Are the Philadelphia Eagles Legitimate Playoff Contenders This Year?

Are the Philadelphia Eagles Legitimate Playoff Contenders This Year

No sooner did the fireworks popped and the confetti fell after the Chiefs’ 38-35 victory over the Eagles, did the City of Brotherly Love and major NFL Betting sites immediately place the Eagles as Super Bowl LVIII favorites. The team’s roster, although experiencing some changes during the off season, is still regarded as one of the best in the league, and it shows with the Eagles riding high in the NFC East with a 8-1 record after eking out a win against their bitter division rival, Dallas Cowboys.

The Eagles Soared in the Off Season

While most Super Bowl runners ups usually stand pat in the off season, the Eagles were super aggressive this past NFL free agency and off season. Because the Eagles’ franchise quarterback, Jalen Hurts is the engine in their offense, the Eagles immediately signed Hurts to a massive five-year contract extension.

The Eagles also signed former first round pick and ex-Titans starter, Marcus Mariotta. Mariotta, like Hurts, likes to scramble to keep plays alive, or make something happen out of nothing. In the unfortunate event that Mariotta must step in, hopefully the Eagles won’t have to drastically change their offense since Mariotta is also a scrambler.

With Jalen Hurts fresh off a new contract, he and top receiving threat, A.J. Brown, have made music on the football field. A.J. Brown’s exceptional receiving yards and record-breaking streak highlight his impact on the game. The Eagles’ offensive firepower, supported by talented pass-catching options such as Dallas Goedert, A.J. Brown, and Devonta Smith, is highlighted as a significant strength. Their robust offensive line adds to their offensive prowess.

The Eagles’ Championship-Caliber Defense

Defensively, while not led by the late Defensive Coordinator Jim Johnson’s lock-down and pass-rushing secondary of the early 2000s with, ironically, Andy Reid and current Chief’s coach as the head coach of those Eagles, the 2023 Eagles are commended for their formidable pass rush, which led the league in sacks the previous season. Despite losing some players, the additions of defensive tackle Jalen Carter and linebacker Nolan Smith are seen as valuable reinforcements.

The cornerback position, featuring James Bradberry and Darius Slay, is noted as another area of strength for the team. Darius Slay, fresh off a two-year $42 million contract extension, has been solid as  rock with 33 tackles and two interceptions through nine games. There were doubts about Slay’s future in Philadelphia, especially when it appeared he was going to be released, with permission to seek a trade.

The Eagles Are Playing at a Playoff Level

With the Eagles outlasting the Cowboys, it shows that they are taking the competition seriously. However, the Eagles do have areas of uncertainty, particularly at running back, linebacker, and safety after losing key players in those positions during the off season. Also, the Eagles fans are in for an emotional rollercoaster during a tough four-game stretch in November and December. After their bye, the Eagles battle the Chiefs, the red hot Buffalo Bills, and a 49ers team looking to snap their three-game losing.

Once considered Super Bowl bound, the Eagles shouldn’t take San Francisco lightly. It will be interesting to see if the Eagles come out flat or not against the 49ers. The Eagles battle the Cowboys again on Sunday Night Football in December in a game that might ultimately decide the NFC East and the NFC wild card status.

Ultimately, the Eagles are seen as a well-rounded team with the potential to make another Super Bowl run in the 2023 season. However, like any NFL season, success is never guaranteed, and how the team navigates the challenges and uncertainties throughout the year will determine their actual performance.