The Comeback is previewing all 32 NFL teams from worst to first leading up to the start of the 2018 regular season on Sept. 6. Up next in our preseason rankings are the finally-defending-champion Philadelphia Eagles.
2017 in a nutshell: With MVP-caliber quarterback Carson Wentz leading the way, it looks like they’re finally going to have a chance to win their first-ever Super Bowl. Then Wentz goes down and all hope is lost. Sure enough, backup Nick Foles leads them to the Lombardi Trophy anyway.
What’s different: Wentz is nearly fully healthy again, offensive coordinator Frank Reich and quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo are gone. And as usual when you win the Super Bowl, there’s been significant turnover on both sides of the ball.
Why they could be awesome: If Foles can win a Super Bowl with this team, Wentz might be able to win five. And they didn’t rest on their laurels after winning a championship.
Why they could suck: Super Bowl hangovers are real, Wentz might not be the same after his knee injury and there’s no guarantee Foles will hold up for another extended stretch as a starter.
Major additions: Defensive linemen Michael Bennett and Haloti Ngata, second-round rookie tight end Dallas Goedert, wide receiver Mike Wallace. Oh and Jason Peters, Darren Sproles and Jordan Hicks are back from major injuries.
Major losses: Reich, DeFilippo, defensive linemen Vinny Curry and Beau Allen, cornerback Patrick Robinson, running back LeGarrette Blount, linebacker Mychal Kendricks, wide receiver Torrey Smith, tight end Trey Burton.
Breakout watch: Pass-catching running back Corey Clement really came on late in 2017 as an undrafted rookie. The Wisconsin product averaged 5.1 yards per rush while also contributing as a receiver during the final 10 games of the season, and he caught four passes for 100 yards and a touchdown in the Super Bowl. With Blount gone and Sproles on his last legs, Clement should become a major cog in the offense in 2018.
Position to watch: It’s all about that deep defensive line in Philly, and that unit has gone through some major changes with Curry and Allen gone and Bennett and Ngata coming in. Can they rely on those old dudes? If not, they’d better hope 2017 first-round pick Derek Barnett can step up in support of superstar Fletcher Cox.
Prediction: They’ll be in contention, but the quarterback situation worries me and they’re a very different team this year. In the deep and strong NFC, it’ll be tough to repeat.
12-4, 1st place in the NFC East