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3 Bold Predictions for the Philadelphia Eagles
With the upcoming season still in flux there is no certainty we get all 16 games or a season at all. That being said I am hoping we get a full season call it being naive or overly optimistic, I just can’t imagine going 20 months without the NFL. So for everyone that is hoping and praying there is a season like me here are some bold predictions for the Eagles to help curb your appetite.
1) JJ Arcega-Whiteside has a breakout year. Last year was disappointing to say the least for JJ he had high expectations coming into his rookie year. Being a jump ball specialist at Stanford along with having an exciting preseason, he did not live up to what fans had hoped for. JJ himself said that he played the better part of last season with injuries which could have contributed to his lack of production and ability to make plays. Along with trying to learn every receiver position opposed to just the X, Y or Z position. From learning to play three positions, along with being hurt and then on top of all that being forced into a starting lineup too early. I think it’s fair to say JJ could have had an easier transition to the NFL. Receiver is one of the toughest transitions to make from college to NFL, JJ had nothing going in his favour last year. With all that said JJ showed some not a lot but some potential last year as to why he was the 57th overall selection in last year’s draft. In Weeks 14 and 17 in must win games against division rivals the Giants and Cowboys respectively he had two of his best games all year. JJ showed progression throughout the year and should have the playbook memorized and be fully healthy for the start of the season. It is common for rookie receivers to struggle in their first year and find success in the second hopefully JJ falls into that category. 6’2” and 225 pounds JJ is the ideal size to play the X and with Alshon most likely starting the season on the PUP the job is JJ’s to lose. DeSean will more than likely start at the Z and I can imagine Reagor, Ward will compete for the slot with Goodwin nipping at Jacksons heels for play time. This is a perfect opportunity for JJ to breakout and become a full time starting receiver.
2) Miles Sanders leads the league in all purpose yards. Last season Miles proved he can be a weapon anywhere on the field regardless of his supporting cast. In his rookie year Miles accumulated 818 rushing yards, 509 receiving yards, and 314 kick return yards, along with 6 total touchdowns and 2 fumbles for a total of 1641 all purpose yards. Which landed him in the eight spot last season. While most of the team’s starting skill players fell to injury at one point or another through the season Miles proved he was reliable, suiting up for all 16 games as well as the playoffs. McCaffrey was first in all purpose yards last season having a total of 2392 all purpose yards. This might look like an insurmountable task but let me assure you it’s not. Miles only started 11 games last year and had multiple games where he was clearly not the feature back. From about week 10 on he was more frequently used and by the end of the season he became one of the Eagles best weapons. The progression from being a 3rd down back to one of the team’s most dangerous weapons in his first year is spectacular. If Miles can keep progressing the way he did last year it’s safe to say he has a much better 2nd season, similar to what McCaffrey did in his second year. With Jordan Howard gone Miles should see the bulk of the carries this coming season. Miles became a much better runner as the season progressed with every week he gained more patience, vision and understanding for the run game. Miles did well improving his run game but where he did his most damage last year was as a pass catcher. While the team was depleted at WR Miles delivered, emerging as a dynamic playmaker out of the backfield. Whether it was screens, wheel routes or seam routes he made plays, all while opposing defences gameplaned for him. Proving to be a mismatch for linebackers, teams will need to cover him with a safety this upcoming season which would leave the defence vulnerable over the top. With DeSean being back and the addition of Reagor and Goodwin this would be a risk for defences. If this results in a big play over the top you can say goodbye to that safety over Sanders, then he can go to work on whatever LB a team tries to cover him with. With the increased workload and his continuous development I don’t think it’s that crazy to see him leading the league in all purpose yards this coming season.
3) Fletcher Cox gets 12 plus sacks. You might look at this and think I really played it safe with my last bold prediction but that’s not the case. While consistently being talked about as a top 2 or 3 DT Cox has only gone past 10 sacks once in his career in 2018 having 10.5 sacks. His next best year was 2015 with 9.5 and last year he only managed 3.5 sacks having one of his worst years in the NFL. It is worth mentioning he played through multiple injuries last season which may have contributed to his low sack production. With that being said I think he is primed for a big year, wanting to prove he is not declining but instead in his prime. With the addition of Javon Hargrave and Malik Jackson coming back healthy, Cox should have all the help he needs on the inside to rotate and stay fresh. Cox should benefit from both of them seeing a lot less double teams than he did last season, freeing him up 1on1 should allow him to use his power and great bull rush move to get in the backfield. This is Cox’s year to return to his 2018 form, show last year was an injury filled fluke of a season and insert himself back into the conversation for best DT in the NFL. He has all the help he needs from an improved secondary to better D-line than he had in 2018 it’s all on him now, time show everyone how good he really is!