The Philadelphia Eagles Are Legit Super Bowl Contenders
It seems like a distant memory when the Philadelphia Eagles were a good football team without dysfunction, but it was just 2017 when Doug Pederson coached the team to its first Super Bowl (with Nick Foles under center no less). The Eagles have made the playoffs in three of the four years since then, but it doesn’t feel that way.
Philadelphia finished 4-11-1 in 2020, but the team improved under first-year head coach Nick Sirianni and rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts in 2021. It finished the season 9-8, barely sneaking into the playoffs before losing a Wild Card game 31-15 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Through three weeks of the 2022 NFL season, the Eagles are 3-0 and one of only two teams still undefeated with the other being the Miami Dolphins. Philadelphia was a +9000 favorite to win the Super Bowl immediately following last year’s Super Bowl, but since then have dramatically improved its offense and have looked impressive through three games. Now, the Eagles have the third-shortest odds to win Super Bowl 56 at +900.
While it’s easy to talk about the performance of several key players on the Eagles, the team’s light schedule is a major reason they could be legitimate Super Bowl contenders. Philadelphia plays the Jacksonville Jaguars this Sunday and while second-year QB Trevor Lawrence is showing signs of improvement, that still should be an easy win for Sirianni and co.
From there, Philadelphia plays the Arizona Cardinals, and Dallas Cowboys, and both teams have been dealing with injuries and will be without their star offensive players (DeAndre Hopkins and Dak Prescott). After a bye in Week 7, the Eagles play the Pittsburgh Steelers, Houston Texans, Washington Commanders, and Indianapolis Colts. It isn’t until Week 12 when they have a tougher challenge against the Green Bay Packers.
The Eagles then close out their season with games against the Tennessee Titans, New York Giants, Chicago Bears, Cowboys, New Orleans Saints, and New York Giants. That is the easiest schedule in the league – no Bills, Dolphins, Chiefs, Buccaneers, Chargers, Rams, or Ravens.
Hurts is Playing His Way into MVP Discussion
Hurts showed flashes in his rookie season but there were still some questions about his long-term potential heading into the 2022 season. Those questions have largely been answered through three weeks and Hurts is already an MVP candidate.
The 24-year-old has thrown for more than 240 yards in each of his first three starts and already has 167 yards rushing (55.7 yards per game, a new career high). More importantly, he’s shown improvements in connecting with receivers down the field, which is clearly helped by the addition of AJ Brown. Hurts already has five passes of at least 40 yards this season, the same number he had all of last year.
Back in February, Hurts was +4500 to win NFL MVP. He now has the third-shortest odds at +700, behind only Patrick Mahomes (+550) and Josh Allen (+300).
Defense Wins Championships
While the offense is generating a lot of the hype, the Eagles’ defense has been stingy through the first three weeks, allowing only 50 points and recording five turnovers. The defense has allowed only three touchdowns compared to four interceptions.
Philadelphia’s pass rush is its lone weakness at this point as it ranks 30th in yards per attempt at 5.4, but that can be cleaned up.
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