Tuesday, August 30, 2016

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES - 2016 Season Preview

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES                                                                           

2015 Record:  7-9-0

Head Coach:  Doug Pederson

New Faces for 2016 - LB Nigel Bradham, QB Chase Daniel, WR Chris Givens, OL Stefen Wisniewski, DB Rodney McLeod, OL Brandon Brooks

OFFENSE:  Sam Bradford (3,725 yards, 19 touchdowns, 14 interceptions) is back for his second season as the Eagles' starting quarterback. Top rookie pick Carson Wentz (North Dakota State) will be looked at with great interest as the team's future leader. Chase Daniel is insurance in case Bradford is out for any prolonged period with injuries.
Ryan Mathews (539 yards, 5.1 ypc average, six TD) should be the main running back now that DeMarco Murray is with the Tennessee Titans. Kenjon Barner (4.4 ypc in limited action) is being looked at as the primary backup while Darren Sproles (317 rush yards, 3.8 ypc, three TD) will continue his role as third down back and as an excellent receiver out of the backfield (55 receptions, 388, one TD). Sproles also led the NFL in punt return yardage and had two returns for touchdowns last season.
Jordan Matthews (85, 997, eight TD) is the Eagles top wide receiver and teams with Nelson Agholor (23, 283, one TD) and/or Josh Huff (27, 312, three TD) to make up the core of the unit. Chris Givens is a speedster (19 receptions with 18.2 ypc average and one TD with Baltimore) who may see action as well. The tight ends are Zach Ertz (75, 853, two TD) and Brent Celek, who had 27 catches for 398 yards and three touchdowns.

DEFENSE:  Brandon Graham (6 1/2 QB sacks) and Connor Barwin (seven sacks) are the defensive ends in the 4-3 set. The tackles are Fletcher Cox (9 1/2 sacks) and Bennie Logan. Others in the mix up front include Vinny Curry (3 1/2 sacks), Beau Allen, Mike Martin and Bryan Braman.
The linebacking unit has Mychal Kendricks (three sacks) and Nigel Bradham on the outside while Jordan Hicks (two interceptions) is the middle linebacker. Najee Goode and Deontae Skinner are the main backups.
The cornerbacks are Eric Rowe and Nolan Carroll (two picks) along with safeties Rodney McLeod and Malcolm Jenkins (two INT) in the secondary.  Others looking to make an impact are Leodis McKelvin, Ron Brooks, Chris Maragos and Ed Reynolds.

OUTLOOK:  After the debacle of last season when Chip Kelly was sent packing prior to the final game of the season, the Eagles hired Doug Pederson as Head Coach in the off-season in the hopes he can bring some stability back to the team after Kelly lost them, evidenced by harsh criticism from former key players Kelly traded away.
The offense was average at best last season with Bradford directing the way. An improved running game is crucial to balancing the offense this season.
If RB Ryan Mathews can have a big season running the ball, it would really bolster the Philadelphia offense, which scored 23.6 points per game a year ago.
The defense has to get better, particularly against the run, where they ranked last in the NFL, giving up 135 yards per game. The defense overall was 30th in the league, allowing 402 yards per game while giving up 27 points per game.
The NFC East appears to be a wide open race and if the Eagles can get off to a high flying start, it would benefit them as they have three home games at the end of schedule against their division foes. It won't be easy as the team adjusts to a new system on offense while looking for vast improvement from their defense. A playoff appearance is not impossible, but it's not likely to happen for the Eagles this season.

Fearless forecast -  5-11 this year

Week 1 - vs. Cleveland
Week 2 - at Chicago
Week 3 - vs. Pittsburgh
Week 4 - BYE
Week 5 - at Detroit
Week 6 - at Washington
Week 7 - vs. Minnesota
Week 8 - at Dallas
Week 9 - at NY Giants
Week 10 - vs. Atlanta
Week 11 - at Seattle
Week 12 - vs. Green Bay
Week 13 - at Cincinnati
Week 14 - vs. Washington
Week 15 - at Baltimore
Week 16 - vs. NY Giants
Week 17 - vs. Dallas

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