Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Your 2010 Eagles Season Breakdown

A new era of Eagles football is upon us. Having jettisoned nearly all of the cast of players that led them to multiple NFC Championships, the Eagles are in a rebuilding phase, turning to young players at every position with the hopes of building a Super Bowl contender. Of course, labeling the Eagles a rebuilding team isn't quite accurate, not when you have a number of stars already in place and ready to win right now. Instead, the Eagles will try to re-tool on the fly, hoping to stay in contention while the youth gets some experience under their belts.

On the offensive side of the ball, everything is new. With Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook, the two focal points of the offense for the last few years, put out to pasture, the Eagles are handing over the reigns to Kevin Kolb and a set of dynamic playmakers. With DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy, Kolb has burners all around him that can strike for a big play at any moment. Add in dependable contributors like Leonard Weaver, Brent Celek and Jason Avant, and Kolb might arguably have a better supporting cast than McNabb ever had. Whether that puts pressure on Kolb or makes him more comfortable, only time will tell. If Kolb can stay upright behind a shaky offensive line and distribute the ball efficiently, there's no reason why the Eagles offense can't put up solid numbers all year long.

The defense is also undergoing a youth movement, though they seem to be about a year behind the development of the offense. With rookies Brandon Graham and Nate Allen stepping into starting roles, expect the defense to have their share of big plays but also to make a few mistakes along the way. Of course, don't underestimate the impact that the return of Stewart Bradley can have on the defense; his leadership in the middle should help smooth out any bumps in the road.

So, while a slight downturn should be expected, this isn't going to be a lost season for the Eagles. Sure, they will have their growing pains, but there is still enough talent to keep them competitive. While winning the division is probably not in the cards, I could easily see the Eagles earning a Wild Card.

Here is my week by week projection of how I think the Eagles season will play out:

Week 1: Packers L (0-1)
This one doesn't look promising. The Packers, who many are predicting to win the Super Bowl, look like they are going to score 35 points every week. While I think the Eagles offense will be good, I don't see them keeping up in this one.

Week 2: @ Lions W (1-1)
On paper, this looks like an easy win. Put a little pressure on Matthew Stafford, bottle up rookie running back Jahvid Best and the Eagles should win this one handily. Of course, there is a reason they play the games. I like Kolb to have a big day here.

Week 3: @ Jaguars W (2-1)
If the Eagles slow down Maurice Jones-Drew, this should be another easy win. Besides MJD, who on the Jaguars scares you? And who on their defense can make a stop?

Week 4: Redskins W (3-1)
This one should be fun. Expect the Eagles to be fired up and the crowd to really be into the McNabb homecoming, leading to a close win. With any luck, the Redskins will be down by 6 and have the ball with about 2 minutes left and McNabb can show everyone that the Eagles were right to ship him out of town. Of course, knowing our luck, McNabb will be incredibly efficient and lead the Redskins to victory.

Week 5: @ Niners L (3-2)
This one has all the makings of a chokejob against a West Coast team that really isn't that good, much like the Raiders game last year. While I do expect the Niners to win the NFC West, that doesn't make them very good.

Week 6: Falcons W (4-2)
It's hard to get a good read on the Falcons, who really didn't do anything to improve their roster in the offseason. Perhaps they are just hoping that healthy seasons from Matt Ryan and Michael Turner will get them into the playoffs? I like the Eagles to bounce back with a close win in this one.

Week 7: @ Titans L (4-3)
The Eagles better hope they can stop the run this season or Chris Johnson will go off. I can really go either way in this one but I'll give the win to the home team.

Week 8: BYE

Week 9: Colts L (4-4)
The Eagles always win after the bye week but they've never had to play a team like the Colts in this situation. This might be the most important game on the schedule; if the Eagles win, they gain a ton of confidence and could ride that into a playoff berth; if they lose, they could slide right out of contention. I'm betting on Peyton Manning, unfortunately.

Week 10: @ Redskins L (4-5)
They always seem to split with the Skins, so McNabb gets some revenge here, if he's healthy.

Week 11: Giants W (5-5)
Things have been very quiet on the Giants front this season which probably means they are in for a big season. While I'm not impressed with any of the moves they made this offseason, I'm still betting they will right in the mix for the division. While the Eagles won both games last year, I think they split this season, with each team winning their home game.

Week 12: @ Bears W (6-5)
Despite their supposedly new and improved offense, I don't think the Bears are very good. Expect Jay Cutler to get hit early and often in this one.

Week 13: Texans W (7-5)
Barring the Texans actually becoming the team they've been hyped up to be for the last few years, I like the Eagles to win a close one here. Frankly, the Birds better win this one because the next four weeks are going to be rough.

Week 14: @ Cowboys L (7-6)
The Eagles really don't see the Cowboys until Week 14?? So much could be different at this point of the season but I do think the Cowboys will win the East this year. As much as I hate them, there is no denying that Dallas was way better than the Eagles last year and they didn't get any worse in the offseason.

Week 15: @ Giants L (7-7)
As I said earlier, the Eagles will split the season with the Giants.

Week 16: Vikings W (8-7)
I just can't see the Eagles losing three in a row, so I like them to pull off the upset at home against the Vikings. If Brett Favre is even upright at this point of the season, I expect the Birds defense to give him fits. If they can find a way to slow down Adrian Peterson, I like the Eagles to win here.

Week 17: Cowboys W (9-7)
The Eagles always win the season finale with the Cowboys, right? Well, except for last year...

So, there you have it. Your Eagles will finish 9-7 and end up tied for second place in the NFC East with the Giants and just ahead of the Redskins. They will be in the mix for the last playoff spot but I think they will miss out on the Wild Card due to a tiebreaker. Of course, picking each game before the season starts when you really don't know how good each team rarely ends up being right.

Those are my picks for the Eagles this season. If you agree or disagree or have picks of your own, feel free to leave comments! Enjoy the first weekend of football!


Unimpressed said...

Your crazy. The way I see it is there is only 2 winnable games all season. Weeks two and three. 2-14 at most.

allthingsphilly said...

Now THAT is funny. I'd love to make a wager with you.