Philadelphia Eagles 2023 season preview and predictions
This appeared in the original VSiN NFL Betting Guide released on June 29, 2023.
Dave Tuley: The defending NFC champions are the second choice at +650 in the Super Bowl futures at DraftKings behind the Chiefs at +600. They’re also the NFC favorite at +250. After going 13-4 last season to secure the NFC’s No. 1 seed and home-field advantage, their Over/Under season win total is set at 11.5.
The Eagles averaged 29.1 points per game last season (second only to the Chiefs), led by Jalen Hurts, who moved into the upper echelon of NFL quarterbacks and into the MVP race with his dual-threat stats of 3,701 passing yards for 22 TDs and just 6 INTs, plus another 760 rushing yards and 13 more TDs. Hurts ranked fourth in QBR at 66.4.
Philadelphia lost Miles Sanders’ team-leading 1,269 rushing yards and 11 TDs (though Hurts led the team in the latter category) as he left for Carolina, but they should still be in great shape with a deep backfield (maybe the deepest in the league) that adds D’Andre Swift from Detroit, Rashaad Penny from Seattle in addition to holdovers Kenneth Gainwell, Byron Scott and maybe even Trey Sermon.
Hurts again has a solid receiving corps with WRs A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith and Olamide Zaccheaus (from Atlanta) battling Quez Watkins for the No. 3 slot, plus TE Dallas Goedert.
The Eagles had one of the most-respected defenses in the scoring-happy NFL last season, allowing 19.8 points per game (ranking No. 7). It didn’t come through in the 38-35 Super Bowl loss to the Chiefs, but Patrick Mahomes does that to a lot of defenses. Philadelphia might be even stronger this season with the addition of two first-round draft picks from Georgia’s defense: DT Jalen Carter (who some regard as the steal of the draft at No. 9) and edge rusher Nolan Smith.
Javon Hargrave is gone, but Carter should fit right in with Fletcher Cox, Josh Sweat and the rest of the defensive line. Hassan Reddick led the Eagles with 16 sacks last season and should benefit from the addition of Smith. The secondary should again be strong (and it makes it easier with such a strong front seven) with CBs Darius Slay and James Bradberry, though the team’s weakest link could be their safeties Terrell Edmunds and Reed Blankenship.
On paper, the Eagles look every bit like one of the best teams in the NFL, so their short future-book odds seem justified as well as the Over/Under Season Wins of 11.5 after going 14-3 last year. However, there’s such a thing as the “Super Bowl loser hangover” (though we saw it more last year from the Super Bowl-winning Rams than the losing Bengals), and the Eagles will certainly get everyone’s best effort on every given Sunday. They’ll be sizable favorites in their first couple of games, including -6 vs. the Vikings in Week 1, but there are landmines along the way. The Eagles have a brutal stretch starting with a Week 8 home game vs. their biggest NFC East rival, the Cowboys, and then after their bye, they visit the Chiefs, host the Bills and 49ers and then visit the Cowboys. RECOMMENDATION: Under 11.5
This appeared in the Updated VSiN NFL Betting Guide released on August 31, 2023.
Michael Lombardi: In 2022, Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts threw six passes in the preseason and completed every one for 80 yards and a touchdown. This preseason, Hurts never saw the field, and why would he? He demonstrated last year he was exceptional at running the six-back offense and making plays with his arm and feet. His accuracy has improved from 26.7% in his rookie season of missing open targets to 14.2% last year. This improvement in his ability to make tight-window throws makes the Eagles' offense so hard to slow down.
They have talent on all levels, from their line to skill players, and it’s highly unlikely they will fall prey to the Super Bowl loss hangover. The Eagles will have two new coordinators to start the season but seemingly have no issues getting their team ready to play their best football in September. Last season, they played a soft schedule. On paper this year, the schedule will be more challenging, and the Eagles are good enough to meet that challenge.
Player to Watch: DT Jalen Carter
Many viewed Jalen Carter as the top defensive prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft, but an off-field incident caused him to slide a bit on draft night. But Carter didn’t end up falling too far, as the Eagles took him with the ninth pick in the draft. And the former Georgia defensive lineman looks like he’ll be a star early in his career. Carter absolutely blew up the Philadelphia offensive line in training camp, and that dominance carried over to the preseason. Carter didn’t play much in two preseason games, but he did enough to earn the second-highest PFF grade amongst rookies. And the eye test backed that up, with Carter looking quick off the line and living in the opponent's backfields. He should be a gamewrecker for a Philadelphia defense that is already pretty loaded. - Zachary Cohen
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