Eagles Preview Capsule
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (16-3)
New faces: DE Michael Bennett, DT Haloti Ngata, TE Dallas Goedert, WR Mike Wallace, LB Corey Nelson, P Cameron Johnston, rookies CB Avonte Maddox, TE Dallas Goedert, DE Josh Sweat.
Key losses: RB LeGarrette Blount, TE Trey Burton, TE Brent Celek, DT Beau Allen, DE Vinny Curry, CB Patrick Robinson, WR Torrey Smith, offensive coordinator Frank Reich, quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo.
Strengths: Plenty of depth at QB with Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles backing up Carson Wentz. Before he tore ACL, Wentz had MVP-caliber season. Offensive line could be best in NFL with nine-time Pro Bowl LT Jason Peters returning from ACL injury to join pair of All-Pros — C Jason Kelce and RT Lane Johnson — and Pro Bowl RG Brandon Brooks. Defense was mostly excellent except when it faced Tom Brady.
Weaknesses: Defense lacks depth at linebacker and is counting heavily on Jordan Hicks returning from his second Achilles tendon injury. Offensive line is inexperienced beyond starting five and backup T Halapoulivaati Vaitai. Johnston enters his first season.
Fantasy Player To Watch: TE Zach Ertz. First-time Pro Bowl pick who caught go-ahead TD pass in Super Bowl, Ertz had 74 catches for 824 yards and eight TDs. He’s Wentz’s go-to guy and numbers could get better with addition of Goedert helping cause matchup problems for defenses inside red zone.
Vegas Says: Super Bowl 9-1. Over/under wins 10.5.
Expectations: Eagles enter season trying to become only ninth team to repeat as Super Bowl champs and first since New England following 2004 season. It won’t be easy. Division opponents got better, and conference is tougher. But team is young, talented and motivated, especially Wentz because he watched Super Bowl victory from sideline. If key players stay healthy, they could make another deep run.
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