The Philadelphia Eagles have been around since 1933 and have one of the most engaged fan bases in all of the sports. I swear, there was a study.
After Forbes.com evaluated 123 professional teams and reviewed television ratings, game attendance, social media reach, and merchandise sales, it found that the Eagles had the fifth-most passionate fan base. Each year, the city expects big things from its players.
In 2020, things will be no different.
Owners and Coaches for the Philadelphia Eagles
Jeffrey Lurie is the owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, purchasing the team for $185 million in 1994. His grandfather founded General Cinema, which at one point was one of the largest drive-in movie theater operations in the United States.
After a tough three season with Chip Kelly leading the team, Philadelphia welcomed Doug Pederson with open arms. He quickly lived up to expectations with a Super Bowl victory in 2017, but fans are getting antsy for another one after experiencing the taste of glory.
Pederson made an interesting and a bit of a controversial move this offseason by firing his offensive coordinator, Mike Groh. He's since stated that coaching the offense will be a more collaborative effort. Jim Schwartz will serve as defensive coordinator.
Current Roster for the Philadelphia Eagles
Over the last few years, there have been murmurs and whispers that quarterback Carson Wentz is egotistical and selfish. According to former OC Frank Reich, Wentz told the organization that he had a lot of arguments with his offensive coordinator in college. Others, like teammates Zach Ertz and Fletcher Cox, have said that he's been nothing but a great teammate.
The truth might lie somewhere in the middle. Wentz may be hard-headed, but most great athletes are, and they will not back down when they believe in something.
This season, Wentz will need to focus on his accuracy if he wants to get past the Dallas Cowboys and win the division after only 63.9% of his passes last year.
At running back, the Eagles relied on a committee of Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders last season, but Howard is now in Miami, so Sanders will get to prove if he was worth his second-round price tag in the 2019 NFL Draft. He proved he can be an asset as a receiver, as he posted 509 receiving yards last year, but he has to tighten things up when it comes to running the ball.
He was knocked in his draft profiles about playing too loose, and he fumbled twice in a game against the Detroit Lions this year.
Wide receiver DeSean Jackson caused plenty of controversy in the offseason by sharing anti-Semitic social media posts, but talent outweighs the controversy, and the Eagles are counting on him to still be a big-play threat once again.
They'll need him to be because several of his teammates will be watching from the sidelines. Rookie Jalen Reagor is expected to miss several weeks with a shoulder injury he sustained at the end of August, and Alshon Jeffrey is dealing with a foot injury. Receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Ertz, and third-year tight end Dallas Goedert will look to pick up any slack.
Fletcher Cox, Nathan Gerry, and Brandon Graham will lead the defense, which finished in the middle of the pack in terms of total offensive yards allowed (5,307) in 2019.
Philly's defense was strong against the run last year, allowing the third-fewest rushing yards. But the unit finished 19th in passing yards allowed, so stopping opposing teams from airing it out will be a focal point this season.
Championships for the Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles won three championships in 1948, 1949, and 1960 and have made 27 playoff appearances since 1947.
However, it wasn’t until 2017 that the Eagles were able to bring a Super Bowl to Philadelphia during the modern football era. In Super Bowl LII, the Eagles defeated the New England Patriots 41-33, behind Nick Foles' 373 yards passing and LeGarrette Blount 90 rushing.
Famous Players From the Philadelphia Eagles
Donovan McNabb is one of the most beloved players in the entire history of the franchise. He was voted to the Pro Bowl six times, his number is retired, and he was inducted into the Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Fame.
Not far behind McNabb in popularity is Brian Dawkins, who captained the defense during those same successful years. He was voted to the Pro Bowl nine times and also had his number retired. Fun fact, for a limited time in Jacksonville, he partnered with WaWa to create a hoagie called "The Dawk."
Finally, Ron "Jaws" Jaworski played for the Eagles from 1977 to 1986, and the retired quarterback is best known for leading the Eagles to their first Super Bowl appearance in 1980. When he was done playing, he couldn't stay too far away from the field, working for ESPN's broadcasting team for many years and writing a book about the NFL in 2010.
Philadelphia Eagles Betting Preview
The Philadelphia Eagles appeared to be dead in the water following a loss to the sub-par Miami Dolphins in week 13 last season, but they rallied to win their final four games to finish 9-7 and win the NFC East. That stretch included a win over the Dallas Cowboys, who finished one game back at 8-8.
Their time in the playoffs lasted only one game after QB Carson Wentz suffered an injury in the first quarter and couldn't continue. They lost to the Seattle Seahawks 17-9 in a defensive slugfest.
Key off-season moves
In the Eagles’ perfect world, rookie QB Jalen Hurts will not have to play at all this season. That’s ironic because it’s the off-season move that got the most attention.
Most football fans expected the former Alabama and Oklahoma quarterback to get drafted, but the Eagles turned heads by picking him late in the second round. Philadelphia has a franchise quarterback in Wentz, but he has had each of his three seasons cut short by injury.
The Eagles famously recovered as well as possible when he went down during the 2017 playoffs. Nick Foles led the team to a Super Bowl victory, but Foles is gone and Philadelphia needs to fill the backup QB role.
Wentz and the Eagles made their late-season run despite suffering from a major deficit at wide receiver. Starters DeSean Jackson (three games played) and Alshon Jeffery (10 games played) were limited by injuries, which left tight end Zach Ertz as the only reliable target. Others showed promise in spurts but struggled to find consistency.
