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July 01, 2024

10 reasons the Eagles can win the Super Bowl

A look at what needs to happen for the Eagles to hoist the Lombardi Trophy next winter.

Eagles NFL
Jalen-Hurts-Nick-Sirianni-Eagles-Seahawks-12.1823-NFL.jpg Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports

Nick Sirianni and Jalen Hurts

Last week, we listed 10 reasons why the Philadelphia Eagles' 2024 season could go badly as part of our Dumpster Fire series. If I'm being honest, it was pretty easy coming up with 10 reasons. Here we'll do the opposite, as we'll take a look at 10 reasons why the Eagles could win the Super Bowl.

1) Jalen Hurts

Hurts' first four seasons in the NFL, in fewer than 15 words each:

• 2020: Weird COVID season, took over flailing team for Carson Wentz.
• 2021: Substantial improvement, led a run-heavy, physical offense, earned another tryout season.
• 2022: MVP runner-up, arguably the best player on the field during the Super Bowl.
• 2023: Regression, both team-wide and individually. Leadership called into question.

There are legitimate questions as to whether his personality type can work in a leadership role in the NFL, but his want to be great has never been in question. Hurts didn't suddenly become a bad quarterback. He's a weapon with his legs and he can continue to grow as a passer after a down year. He and the coaching staff will be under intense pressure to fix what went wrong in 2023.

People have bet against Hurts before when he was at low points in his career, both in college and in the pros. He has responded well to adversity in the past. Beware betting against him.

2) Even without Jason Kelce they should still have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL

After Jason Kelce's retirement the offensive line will now look something like this:

 Jordan MailataLandon Dickerson Cam Jurgens Tyler Steen or Mekhi Becton Lane Johnson 

Mailata and Johnson are easily the best offensive tackle duo in the NFL, while Dickerson has been to two straight Pro Bowls. That's a great start.

At center, there'd probably be a lot more excitement for Jurgens and his skill set if he weren't replacing one of the best centers in NFL history. He was solid enough at RG last year (no penalties, no sacks allowed, per PFF), while playing out of position.

Right guard is up for grabs between Steen, a second-year pro, and Becton, a veteran reclamation project. Most teams have multiple unsettled / less than ideal O-line spots. The Eagles just have the one, with reasonably encouraging enough options to fill it.

3) A.J. Brown is a star and DeVonta Smith should be entering his prime

Just for fun, I tried picked out what I think are the best wide receiver duos in the NFL. There are a lot of great ones. My top 10, in order of combined receiving yards in 2023:

 WR duoRec Yards YPC TD 
Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle (Dolphins) 191 2813 14.7 17 
DJ Moore and Keenan Allen (Bears) 204 2607 12.8 15 
 A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith (Eagles)187 2522 13.5 14 
Stefon Diggs and Nico Collins (Texans) 187 2480 13.3 16 
Mike Evans and Chris Godwin (Buccaneers) 162 2279 14.1 15 
Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk (49ers) 135 2234 16.5 14 
Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua (Rams) 164 2223 13.6 11 
DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett (Seahawks) 145 2008 13.8 13 
 Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison (Vikings)138 1985 14.4 15 
Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins (Bengals) 142 1872 13.2 12 

Brown is coming off two straight 1400-plus yard seasons. Smith is heading into his fourth season after averaging 1059 receiving yards per season over his first three. They are star players who give the Eagles big play ability in every game they play.

4) The run game should be better

In 2023, the Eagles had opportunities to get into their four minute offense and close out games that they eventually lost to the Jets, Seahawks, and Cardinals. Against other opponents, like the 49ers for example, they tried to run early, failed, got behind on the scoreboard, and then had skewed run:pass ratios because of the game script, leading fans to absurdly chant "RUN THE BALL!"

In 2021 and 2022, the Eagles were able to choke out opponents with the run game late in games when they had the lead. In 2023, the trio of D'Andre Swift, Kenny Gainwell, and Boston Scott left first downs on the field. 

Saquon Barkley is a much better player than any of the backs the Eagles employed in 2023, and he'll likely be a much better closer late in games.

It's also probably worth noting that Hurts suffered a knee injury in the Eagles' win over the Dolphins last season, and didn't look the same as a runner thereafter. While there should be concerns about Hurts staying healthy (he got banged up each of the last two seasons), he should be a more effective runner at least to start the 2024 season.

5) There is better depth in the secondary

The Eagles' secondary play was atrocious in 2023, and the Eagles spent premium resources to fix it.

In free agency they added old friend Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, an ultra-versatile DB who can play safety and slot corner at a high level. They also spent their first two picks of the 2024 draft on corners Quinyon Mitchell and Cooper DeJean.

And finally, Isaiah Rodgers and Kelee Ringo still have plenty to prove, but they both had promising showings in spring practices.

