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January 12, 2023

Tyrone Johnson: Who was the most wrong about the Eagles?

The Eagles have completed the best regular season in franchise history with a 14-3 record. Jalen Hurts was an incredible 14-1 as a starter. While Patrick Mahomes will likely win league MVP due to another 5,000-yard passing season, I still believe Hurts is the real MVP. 

There were franchise records set all over the place. AJ Brown, Devonta Smith, the offense, the defensive line. It has never been as good going into the playoffs as it is right now. Most fans expected the Eagles to be good, and many thought they would win the division. Not many expected the Eagles to win an NFC East that boasts three playoff teams and is the best division football. Don’t feel bad though, many others were far more wrong than you or I.

I picked the Eagles to win the division, but with 10-11 wins. I thought Hurts would improve, but I didn’t think he would play with an MVP caliber. Johnathan Gannon has been much better than I expected as well. I do all of this to point at myself as we search for those who were far more wrong than I. 

Yahoo! Sports predicted that the Eagles would finish 2nd in the NFC East to the Cowboys with a 9-8 record. That included losses to the Vikings, Cardinals, Texans, Colts, and Packers. Some of this is understandable, but three losses in four games to the Texans, Colts, and Packers? That was never going to happen and that isn’t hindsight.

You should be feeling better already and this is just an appetizer.

The Sporting News had the Eagles 2nd to the Cowboys at 10-7 with Dallas finishing 11-6. They got it right about Hurts having everything he needed to take a step. Where they were most wrong though, other than about the division was when they said this about the Eagles defense that led the NFL in sacks — with 15 more than any other team. 

“The defensive potential is more solid than spectacular.” 

Tell that to the best defensive line in 40 years and the best outside corner pairing in franchise history.

At Sports Illustrated, only one of their experts picked the Eagles to be a top two seed. That was the great former NFL executive and local product Andrew Brandt. That is balanced by the fact that Michael Rosenberg picked the Eagles to miss the playoffs altogether with both the Cowboys and Giants finishing ahead of them in the standings. 

While he was correct that the Giants would be better than expected, he was either misinformed or a hater when it comes to the Eagles. Rosenberg also had Russell Wilson as his league MVP, but let’s stay focused.

The analytical community were also very wrong about the Eagles. In the preseason, FiveThirtyEight had the following NFC teams ranked above the Eagles. The Packers, Rams, 49ers, and Cowboys. So, in real life the Eagles finished 1st, but the computers had them as the 5th seed. Again, many of us got the win total wrong, but what is what the obsession with the Cowboys? Machines should not be as annoying as the local Cowboys fans. These computers didn’t even exist in 1995, why are they so excited about the VHS era? 

As I combed through all the preseason projections, the person who was most wrong about the Eagles in the entire country was Chris Simms from NBC Sports. He had Hurts ranked 25th at his position in the NFL coming into the season. That was one year after not having him in his top 40. Some that were ranked ahead of Hurts included Zach Wilson at 22, Daniel Jones at 21, Jimmy Garoppolo at 20, Carson Wentz at 19, Mac Jones at 18, Baker Mayfield at 17, Matt Ryan at 14, Kyler Murray at 12, and Dak Prescott at 9. 

I am being generous only pointing these terrible mistakes out. I feel guilty writing about him because he is far more troll than man but come on! Carson Wentz? Baker Mayfield? Zach Wilson? This wasn’t just very wrong, but it is downright disrespectful. Nobody in the Philadelphia area or the country was as wrong as the lesser Simms. When you add in the fact that he also said that the Eagles would be good with Gardner Minshew when hating on Hurts’ MVP candidacy, we have a new full-fledged villain. 

The bandwagon should be open to everyone in the area so don’t worry if you were wrong about the Eagles this season. A lot of “experts” were far worse. 

Tyrone Johnson is the host of "The Best Show Ever?" on 97.5 The Fanatic, airing Monday through Friday from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. 

You can follow him on Twitter: @TyJohnsonNews