Super Bowl hangover or not, Philadelphia's title defense did not go as planned last season. The Eagles went 9-7 and beat Chicago on the road in the Wild Card Round, but ultimately the defending champions were undone by a combination of inconsistency on both sides of the ball and injury.
Carson Wentz is back in the spotlight as he saw a second straight season cut short by injury. This time it was a back injury that limited him to just 11 games. It didn't prevent the team from committing big money to their franchise quarterback this offseason and with Super Bowl MVP and Philly folk hero Nick Foles now in Jacksonville, there's even more pressure on Wentz to not only stay healthy but also return to the MVP-caliber form he showed in 2017 before tearing his ACL in Week 13.
If the Eagles want to get to back to the Super Bowl, they need to find a way to run the ball more effectively (30th in the NFL in rushing offense in 2018) and hope the defense can find its championship form once again. Changes were made on both sides of the ball in the offseason to address these areas.
Schedule-wise, Philadelphia figures to battle Dallas for supremacy in the NFC East while crossover play with the NFC North and AFC East means the Eagles will get a rematch of the teams they beat in their two most recent playoff victories — the Bears and Patriots.
Is Philadelphia a legitimate contender to get back to the Super Bowl? Athlon Sports asked several experts to share their predictions for just how the Eagles' season will play out and what the team's record will be when all is said and done.
Philadelphia Eagles Game-by-Game Predictions for 2019
Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer)
The Super Bowl window is still open in Philly and a lot of that has to do with Carson Wentz hopefully staying healthy for a full year. He’s got a ton of weapons for what should be one of the top offenses in the league and while there are enough questions up front, the overall roster is one of the best in the NFC. It will be interesting to see if Doug Pederson changes his aggressive nature any without backup Nick Foles hanging around but this is still a team plenty capable of making it back to the final game if they can hold up in the trenches.
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
The Philadelphia-Dallas clash for the top spot in the NFC East will be one of the NFL's best division battles in the 2019 season. Assuming the Eagles can keep Carson Wentz in the lineup for all 16 games, I like Philadelphia's chances to win the East. Wentz's health is even more critical after Nick Foles left for Jacksonville, and Nate Sudfeld suffered an injury in the preseason. The roster is stocked with talent at the skill positions, and better luck in the health department should help improve a leaky pass defense. The schedule isn't too daunting, but the Eagles have road dates at Atlanta, Green Bay, Minnesota and Dallas on tap. And there's an intriguing matchup versus New England slated for Nov. 17. With a manageable schedule and a quarterback entering the prime of his career, Philadelphia should be among the league's best teams in 2019.
Mark Ross (@AthlonMark)
This is clearly Carson Wentz's team now and while he has to show he can make it through an entire season healthy, I like the Eagles' chances of making another Super Bowl run. Nick Foles' departure makes it imperative Wentz avoids the significant injury that has ended each of his past two campaigns, the supporting cast around him is stronger compared to the 2018 team. Some breaks in the health department, especially on defense, will certainly help but improved depth at certain positions should make it easier for this team to weather some injuries. Philadelphia will battle Dallas for the top spot in the NFC East but I also expect these Eagles to join the likes of the Rams, Saints and Bears and be part of the conversation when it comes to leading contenders to represent the NFC in Super Bowl LIV.