch. So why not the Eagles? Why not this year?
I think the Eagles earn themselves a home playoff game again this year, but this time they win it. And once they get into the final eight, who the heck knows what can happen.
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