2013 Philadelphia Eagles Predictions and NFL Futures Odds
by Alan Matthews - 8/21/2013
The Philadelphia Eagles haven't missed the postseason for three straight seasons since 1997-99. That was the final two seasons of Ray Rhodes' coaching tenure and the first of Andy Reid's. He was a lame-duck coach in 2012, and it seemed to show. The Eagles started a solid 3-1, but that was fool's good as those three wins were by a combined four points. Then the wheels fell off, and Philadelphia got one more victory the rest of the way.
Ownership said goodbye to Reid and apparently had an affinity for college coaches named Kelly, speaking with Notre Dame's Brian and Oregon's Chip. Both decided to stay put, only Chip Kelly quickly reversed course -- perhaps because he knew NCAA sanctions were coming to Oregon? (They proved to be pretty minor). So now Kelly brings the fastest offensive scheme in college football history to the NFL. There has been a very mixed history of college coaches succeeding in the pros. Obviously Jimmy Johnson had the best success. Steve Spurrier, meanwhile, failed miserably at Washington. The Eagles believe Kelly will fare like his former Pac-12 rival Jim Harbaugh has done with the 49ers. Certainly no team will be more offensively fun to watch this season than the Eagles.
What I presumed was a foregone conclusion was made official on Tuesday: Kelly picked Michael Vick over second-year player Nick Foles and rookie Matt Barkley as the team's starting quarterback. It's probably Vick's last chance to prove he can start and stay healthy. Due to injuries, Vick has started only 23 games the past two years. He looked very good in the team's two preseason games and would seem a perfect fit in Kelly's read-option spread. The coach says he has no plans to rotate, so it's Vick's job. I'm not sure he won't turn to Barkley over Foles if Vick does go down later in the season or continues to turn the ball over as he has the past two years. After all, Barkley is Kelly's own draft pick. Expect tailback LeSean McCoy to have a monster season for the Eagles -- just think of what Kenjon Barner did last year with the Ducks. Unfortunately for the Eagles, they lost starting receiver Jeremy Maclin for the season early in camp. He had a team-leading 69 receptions for 857 yards and seven TDs last season. Fellow WR Arrelious Benn also was lost to a torn ACL. It appears Riley Cooper will start opposite DeSean Jackson despite Cooper's off-field issues in camp. This team should score a lot more than last season.
Philadelphia ranked No. 15 in total defense last year but a terrible 29th in points allowed (27.8). Yes, the turnover-plagued offense has to take some of the blame. The Eagles are switching to a 3-4 scheme under new coordinator Bill Davis, or at least a 4-3/3-4 hybrid. It's not too often a secondary might improve after losing former Pro Bowl cornerbacks like Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, but both were busts as Eagles. In free agency, the Eagles signed cornerbacks Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher along with safeties Kenny Phillips and Patrick Chung. All but Phillips look likely to start. The team also signed Texans free-agent linebacker Connor Barwin, who will also start.
2013 Philadelphia Eagles Schedule Analysis
The Eagles have the 13th-easiest schedule with an opponents' 2012 winning percentage of .496. At least Philly gets its only two scheduled prime-time visits out of the way in the first three weeks. I'd think if you have to play Robert Griffin III, Week 1 would be the best time because he's probably not going to be 100 percent as well as a bit rusty after not playing in the preseason. If Philly can pull that upset, it could be 3-0 with winnable home games against San Diego and Kansas City -- in Andy Reid's return -- to follow.
Then it's three straight on the road, and certainly the Eagles won't be favored at the Broncos, Giants or probably Bucs. At best, the Eagles are probably 3-3 after those first six. Then the Cowboys and Giants visit. Philly's only NFC East win last year was at home in Week 4 against the G-Men. A Week 9 trip to Oakland doesn't look scary, but East Coast teams never play well out there, and the Raiders have to win at least a few games. Then comes a Week 10 trip to Green Bay followed by the Skins visiting in Week 11 before the Eagles' bye. If the Eagles can get to that bye at 6-5, the playoffs are possible as there's no outright lock loss after the bye: vs. Arizona, vs. Detroit, at Minnesota, vs. Chicago and at Dallas. Remember, the Cowboys have lost in Week 17 the past two seasons to blow a shot at the NFC East title.
2013 Philadelphia Eagles Futures Odds
Odds courtesy of BetOnline and Sportsbook.ag: Philadelphia has an “over/under” wins total of 7.5, with the under a -140 favorite. The Iggles are +450 long shots to win the NFC East, +2600 to win the NFC and +6000 to win the Super Bowl. Vick is +2000 to win NFL MVP and +7500 to lead the league in passing yards. McCoy is +2000 to lead the league in rushing. He is part of a three-way prop with Cam Newton and Tony Gonzalez at -110 to have the most combined passing, rushing and receiving yards against Robert Griffin III, Chris Johnson and Wes Welker. Jackson is +1800 to lead in receiving yards. Barkley is +1800 to win Offensive Rookie of the Year.
2013 Philadelphia Eagles Predictions
Will the Eagles average more than the 17.5 points they did last year? I'd be stunned if they don't average at least a touchdown more. However, the one drawback to that fast-paced offense is some very quick three-and-outs, meaning the defense is going to be gassed often. And I'm not sure the personnel is really any better on that side of the ball. Expect a lot of "over" games from Philadelphia. I would lean under that wins total but just barely, expecting a 7-9 finish and no playoff spot. If I thought Vick could play 16 games, I'd go over. I am huge, huge on McCoy this year, so I might throw some money down on him being the rushing king. Take him, Newton and Gonzalez as well on that prop, especially with RG3's injury issues.
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