The Eagles added to their depth at the position by taking three pass-catchers in the draft, including first-round pick Jalen Reagor out of TCU. Reagor is dealing with a shoulder injury, however, so the rookie who might see more playing time in the early going, however, is fourth-rounder John Hightower out of Boise State. He has stood out throughout training camp, flashing good hands and route running. Those are great qualities to add for someone who already has 4.43 speed.
Philadelphia added to its defense by trading two 2020 draft picks to Detroit for safety Darius Slay and signing him to a big contract, after unsuccessful pursuing free agent Byron Jones from Dallas.
The Eagles’ biggest acquisition in free agency was defensive tackle Javon Hargrave from the Steelers. Pro Football Focus listed Hargrave as the fourth-most productive pass-rushing tackle last season. Hargrave’s presence will free up fellow tackle Fletcher Cox for more 1-on-1s and hopefully more QB pressures.
Top 3 players
QB Carson Wentz
Player props at DraftKings and FanDuel
MVP: DK (+2500); FD (+1700)
Passing yards: DK (3,900.5); FD (3899.5)
Passing TDs: DK (27.5); FD (27.5)
Most regular-season passing yards: DK (None); FD (+1900)
Outlook: Wentz’s ability to play at a high level in the NFL has never been in question since he took the league by storm as a rookie in 2017. He threw 33 touchdown passes in 13 games before suffering a season-ending injury. His skills were on display again late last season as he led the Eagles to four wins in their last four games, despite throwing to a hugely depleted receiving group. He finished with a career-high 4,039 passing yards and 27 passing touchdowns. If Wentz and his receivers can stay healthy, he’s always a threat to have one of the best statistical outputs in the league. The Eagles also hope to throw the ball downfield more often this year. If field-stretcher DeSean Jackson can stay healthy, Philadelphia should be able to do that.
There is probably a little bit of value on DraftKings for Wentz to win MVP, but not on FanDuel. The passing yardage and touchdowns are certainly reachable, but do you trust him to stay healthy for the whole season? It might be best to wait to see if he can play multiple seasons without injury before wagering on him to reach these lofty numbers.
RB Miles Sanders
Player props at DraftKings and FanDuel
Most regular-season rushing yards: DK (None); FD (+2000)
Most regular-season rushing touchdowns: DK (None); FD (+2500)
Outlook: Sanders proved he was up to the task last year as a rookie, and this year he’ll have a chance to do so in a bigger role. Jordan Howard left for Miami in the off-season, opening up a starting spot that likely will be filled by Sanders, though a hamstring injury has kept him out of practice during training camp.
Sanders averaged 4.6 yards per carry last season on his way to 818 rushing yards. He also added 509 receiving yards on 50 receptions and scored six total touchdowns. His two best games occurred during the four-game win streak at the end of the regular season when he amassed 328 offensive yards and three touchdowns in wins over Washington and Dallas. If his injury limits him, look for fellow second-year pro-Boston Scott to fill in.
Also because of Sanders' injury, it seems like too much to ask for him to lead the league in rushing yards or touchdowns.
TE Zach Ertz
Player props at DraftKings and FanDuel
Receiving yards: DK (850.5); FD (924.5)
Receiving TDs: DK (6); FD (7.5)
Outlook: Even when the Eagles’ receiving group was decimated by injury last season and opposing defenses knew Ertz was the go-to guy, he still found a way to be highly productive. Ertz has led all tight ends with 290 targets over the last two seasons. Only four wide receivers have more than that. He has at least 74 receptions and at least 816 receiving yards in each of the last five years. His best season came in 2018 when he had 116 catches for 1,163 yards and eight touchdowns. He had 88 catches last season for 916 yards and six touchdowns. Even if Wentz has a deeper batch of receivers to throw to this season, Ertz will still be the most heavily targeted player on the team. Taking the over on both DraftKings props seems like great value when FanDuel has its numbers set so high.
Regular season win Total (9 at DraftKings and 9.5 at FanDuel)
The win total is different on the two sites, but DraftKings has its number juiced to the over and FanDuel has its number juiced to the under. This number is correct because it seems likely the Eagles will win at least nine games. Laying the juice on the over at DraftKings is probably the best bet because it would take them winning only eight games to lose
Odds to win Division (+150 at DraftKings and +130 at FanDuel)
The Eagles have won the division two of the last three seasons, including last season. They have finished first or second six of the last season seasons. It might be tempting to take either plus-price, but the Cowboys look to be too strong. They hired a new coach, and new leadership should be enough to push them to the top of the division.
Odds to Win Super Bowl (+2000 at DraftKings and +2000 at FanDuel)
With playoff berths in each of the two seasons since they won the Super Bowl in 2017, the Eagles have consistently placed themselves in the discussion for winning another title. They begin this season as one of the top teams in the NFC, and they have the seventh-shortest odds of all NFL teams to win the Lombardi Trophy. Because of that, it would not be a total shock for them to win it all, but there are too many teams ahead of them to pick it
Thanks to the culture head coach Doug Pederson has built, one of the safest bets in the NFL these days is that Philadelphia will be in the playoff discussion. The Eagles even made it to the postseason it last year against the odds once they started losing receivers to injury.
They did not make a large number of off-season moves, but the ones they did make served a purpose. If Wentz can stay healthy, the offense is always going to have a chance to score at a high rate. The defense is good, but not special.
You can’t bet against the Eagles making the playoffs with confidence, but it’s not as easy to see them beating out the Cowboys for the division title again because of the additions the Cowboys made in the off-season.
Philadelphia might have to win more than 10 games to do that, and that seems like a stretch.