It’s that time of the year, which means football is back. The 2018 NFL regular season will begin on Thursday September 6th. The defending Super Bowl champion Eagles will host the Falcons. The Eagles are coming off their first Super Bowl victory in the history of their franchise.
What’s amazing is that they did it despite losing their star quarterback Carson Wentz to a torn ACL in Week 14 versus the Rams. Wentz was having an MVP type of season as he threw for 3,296 yards, 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Luckily, they had Nick Foles as the backup who played sensationally in the postseason and the title game. In Super Bowl 52, he played the game of his life. He completed 28 of 43 passes for 373 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. He shredded the Patriots undermanned defense with his pin point passes and was rarely pressured. Also, he had a touchdown catch off the Eagles special play call called the “Philly Special.” It was thanks to head coach Doug Pederson for his aggressive play calling. He’ll start for at least the first part of the season as Wentz recovers from his injury.
Five Reasons why the Eagles won’t repeat as Super Bowl Champions
Philly has has a complete all around roster. They have a stout defense that was the fourth best last season. Their front four is led by defensive linemen Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Chris Long, Michael Bennett and Haloti Ngata. The linebackers are Jordan Hicks (coming off a season ending torn Achilles), Nigel Bradham and Kamu Grugier-Hill. Their secondary is led by Pro Bowl safety Malcolm Jenkins, Ronald Darby, Rodney McLeod, Jalen Mills, Corey Graham and Sidney Jones
Offensively, they have solid running game led by Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement and Darren Sproles (who’s coming back from injury). The main weapons are Zach Ertz, Alshon Jeffery, Mike Wallace, Nelson Agholor and Dallas Goedert. The offensive line is led by Jason Peters coming off an injury, Stefen Wisniewski, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks and the great Lane Johnson.
The Eagles have all the elements to go back to back. But, here are five reasons why they won’t be Super Bowl champs again.
1) Repeating is difficult
Winning a championship is hard but doing it again the following season is difficult. They’re only a few teams in league history that have ever went back to back. The last team to do it was ironically their Super Bowl 52 opponent Patriots when they did it in 2003 and 2004. The other clubs were the Packers (1966-1967), Dolphins (1972-1973), Steelers (1974-1975) 49ers (1988-1989) Cowboys (1992-1993) and Broncos (1997-1998). Then, take into the fact the training camp, preseason and the 16 game regular season. The grind of a long season where players take the physical pounding every single play that can wear them out.
2) Uncertainty about Carson Wentz
Then, there’s Carson Wentz with his ACL injury that he’s rehabbing on. ACL injuries are common in football. Typically, an ACL tear takes about six to nine months to recover from. However, there are those like Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Adrian Peterson and Carson Palmer who suffered these injuries that came back and became their star selves again. Unfortunately, players like Daunte Culpepper, Jamaal Charles, Robert Griffin III who were never the same. So it’s smart for the Eagles to shelve him for now so that he can be healthy long term but nothing is guaranteed in life.
3) NFC East is better
Everyone knows that the NFC East is one of the toughest divisions in the league. Division games are the hardest games to play in because teams know their division foes well. The Eagles have to go through the Giants, Cowboys and Redskins who have played them tough. The telling part is that those teams got better in the off-season. The Giants have Odell Beckham Jr. back from injury, they drafted a once in a generation running back in Saquon Barkley and still have Eli Manning quarterbacking the G-Men. Despite Dez Bryant and Jason Witten gone, the Cowboys still have their duo of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott and their great offensive line. For the Redskins, they traded for Alex Smith, who had a career year last season with the Chiefs to replace Kirk Cousins and a solid offensive line.
4) NFC is tough
The NFC is filled with multiple teams that can go to the Super Bowl each year. There is the Rams led by Offensive Player of the Year Todd Gurley II, Jared Goff and a defense led by All-Pro Aaron Donald. The Vikings have a number one defense led by Everson Griffen, Danielle Hunter, Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks, Harrison Smith and Xavier Rhodes. Also, they got Kirk Cousins along with Dalvin Cook coming back from his ACL injury and have Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen and Kyle Rudolph. Then, there are the Aaron Rodgers led Packers, Falcons and Saints. So Philly has a tough road to get back to the title game.
5) Potential Distractions
They say it’s hard to win in this league without any distractions. Well, this team may have a few on their roster. Malcolm Jenkins has made headways during a locker room interview where he held up signs about criminal justice. In addition, he held his fist up in the air as part of the national anthem protests about police brutality. Then, there is Michael Bennett who publicly said that he will continue to sit in protest during the national anthem. These issues could impact the team if they’re struggling to win games
The Last Word
Philly will have a lot of things that will go against them this season. They will be the hunted as teams try to take them down. If they were to find a way to win consecutive titles, they would be the first NFC team since the 1992-93 Cowboys to go back to back. Good luck to #FlyEaglesFly.
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