NFL Hype Check: Can the Philadelphia Eagles defend their crown?

The Eagles have a big bullseye on their back as defending Super Bowl champs, can they cope with the expectations of defending the Lombardi trophy?

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Ahead of the 2018 NFL season, we’re bringing you a series outlining which teams are getting too much hype and what rosters are sneakily going under the radar.

Disclaimer: I hate your favourite team, regardless of who they are. Please use this rationale if it makes you feel better after hearing about how your team aren’t half as good as they think they are.

If you’ve missed our previews, check them out here:

 

in the NFC Divisional Playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 13, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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Philadelphia Eagles 10 Wins: Under – Evens

Their only draft pick in the first 100 was the selection of Dallas Goedert at #49. He’s a direct replacement for Trey Burton, but the remainder of their draft class hardly inspires unless defensive end Josh Sweat can fine-tune his technique.

After Wentz went down injured last season, Nick Foles stepped up to the plate. He’s the insurance policy and despite clearly meriting more money, he opted to stay in Philadelphia where he’s now a cult hero. Jay Ajayi will be their feature back for the year and that’s probably an upgrade across 16 games.

The additions of Markus Wheaton and Mike Wallace certainly add speed on the offensive side of the ball and it will be interesting to see if Mike Groh changes his scheme somewhat to incorporate that.

He largely went under the radar, but Richard Rodgers coming in from Green Bay makes up a tight end trio that could be as good as any in the league. He’s also a very good run blocker.

He’ll be an asset to the already-impressive offensive line.

Their struggles, if they find them, won’t be when they’re allowed to dictate personnel. Philly can still boast a front four of Derek Barnett, Tim Jernigan, Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham, with back-up coming from Haloti Ngata, Chris Long and Michael Bennett.

But their lack of depth at linebacker, corner and safety might see them become cannon fodder when teams go empty-tray and have four receivers, or when they pass the ball with three tight ends.

Jan 31, 2018; Bloomington, MN, USA; Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox during a press conference in advance of Super Bowl LII against the New England Patriots at Mall of America. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

They’re in a division with the Giants who can field Evan Engram, Sterling Shepard, Odell Beckham and Saquon Barkley on any given snap. Jim Schwartz has a tough year ahead of him.

Schedule-wise, they face just one team on a downward curve in the opening half of the season. Home games against the Vikings and the Falcons are not the easiest way to settle into a season, nor are trips to Tampa Bay and Jacksonville (via London).

Going to New Orleans is a nasty experience for any defence lacking depth and the Texans are unpredictable with Deshaun Watson under center.

I also can’t get away from the idea that the Giants will beat them as they’re a matchup nightmare. Jaylen Watkins and Patrick Robinson don’t jump out on paper as major losses, but it’s in the small margins that seasons are won and lost.

Verdict

Based on those projections, Philly would see losses against Atlanta, Minnesota, New York, Jacksonville, Dallas, New Orleans and Los Angeles. What do all those offences do? They challenge depth schematically.

Expect a Super Bowl hangover in the city of brotherly love.

Overrated – 9 wins

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What do you think?