Analysts are underestimating the 2020 Eagles

Eliot Shorr-Parks
June 03, 2020 - 9:10 am
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The Eagles are not a perfect team. The offseason has not been a perfect one. 

Still, it is hard to look at where most power rankings have them and not come away with the opinion that many analysts are underestimating the 2020 Eagles. 

A look around most national power rankings shows the Eagles as a middle-of-the-pack team, and almost every single one of them has them behind the Dallas Cowboys. 

A quick look at some of the more prominent rankings: 

Sports Illustrated (13th): Carson Wentz passed for 4,000 yards with 27 touchdowns and only seven interceptions despite a lack of playmakers on the flank. His top two receivers were tight ends and his No. 3 receiver was a running back. And the Eagles still won the NFC East. The offseason goal was to put some speed on the flank and Philly accomplished that this offseason, trading for Marquise Goodwin and drafting Jalen Reagor in the first round. Pro Bowl CB Darius Slay bolsters a Top 10 defense.

Peter King for MMQB (15th): What a hard-to-read team. So many “yeah, buts.” The biggest: Eagles were 5-7 last year and needed to win four in a row to ensure a playoff spot—and did . . . but the beat-up offense scored 10, 9 and 9 points against playoff teams in the last eight games. Everything was a struggle last year. But quarterback Carson Wentz had a mostly redemptive season, playing all 17 games after missing the ends of the previous two years with injuries. Wisely, GM Howie Roseman decided to stock up to help the offense, drafting wideout Jalen Reagor, who needs to be impactful from day one, and quarterback Jalen Hurts, who needs to be impactful in season one. For five years, the Eagles kept hoping Nelson Agholor would be something more than a complementary piece, but he never was. He’s gone, and now Reagor needs to show up from day one. 

ESPN: (6th)… Projected to have 9.1 wins, 66% chance of making the playoffs 

For context, the Cowboys came in 9th in both Peter King’s and Sports Illustrated’s rankings, and were ahead of the Eagles in ESPN’s rankings as well, coming in at 5th. 

Putting the Eagles behind the Cowboys is understandable — the teams were basically dead even last season. Of all the moves either team made, the Cowboys hiring Mike McCarthy feels like the biggest upgrade. He should give them at at least competent coaching in 2020, something they didn’t get under Jason Garrett. 

The idea that the Cowboys are considerably better — like 4-to-5 spots better — than the Eagles in most power rankings is foolish. The Eagles finished last season with a better record than the Cowboys and beat them when it mattered most. The two teams should be considered basically dead even heading into the 2020 season. 

Some of the other teams listed ahead of the Eagles in the power rankings are laughable. 

Peter King has four teams ahead of the Eagles — the Indianapolis Colts, Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys and Las Vegas Raiders — that didn’t have a winning record last season. Sports Illustrated has the Buffalo Bills, who the Eagles beat last season fairly easily, six spots ahead of the Eagles. 

Here is a look at how many combined wins all of those teams have over the last two seasons:

Eagles: 18

Cowboys: 18 

Colts: 17

Steelers: 17

Bills: 16  

Raiders: 11

In fact, since the 2018 season kicked off, only nine teams have more regular-season wins than the Eagles. Only six teams have been in the post season each of the last two seasons like the Eagles. Only three other teams have been in the post season three-straight seasons like the Eagles. 

So while there are certainly some concerns about the 2020 Eagles’ roster, starting with receiver, the bottom line is this — the foundation of the team, from owner Jeffrey Lurie, to general manager Howie Roseman, to head coach Doug Pederson to quarterback Carson Wentz, is one of the strongest in the NFL. That is what matters most in the NFL, and it has what has mattered most over the last few seasons. 

That has been proven each of the last three seasons, and ultimately, once this season is over it will likely be proven true once again. 

That doesn’t mean the Eagles will definitely win the division, or that they will be a 13-win team, but it is very hard to imagine the 2020 season ending without them being one of the teams fighting in the playoffs — and proving most of these power rankings wrong. 

You can reach Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at esp@94wip.com!

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