Is it Super Bowl or bust for the Eagles?

by Marc Narducci | Sep 8, 2023
Is it Super Bowl or bust for the Eagles?
It’s difficult for a team that loses the Super Bowl to return the next season, but it is also far from impossible. The last Super Bowl losing team to return to the big game the following season is the New England Patriots.

After losing to the Eagles in the Super Bowl following the 2017 regular season, the Pats won the title the next year, beating the Los Angeles Rams, 13-3.

Before that, a Super Bowl losing team hadn’t returned the following year since the Buffalo Bills, who lost four consecutive Super Bowls following the 1990-93 seasons. 

That doesn’t mean it is impossible to return. In fact, the betting community ranks the Eagles high. According to BetMGM, only the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs have a better chance of winning the Super Bowl with Kansas City at +600 and the Eagles at +800.

Eagles fans are just as optimistic, but is it fair to be a Super Bowl win or bust season?

How about answering that question with another – why not?

The Eagles did lose some key players on defense, notably safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and defensive lineman Javon Hargrave now on Detroit and San Francisco, respectively. 

However, they drafted Jalen Carter No. 9 overall. He should make an immediate impact on the defensive line and they still have one of the better cornerback tandems in James Bradberry and Darius Slay. 

The defense likely doesn’t have to be exceedingly great because the Eagles will have one of the top offenses in the NFL.

Jalen Hurts had a breakout season and there is every reason to believe that it can continue. Hurts, who turned 25 on Aug. 7, accounted for 35 touchdowns last season, 22 passing and 13 rushing. He went 14-1 in the regular season and armed with a new $255 million contract, he doesn’t need to worry over a contract extension. 

The Eagles have one of the best receiver duos in A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith. The two combined for 183 receptions for 2,692 yards and 18 touchdowns. In addition, Dallas Godert is certainly one of the top tight ends in the NFC.

The running back position is deep, especially with the addition of D’Andre Swift from the Detroit Lions and Kenneth Gainwell appears ready to take another step up. 

The offensive line led by All-Pros Lane Johnson and Jason Kelce is among the best, if not the No. 1 unit in the NFL. 

Some may be worried that the Eagles are breaking in two new coordinators, Brian Johnson on offense and Sean Desai on defense. Johnson had great chemistry with Hurts as the quarterback coach and that should continue. Desai is replacing Jonathan Gannon, who despite all the top statistics the defensive produced, struggled mightily in his two seasons against elite quarterbacks, with the Super Bowl as a prime example. 

The schedule is no doubt more difficult. The Eagles and their fellow NFC East teams will be playing teams from the AFC East and the NFC West. That means teams like Buffalo, and San Francisco will be on the schedule. In addition, there is a Super Bowl rematch on Nov. 20 at Kansas City.

So the Eagles may not match their 14-3 regular season record of last year, but could be every bit as talented. More importantly, nobody else in the NFC, including San Francisco and Dallas, should, at this point, be ranked ahead of the Eagles. 

It’s a high bar to reach, but the Eagles should have those expectations. They were great last year and have a chance to be better this season.

Photo courtesy Philadelphia Eagles

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Author: Marc Narducci

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