Interesting stats and fun facts heading into the 2019 season
The Philadelphia Eagles are still Flying high following the 2017 Super Bowl, despite a disappointing exit in New Orleans in last year’s divisional round. Following the miracle run with backup quarterback Nick Foles at the helm, the Eagles and their injury woes were simply too much for them to overcome in 2018.
Though the season (9-7) was certainly a letdown, the 3-0 push to close out the season and the upset of the Bears at Soldier Field on Wildcard weekend was a great way for them to gain momentum heading into 2019. Pro Football Focus (PFF) had some very interesting rankings following the 2018 season. Let’s go through some and I’ll explain what it means for the team in 2019.
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The Eagles have the #1 ranked O-Line going into 2019
According to PFF, the Eagles edged out the Cowboys for the top Offensive line unit for this upcoming season. If the Eagles are hoping to keep Carson Wentz behind center for an entire season, the success of this O-line is critical. The Eagles drafted Andre Dillard, an offensive tackle from Washington State, with their first pick in the draft to give themselves a little insurance for protecting Wentz. Miles Sanders has also been garnering praise throughout camp and might emerge as the Eagles’ feature back in what has been a very muddled backfield of late. Regardless of who emerges as the feature back, the Offensive line has been prioritized and will be the key unit in allowing this offense to maximize their potential.
The Eagles have the #1 pass rush going into 2019
The acquisition of free agent, Malik Jackson was a relatively quiet signing, but should be hailed as a brilliant move. Jackson was a victim of the cap and the Jaguars simply couldn’t afford him. He ranked 12th and 10th in both pressure and win rate. Jackson should pair well with current #2 ranked defensive tackle, Fletcher Cox. PFF graded Cox a 92.5 at the position (#2 in the NFL). Cox’s 101 pressures in 2018 (#2 in NFL) and win rate of 20.1% (#2 in NFL). With the interior of the Eagles defense strengthened, anchoring down a solid pass rush should be key to easing the pressure in the secondary.
The Eagles receiving corps is #1 via PFF going into 2019
. Desean Jackson has returned to his former stomping grounds in Philly and Nelson Agholor is the wildcard who should be poised to emerge with a stronger presence in the offense, but it’s all about Alshon Jeffrey and the elite tight-end duo of Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert. The addition of JJ Arcea-Whiteside may not seem like the sexiest of draft picks, but he’s a special kind of receiver.
Mid-round receivers rarely get a lot of hype coming into the league. However, JJAW is a deadly 50/50 ball guy who high-points the ball and blocks out defenders at an elite level, coming out of college (Ranked #1; a 94.0 grade by PFF). He will likely be worked into a role in the slot and cause havoc on defenses in the Red-Zone, as that is the primary reason the Eagles took him over other areas of concern, like the secondary.
Concerns at defense
Defensively, there is a lot of work that needs to be done. The rushing defense ranked 7th and the passing defense was 30th, despite having an elite pass rush. Overall, their points allowed ranked 12th. The Eagles used 15 different defensive backs in 201, due to injuries. The return of Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills should help this unit return to their 2017 form, but Defensive Coordinator Jim Schwartz will have his work cut out for him this season, sorting through the debris.
More than 10.5 wins is a good bet
The Eagles have as much potential as anyone offense this season. Eagles supporters just need to understand it might take some time for the defense and the beefed-up offense to get rolling this season. All that really matters is the playoffs, so I’m sure everyone will happily trade a slow start for a deep playoff run. Things are looking up for the Eagles in 2019. I expect them to soar above their current win projection of 10.5 games. I expect a slow start but another hot finish at 11-5 and a trip to the NFC Conference Championship.
As of August 16th, you can get the Eagles on PlaySugarHouse for -134 for over 10 wins and +175 for over 11 wins.
Collin is a former Army Intelligence and Logistics officer who will watch any sport and gamble with anyone willing. He currently resides in Texas and has to deal with Cowboys fans all the time.