Count me among those who thought the Philadelphia Eagles' hiring of Oregon head coach Chip Kelly in January 2013 was something that was going to alter the NFL landscape. I absolutely believed that Kelly's unique offense would become the new "thing" in the NFL.
Not so much.
Now, I definitely would have liked to have seen what Kelly could have done with the right quarterback in Philadelphia. And his offenses showed some flashes at times. The team was 10-6 each of Kelly's first two years, and most fan bases would take that. But Kelly was fired after Week 16 last year and the Eagles eliminated from the playoffs at 6-9.
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So now the Eagles are going back to the past with new coach Doug Pederson, who is a disciple of former Philly coach Andy Reid. Pederson had been Reid's offensive coordinator in Kansas City and himself was a former Eagles QB. I find it odd that the Eagles ran Reid out of town and then couldn't wait to hire a near-clone three years later.
Certainly no training camp should be more interesting than Philly's as we all see if Sam Bradford can hold on to the starting quarterback role over Chase Daniel, a free agent who followed Pederson from Kansas City, and rookie Carson Wentz. The Eagles gave up a ton to Cleveland to trade up to the No. 2 overall pick in this year's draft and take the raw Wentz out of North Dakota State. GM Howie Roseman keeps telling everyone that Bradford is the team's starter, but I'd bet anything he isn't in that role for all 16 games. He'll either get hurt (very likely) or struggle. I don't think Wentz is near ready, however. This will be Daniel's team by midseason. I've already seen some Eagles QB props at sportsbooks previously, and I'm sure they will return closer to training camp.
The Eagles were 4-4 on the road last season, 4-4 against the spread and 4-4 "over/under." They play three away teams that made the playoffs in 2015. I think the home schedule is a bit tougher. I project a road record of 2-6 this season, although as you will see below oddsmakers think it might be 0-8. The Eagles have a wins total of 7 at BetOnline, with the under a -150 favorite. Odds listed below for the home team.
Sept. 19 at Bears (-2.5): Monday night game. The Eagles should be 1-0, beating visiting Cleveland in Week 1. Chicago likely 0-1 as it visits Houston in Week 1. The Eagles and Bears haven't met since a late-2013 matchup in Philly, a 54-13 Eagles blowout win. That might have been the team's best all-around game under Kelly. Key trend: Eagles are 4-5 ATS in past nine at Chicago.
Oct. 9 at Lions (-1): Philly is off its bye week. Detroit is in Chicago in Week 4. These teams played on Thanksgiving last year in Detroit when the Eagles were in a free-fall, and they were crushed 45-14. Mark Sanchez started for the injured Bradford and threw for 199 yards and two scores but was sacked six times. At the time, it was Philly's second straight loss by at least 28 points, a team first since 1971. Key trend: Eagles 5-5 ATS in past 10 before a bye (any location).
Oct. 16 at Redskins (-3): Washington is off a very short road trip to Baltimore in Week 5. Washington beat visiting Philadelphia 23-20 in Week 4 last season on a last-minute touchdown pass. Bradford threw for 270 yards and three second-half touchdown passes, but then-Eagles kicker Caleb Sturgis missed both an extra point and a 33-yard field goal. Key trend: Eagles 5-5 ATS in past 10 as a road dog of at least 3 points in series.
Oct. 30 at Cowboys (-3.5): Sunday night game. Philly is off a home game vs. reigning NFC North champion Minnesota in Week 7. Dallas is off its bye week. Philadelphia won in Dallas off its bye in Week 9 last year, 33-27 in overtime. Bradford hit Jordan Matthews on a 41-yard TD pass in OT for the win. It was only the second overtime game ever between the long-time rivals. DeMarco Murray (now with Tennessee) had 161 total yards for the Eagles. Key trend: Eagles 8-2 ATS in past 10 as road dog of at least 3.5 points in series.
Nov. 6 at Giants (-3): Interesting with three straight road division games for the Eagles. Tough break for Philly as the Giants are off their bye week, too. The Eagles closed last season with a meaningless 35-30 win at the Giants. Pat Shurmur was Philly's interim head coach that week, and it would be Tom Coughlin's final game as Giants coach (and Murray's as an Eagle). Bradford was 30-for-38 for 320 yards and two scores, both to Matthews. Key trend: Eagles 7-3 ATS in past 10 as a dog in series.
Nov. 20 at Seahawks (-9): Philly is off a Week 10 home game vs. Atlanta, and this is obviously the team's only long trip of the year. It's possible Seattle could be a bit flat here as it visits New England the previous Sunday night in a potential Super Bowl preview and rematch of that great Super Bowl from two seasons ago. The Eagles have dropped the past two in the series, last 24-14 at home on Dec. 7, 2014. Key trend: Eagles 7-3 ATS in past 10 overall as road dog of at least 7.5 points.
Dec. 4 at Bengals (-5): Philadelphia is on a short week, hosting Green Bay on Monday in Week 12. Cincinnati is off a tough road game in Baltimore the previous Sunday. Philadelphia hasn't beaten Cincinnati since 2000. But teams have played only three times since then. Key trend: Eagles are 8-2 ATS in past 10 December games as road dog of at least 5 points.
Dec. 18 at Ravens (-1.5): Philly off a home game vs. Washington in Week 14. Baltimore is on a short week as it visits New England the previous Monday, and this is the Ravens' home finale. The Eagles won the last meeting in the series, 24-23 at home early in the 2012 season. Key trend: Eagles 4-6 ATS in past 10 as road dog overall of 2 points or fewer.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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