In 2023, guys like Bradley Roby, Eli Ricks, Josh Jobe, Mario Goodrich, Mekhi Garner, Josiah Scott, and Justin Evans all had to play meaningful snaps. A lot will have to go wrong for guys like that to have to play meaningful snaps in 2024.

6) There are plenty of breakout candidates

In 2022, the Eagles got breakout seasons out of Jalen Hurts, Javon Hargrave, Landon Dickerson, Josh Sweat, T.J. Edwards, and even some rebound seasons from vets like James Bradberry, for example. There weren't many people forecasting that.

There are some who are waiting anxiously for players like Jordan Davis, Milton Williams, Nakobe Dean, Nolan Smith, Cam Jurgens, Tyler Steen, Kelee Ringo, and Sydney Brown, to name a few, to step up and become impact players. Jalen Carter can also certainly take his game to the next level and become a force in the Eagles' defense. 

Some will disappoint. Some will step up. But there are a lot of players who reasonably could make leaps in 2024.

7) Nick Sirianni

For a while, Sirianni had universal approval after inheriting a 4-11-1 team, and then winning 33 of his first 45 regular season games (0.733). 

And then the epic collapse happened, and yada yada yada he's on the hot seat heading into 2024.

Sirianni's sideline antics were fun while the team was winning, less so when they weren't. The blowback was bound to happen eventually.

Sirianni deserves plenty of criticism for the 2023 season, most notably for making the asinine switch from Sean Desai to Matt Patricia, as well as his offensive scheme, which to his credit he admitted had become stale. He was willing to swallow his ego and give up play calling duties to Shane Steichen in 2021, and in 2024 he'll hand over the reigns of the offensive scheme to Kellen Moore, though to be fair in that case that was probably a necessary step to retain his job.

Still, the "CEO coach" is a role that could suit him well, and has worked for other top coaches around the league, like John Harbaugh and Mike Tomlin.

8) They upgraded their coordinators

It will be interesting to see how Kellen Moore's ideas mesh with Sirianni's offensively, but the bar is super low for Kellen Moore to outperform Brian Johnson as the team's new offensive coordinator. It will also be interesting to see how the Eagles' defensive players take to Vic Fangio's no-nonsense coaching style, but Fangio's bar to clear in replacing the combination of Sean Desai and Matt Patricia is buried somewhere deep in the Earth's mantle.

9) Special teams are now a strength

We don't often think of kickers as star players, but Jake Elliott is exactly that. 

In 2023, he missed just two field goal attempts and one PAT. He was 30 of 32 on field goal attempts, including 7 for 8 from beyond 50. Elliott made three monster kicks:

  1. 61 yarder into the wind at the end of the first half against the Vikings.
  2. 54 yarder to beat the Commanders in OT.
  3. 59 yarder in the rain and into the wind to send the Eagles-Bills game to OT.

If he didn't make the kick against the Bills, the Eagles would have lost. If he didn't make the kick against the Commanders, that game probably would have resulted either in a loss or a tie.

He is also a perfect 16 of 16 on field goals in the playoffs, including the biggest kick in Eagles history in the Super Bowl.

Over the last three seasons (playoffs included), he has made 84 of 92 (0.913) field goal attempts (15 of 17 from 50+), and is 153 of 156 (0.981) on PATs. 

Beyond Elliott, Braden Mann turned in a really good season after taking over for Arryn Siposs. He finished eighth in punter EPA. He averaged 49.8 yards per punt, with a very good 43.8 net average. He could punt for distance as well as in "pin deep" situations, as he had just one touchback vs. 15 punts inside the 20.

In the return game, the Eagles rarely tried to return kickoffs, but Britain Covey was arguably the best punt returner in the NFL in 2024.

The Eagles as a team finished first in special teams DVOA. Michael Clay did a fantastic job turning the special teams units form a weakness in 2022 to a strength in 2023.

10) The NFC still kinda stinks

In the NFC East, the Cowboys are coming off three straight 12-5 seasons, and they have won two of the last three NFC East titles. However, they had a brutal offseason and their arrow could be pointing down in 2024. It was really easy to come up with good reasons for their potential demise while writing their dumpster fire edition this offseason. It's usually pretty hard. Meanwhile, the Giants are still trotting out Daniel Jones, and while the Commanders improved their roster this offseason, they still pretty clearly have a long way to go before they can be considered contenders.

Elsewhere in the NFC, the 49ers remain one of the best teams in the NFL, while the Lions and Packers are young, ascending teams that did some damage in the playoffs last season.

But when you look at the quartet of the Cowboys, 49ers, Lions, and Packers, they just aren't close to the same level as the cream of the crop in the AFC, where teams like the Chiefs, Ravens, Bills, and Bengals reside, not to mention other potential up-and-comers like the Texans, Dolphins, and Browns.

You can have a lot of question marks and still contend in the NFC.

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