Just for fun, I’ve decided to take a stab at some predictions for what is usually an unpredictable Philadelphia Eagles season. Who would have thought last year would have turned out like it did?
Michael Vick taking the NFL by storm was obviously the sensation last season. By the same token, the Eagles’ red zone defense was historically bad in allowing opponents to score at a darn-near 100% rate!
Off the top of my head, here are 10 things I can foresee happening this year. 5 are good, 5 are not-so-good. A few may surprise you and a few are sure to be familiar.
So, as I gaze into my crystal ball, here is a glimpse into the future of the 2011 Philadelphia Eagles:
The Eagles will start the season 0-3 and it will be Armageddon in the city of Philadelphia.
My reasoning: There is too much in flux right now with the offensive line. They will need time to gain cohesiveness and play as a unit.
The offensive line is only a part of the total team transformation that has taken place since the end of 2010.
Numerous new coaches, players and schemes are still being formatted together. The kind of change the Eagles have undergone will take time to settle in and the lockout only made things worse in this regard.
The Eagles start with road games against the up-start Rams, Super Bowl contenders in Atlanta and then up to New York for a battle with division battle with the Giants.
Not exactly an easy start. I see three losses in a row. Ugh!
The Eagles will get their season turned around beginning in week four. This starts a three-game stretch against softer opponents in San Francisco, Buffalo and Washington.
This will allow the team to regain some confidence as well as build the much-needed cohesiveness. The pieces begin to fit and the schemes start to make sense.
The Eagles go into their bye week at 3-3.
Michael Vick will get injured. First, let me set this straight. I am not wishing ill-will nor am I trying to “jinx” him. This is a prediction, not what I want to happen.
Vick has only completed one 16-game season in his entire career. With his style of play and the shape the Eagles’ offensive line is in at the moment, the odds are in favor of this unfortunate happening.
The questions will be, how serious and how many games will he miss? Hopefully not too many. But if I were a gambling man, I’d put the over/under at four games.
It will be Mike Kafka who comes in to save the season, not Vince Young. After giving it serious thought and flip-flopping a time or two, Andy Reid will realize that Kafka gives the team a better chance to win.
Kafka fills in for Vick during a four-game stretch and goes 2-2 to keep the Eagles’ season alive.
Then, voila! Kafka follows in the footsteps of A.J. Feeley and Kevin Kolb to become the next hot backup QB on the market next offseason.
During one of the games where Mike Kafka is starting, Alex Henery will miss a potential game-winning field goal (so it’ll be looked at as if Kafka really should have been 3-1 as a starter).
This is where karma comes back to bite the Eagles for giving David Akers the shaft. Heck, the same week where Henery misses a game-winner could be the same week Akers hits a game-winner.
How would that go over in the media?
Nonetheless, Henery is a rookie kicker. He is bound to succumb to the stress and pressure at some point. It will be a disheartening, yet necessary learning experience for him.
The Eagles will lose a game in this manner this year.
Alex Henery will redeem himself by making a clutch kick in an even bigger game later in the season. The kick will be longer and in more difficult conditions (against the Giants in New York perhaps?).
Afterwards, Henery’s game-loser earlier in the season will have been a distant memory. All will be forgiven and Eagles fans will start to feel more comfortable with the rookie.
Andy Reid will continue to call an imbalanced game. This is my “bold prediction” because I know nobody could see this coming, right? Right.
Alas, Reid has a knack for being stubborn with some things and passing the ball all the time is at the top of the list.
It’s hard to argue that he hasn’t been successful in doing so but I still believe he ultimately has to mix in the run a little more consistently in order to allow his teams to take that next step towards a championship.
If you’re familiar with any of my past writings, I analyzed the percentage of true-called running plays by Andy Reid’s offense last season. Vick’s running significantly diluted the Eagles’ overall rushing stats to make it seem they run more than they actually do.
I estimated that their actual pass/run ratio was along the lines of 70/30. When you count Vick’s rushes, the ratio goes to about 57/43.
So get ready for more of the same this season.
Andy Reid will actually improve his running percentage in one area this year: running plays inside the red zone. More specifically, inside the 10 yard-line.
The addition of the 6′, 230 lbs Ronnie Brown will invite Reid to call more power running plays as they get closer to the goal line. This will help make the Eagles offense less predictable once they get into scoring range.
This will make most Eagles fans happy but come to the chagrin of fantasy owners who feel Brown is stealing TDs away from Vick and McCoy. But oh well, beggars can’t be choosers!
This is perhaps the worst. The Eagles will lose the division to the hated Cowboys. And worse yet, the crushing blow comes on their Christmas Eve game in Dallas.
Eagles fans everywhere get a big fat lump of Dallas coal in their stocking for the holiday. It reminds everyone of how they felt at the end of the 2009 season when they lost to Dallas twice in a row to end the year.
A loss in a big game to the Dallas Cowboys would make for the worst holiday ever in Philadelphia.
The loss to Dallas on Christmas Eve didn’t knock them out of the playoffs. The Eagles enter the postseason as the most feared wild-card team in the conference.
Their first matchup is against none other than those hated Cowgirls down in Big D. Revenge is on the minds of players and fans alike.
The Eagles go into Dallas focused and determined. But best of all, they’re angry.
They go on to dominate the game and come away with a big victory. Rob Ryan is last seen sobbing after the game and murmuring something about a “dream team.”
How far will the Eagles go after this? That’s up for you to predict.