The Philadelphia Eagles have become playoff mainstays since winning Super Bowl LII, albeit perhaps not in the way most fans expected.
With a young franchise quarterback and creative head coach, Philly fans had to imagine more double-digit win seasons for the rest of the decade, but the Eagles have stalled out at 9-7 both of the past two seasons.
Much of the band returns in 2020, so the team's success will likely come down to health once again. Carson Wentz missed eight total games in 2017 and '18 and had a slight drop-off in performance last season when most of his receiving corps got knocked out. DeSean Jackson only lasted one game before hitting the shelf, while Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor were only healthy enough to start 10 games apiece. Tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert also missed a game each.
No matter how full their IR is, the Eagles will have to contend with another challenging first-place schedule. New Orleans and San Francisco will be tough, and the AFC North looks much more formidable than it was last season. Add in the NFC West, and there aren't too many gimmes outside of divisional games against Washington and New York.
An improved defense would go a long way towards keeping them in the playoff hunt. The Eagles' pass defense (19th in the NFL, 241.6 ypg) was their Achilles heel last season, but they traded for All-Pro cornerback Darius Slay. Signing Javon Hargrave in free agency and getting Malik Jackson back from injury could also make life easier on the secondary by boosting the pass rush.
So can the Eagles break out of their 9-7 funk, or might that be enough to top the Cowboys for another NFC East title? Athlon Sports asked several editors to share their predictions for just how Philadelphia's 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 2020
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
It’s a close call between Dallas and Philadelphia for the top spot in the NFC East for 2020. The Eagles have made the playoffs in three consecutive years but are just 18-14 over the last two seasons. Getting back to the Super Bowl starts with quarterback Carson Wentz putting together another healthy year but also needs playmakers to emerge on the outside. Rookie Jalen Reagor could provide some instant help to a receiving corps that needs playmaking ability. The additions of cornerback Darius Slay and lineman Javon Hargrave bolstered a defense that finished 15th in the NFL in points allowed. The pieces are in place for another playoff path, with Wentz’s health and development of the receivers holding the key to another run at the Super Bowl.
Mark Ross (@AthlonMark)
The Eagles haven't been nearly as successful since winning the Super Bowl three seasons ago, but they haven't missed the playoffs since claiming that Lombardi Trophy either. A 9-7 record may not look great but it was enough to get the job done each of the past two seasons and won them the NFC East in 2019. Carson Wentz' health has been a hot-button issue but the reality is the team as a whole could use a little luck in that department. Losing Pro Bowl guard Brandon Brooks to a torn Achilles is not a great start in that regard, but replacing him with Jason Peters is a fine backup plan. Philadelphia was aggressive this offseason in trying to address key areas of need, so it's clear the team doesn't think their championship window is closed just yet. With better health and some immediate contributions from a draft class that boasts plenty of speed, this season should look similar to recent ones under Doug Pederson — battling the Cowboys for supremacy in the NFC East before moving on to the playoffs. It may even feature a few more wins.
Ben Weinrib (@benweinrib)
I'm intrigued by the Eagles' fast-paced offense, with speedy rookie Jalen Reagor brought in, and the return of Jason Peters is crucial to keeping Carson Wentz upright. Still, the team has a tough schedule ahead, which could give Dallas a leg up in the division race. A third straight 9-7 season seems very attainable, though, and with a third wild card added to each league, I would bet on them making the playoffs. In a division with three new head coaches, it's nice to have a bit of stability in Philadelphia.