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Eagles are loaded up for Super Bowl repeat

A view from the end zone, as the Eagles prepare to take on the Washington Redskins on Monday Night football. — by Jeffrey Taviano
A view from the end zone, as the Eagles prepare to take on the Washington Redskins on Monday Night football. — by Jeffrey Taviano

Phinally! Eagles fans rejoiced after winning Super Bowl 52 against the New England Patriots 41-33 in an exciting shootout. Philadelphia is coming off of its best season in franchise history and could perhaps be better in 2018…That’s right, better!

The Eagles will be returning star quarterback Carson Wentz who was having an MVP caliber season before his injury. He also set the Eagles franchise record for passing touchdowns at 33 with three games to spare. If the birds lose Wentz to another injury, the Eagles have Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles to back him up. The Eagles will also have future Hall of Fame left tackle Jason Peters, elusive running back Darren Sproles, star linebacker Jordan Hicks, and cornerback Sidney Jones who was rated as the top cornerback in the 2016 draft returning from injury.

The Eagles also brought in a few weapons in defensive tackle Michael Bennett, wide receiver Mike Wallace, and second-round pick tight end Dallas Goedert.

Let’s see how the Eagles stack up against their opponents.

Fans are in for a treat in week one. The Atlanta Falcons visit Lincoln Financial Field in a rematch of last year’s divisional round. That game ended in exciting fashion as the Eagles defense made a stand with their backs to the end zone. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan lofted a pass to star receiver Julio Jones only to have it go through his hands. The Eagles were able to run out the clock and seal the game. Expect another tight battle on prime time, however, the Falcons always struggle in Philly, and it won't be any different this time. Eagles 24, Falcons 20.

The first road test for the Eagles won’t be much of a test at all. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be without their quarterback Jameis Winston who will be serving a three-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. The Bucs offense stalls out in this one. Eagles 26, Buccaneers 19.

Competition won’t get any more difficult for the birds in week three. The Indianapolis Colts come to town, and the Eagles will see their former offensive coordinator Frank Reich on the opposing sideline. Reich was hired as the Colts head coach in the offseason after Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels unexpectedly declined the job. Colts quarterback Andrew Luck will likely have rust to shake off after his long injury absence. Eagles 27, Colts 17

For winning the Super Bowl, the Eagles schedule won’t be as grueling as it could be, however, still more difficult than 2017. The Tennessee Titans are next up for the birds, and although they were a playoff team a year ago, and have the weapons to compete… I expect some learning pains from their new head coach Mike Vrabel. Eagles 25, Titans 19.

The Eagles will be tested in week five. The Minnesota Vikings return, and bring their No. 1 ranked defense with them. Don’t expect a 38-7 blowout like in the NFC Championship game. The Vikings will have a healthy rushing attack with Dalvin Cook. The Eagles will see a familiar foe at quarterback for the Vikings in Kirk Cousins who was the quarterback of the NFC East Redskins from 2012-2017. The ruckus crowd from the NFC Championship game should make an impact on this game, and Kirk Cousins doesn’t handle pressure very well. Eagles 22, Vikings 21.

Week six will be a short one for the birds. They travel two hours north to the Meadowlands to take on their NFC East rival the New York Giants. This game will be won in the trenches, as the Eagles defensive line will feast on the porous offensive line of the Giants. Eagles 26, Giants 16.

Cam Newton will lead the Carolina Panthers into Philly in week seven, and they will have former Eagle Torrey Smith split out wide against his former team. That being said, the Eagles handled the Panthers in 2017 fairly well despite having 10 penalties called on them, to just one against the Panthers. The birds’ defense will annihilate Newton. Eagles 23, Panthers 10.

Fish and Chips anyone? How about cereal and football? For fans in the states, week eight will begin at 9:30 a.m., as the Eagles will take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in London. I am not a fan of the London games. Preseason games are one thing, but to force fans to spend big money to travel overseas, and everyone else who can't afford the trip to wake up early on a Sunday morning and watch the game from home is not the American football dream. The Jags are used to playing overseas by now, and know how to prepare for London games. Preparation will be key for the Jags in handing the birds their first loss. Jaguars 23, Eagles 20.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz.
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz.

After returning from London, the Eagles will have two weeks to prepare for the Cowboys. Dallas has yet to replace star wide receiver Dez Bryant, while quarterback Dak Prescott hasn’t been able to do much once the running game gets stuffed. Expect a well-rested Eagles defense to force Prescott into passing situations where the secondary will be waiting with open arms. Eagles 31, Cowboys 20.

Carson Wentz will have his toughest road test of the season in week 11. The Eagles travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints inside the Superdome. The loud crowd noise may frustrate young Wentz into making unaffordable mistakes. The offense will need to be on its best game to keep up with Drew Brees and company. Saints 36, Eagles 30.

The Eagles will be happy to return to their home crowd in week 12 which was picked No. 3 in the NFL by sports analytics researcher Mike Lewis. The Eagles will host the Giants who haven’t won at the Linc since 2013. The birds have won 8 of their last 10 against the boys in blue, and will look to continue their dominance over New York. Eagles 37, Giants 14.

It won’t be until week 13 when the Eagles and Redskins first meet. The Redskins will have a new face under center with former Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith. He will pose a different threat than former QB Kirk Cousins, and in my opinion will be a lot more dangerous. The Eagles can’t afford to make mistakes in this one. I expect Wentz to step up in this NFC East battle, and show why he’s the best quarterback in the division. Eagles 26, Redskins 20.

The Eagles will be flying high in week 14 with their eyes on the top seed in the NFC. Prescott will continue to struggle to move the ball against the Eagles top-notch defense, and eventually, Wentz will find his rhythm and dominate in Dallas. Perhaps his new tight end Dallas Goedert will catch the first touchdown. Wouldn’t that be something? Eagles 30, Cowboys 14.

Up next will be a trip to Los Angeles where Carson Wentz tore his ACL while diving into the end zone. There may be some jitters for Wentz as he takes on one of the league’s best pass rushes in a Sunday night battle. It won’t be the Eagles night in LA. Hopefully, the Eagles can come out healthy. Rams 32, Eagles 28.

In week 16 the Eagles will face an elusive quarterback in Texans Deshaun Watson. Fortunately, the Eagles will have a very cold December afternoon on their side, and typically dome teams don’t do well in cold weather environments late in the season. The cold air should keep the ball on the ground, and out of the hands of Texans star receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Eagles 28, Texans 20.

To end the season, the birds will head to Washington. The Redskins will be fighting for their playoff lives, while the Eagles maybe resting starters with their playoff placement likely sealed. The birds will be looking to leave Washington injury free. Redskins 19, Eagles 13.

At the end of the season, the Eagles will be in position at 12-4 to make a deep postseason run, and perhaps repeat as Super Bowl Champions. It won’t be easy against a stacked NFC, however, the Eagles made the necessary offseason moves to compete in 2018.

This article was originally published on @taviano1027