No story is better than a comeback story.
The previous two times Philadelphia finished last in NFC East (2012 and 2016); the Eagles went on to finish first in the division in the season to follow. Though the team is one week away from seeing how their rebuild phase will pan out, there’s no time like the present to repeat history.
Last week the Eagles finalized their 53-man roster, naming second-year Jalen Hurts as quarterback. Philadelphia has also welcomed a revamped coaching staff, the return of healthy veteran players, and tight end Zach Ertz who has a fresher outlook this season.
On a recent conference call, Tony Romo stated, “Jalen Hurts as an opportunity to show his ability, and you’re not afforded that many times in the NFL. But he’s shown a lot of flashes last year, and he has a chance to be very good.”
He continued, “I think the Eagles are going to be a surprise team. If you go in and think they’re really not ready, they could shock a lot of people and go 10-6 or 11-5 very quickly. That’s an uphill battle right now, but I still think they have a lot of talented players, and the coaching staff is good. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the Eagles have a great season this year.”
So, how great of a season can the Eagles have?
TAKING EVERYONE BY SURPRISE: PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 2021 SEASON PREDICTIONS
Week 1: at Atlanta Falcons
Week 1 will be all about finding a rhythm for the Eagles. Jalen Hurts took ten snaps during Philadelphia’s preseason games, so he may not be as ready as fans would have liked. The game will be close, but Atlanta’s Matt Ryan and first-round draft pick Kyle Pitts will challenge the Eagles’ defense.
Prediction: Eagles lose (0-1)
Week 2: vs. San Francisco 49ers
Philadelphia’s home field advantage will make a huge difference in Week 2 during the Eagle’s 2021 debut at The Linc. San Francisco’s head coach Kyle Shanahan still hasn’t named a starting QB for the 49ers, but regardless I don’t think it will stop Philadelphia’s energy.
Prediction: Eagles win (1-1)
Week 3: at Dallas Cowboys
Dak Prescott is back and expected to make the season opener, which means (pending no injuries) he will be present when Philadelphia visits Dallas. This will be a tall task for Hurts and the remainder of the Philadelphia Eagles, who will still be trying to find their groove. The Eagles haven’t won at AT&T Stadium since 2017, and unfortunately, I don’t think 2021 is their year either.
Prediction: Eagles lose (1-2)
Week 4: vs. Kansas City Chiefs
This will be a cool game to watch (win or lose). Fans will not only get to see head coach Andy Reid again, but the Kelce brothers will go head-to-head, and Patrick Mahomes will play in Philadelphia for the first time. The Chiefs are favored to win the Super Bowl this year, so the Eagles should use this game as a learning experience.
Prediction: Eagles lose (1-3)
Week 5: at Carolina Panthers
If Tony Romo needed an example to go with his statement, this is it. The Panthers won’t expect much from Philadelphia, which will give the Eagles an advantage. Sirianni will roll the tapes back from the last few weeks and make the changes necessary to put a win under their belt in Week 5.
Prediction: Eagles win (2-3)
Week 6: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The returning Super Bowl champs are headed to Philadelphia. Tom Brady has gone 12-3 during Thursday Night Football, and the Buccaneers will give the Eagles a run for their money like the Chiefs did. The Eagles’ offense will be on their toes as they look to keep Jalen Hurts safe and sack-free.
Prediction: Eagles lose (2-4)
Week 7: at Las Vegas Raiders
Philadelphia will have a week and a half of rest after taking on Tampa Bay when they visit the Raiders. ESPN has ranked the Raiders at 22 and the Eagles at 25 this season, making it a pretty even playing ground. Philadelphia will have a lot of opportunities to score here.
Prediction: Eagles win (3-4)
Week 8: at Detroit Lions
The Lions’ lack of speed will be apparent in Week 8 against Philadelphia, who has recently acquired many quick and agile players. The Eagles’ offense will have plenty of time to score, and the defense can work on finetuning their skillset.
Prediction: Eagles win (4-4)
Week 9: vs. Los Angeles Chargers
DeSean Jackson will return to Philadelphia, this time sporting a new jersey. Aware of how his former team played, it’s likely he could continue his nasty streak if he remains healthy. The Chargers have also improved their defense which may make things challenging for Jalen Hurts.
Prediction: Eagles lose (4-5)
Week 10: at Denver Broncos
Last week Denver officially announced Teddy Bridgewater as their starting quarterback. However, unfortunately for Bridgewater, oddsmakers predict he is among the likeliest to be benched during the 2021 season. Hurts may not be ranked among the best quarterbacks (yet), but he’ll do well as the Eagles travel cross country.
Prediction: Eagles win (5-5)
Week 11: vs. New Orleans Saints
The last time the New Orleans Saints faced off against the Eagles, Hurts made his quarterback debut and took a victory back to Philadelphia. New Orleans is without Drew Brees this year, but they have some of the best players at their respective positions. Last season may have just been beginner’s luck…
Prediction: Eagles lose (5-6)
Week 12: at New York Giants
This game has Boston Scott’s name written all over it. The running back has a thing for a strong performance when it has to do with the Giants or at the Meadowlands. Saquon Barkley will return for New York; however, the remainder of their offense is a work in progress.
Prediction: Eagles win (6-6)
Week 13: at New York Jets
A back-to-back game in the Meadowlands for Philadelphia. Last month, ESPN ranked the Jets as the No. 2 most improved team; however, they still fall to the bottom in terms of power rankings. The Eagles have never lost to the Jets, and though anything is possible, I wouldn’t bet against it this year.
Prediction: Eagles win (7-6)
Week 14: BYE
Week 15: vs. Washington Football Team
Washington won the NFC East last season with a 7-9 record, which is terrible. They will start quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, but Philadelphia is coming off a long bye week and will be ready to go.
Prediction: Eagles win (8-6)
Week 16: vs. New York Giants
A four-week gap separates these teams from playing each other again. I think the Eagles go into this game overconfident. Given their injury history, it’s also likely the team will have to resort to backups. The Giants will be looking for a comeback and get it.
Prediction: Eagles lose (8-7)
Week 17: at Washington Football Team
Washington will have home-field advantage, and I think Philadelphia will continue to struggle coming off a bad week that could have been a win. The depth Washington has in their wide receiver position will prevail.
Prediction: Eagles lose (8-8)
Week 18: vs. Dallas Cowboys
Philadelphia will not finish their season-ending losing, especially at home, and even more so to the Dallas Cowboys. The Eagles will pull out all the stops, and Hurts will look to prove himself against one of the top-rated quarterbacks in the NFL.
Prediction: Eagles win (9-8)