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July 21, 2022

Eytan Shander: What does history say about Eagles' chances of making the Super Bowl?

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Jalen-Hurts-Eagles-Black-Uniform.jpg Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

Eagles QB Jalen Hurts celebrating his touchdown run against the Saints back on Nov. 21, 2021.

I like their chances.

It’s just a far better way to convey the concept of the Philadelphia Eagles actually having a legitimate chance to make the Super Bowl.

The more I bet, the more I encounter people who bet – but win at a much higher clip than you and me. Sponging information is one thing, but trying to understand their process is another, more challenging task. But it’s in this process that history and trend combine to shine a bright light on the Eagles and their chances on making the Super Bowl.

I don’t “know” nor “feel” nor have any “hunch” that the Eagles are going to do something special, rather looking at a couple of key slots on a checklist, then knowing so much of this is going out and having the ball bounce their way. The math, or data, or trend, or anything else you want to call it is at its best when it rules out or limits. One trend is meaningless, but four trends pointing to the same direction should go off like a siren.

Let’s look at the major checklist for winning a Super Bowl then the biggest plus and minus for this Eagles team. You will soon see the group that this team finds itself in, and how easy it will be to knock a couple out of contention. A big part of betting any futures ticket or getting ahead of any prediction is recognizing the value of the prediction will drop as it gets closer to being correct. They currently don’t have the best value to win anything, but they do compared to where they should be by week 6, or week 8, or week 14.

Before we understand the biggest pieces of why the Eagles have a shot to do anything special, let’s give a shout to Mike Vinsmore who put together a ton of valuable information about this upcoming season in his book Week One NFL Winners: 2022 Edition! Sports Betting Secrets and Football Handicapping Tips from a Sports Betting Pro. Mike is super smart and puts in quality time researching the right type of trends and data. If you like being informed, winning money, or need a new book to read – I highly recommend it. The smart stuff below will come from Mike, the commentary will come from me:

Finish at Home

You aren’t going to find any NFL team that has won four road games in a row, so betting on anyone to do that would be foolish. Vinsmore points out that four teams – SF twice – fell short in their quest to win a Super Bowl because they finished the regular season with a road game. Just having that on the schedule could put the Eagles in a spot where they would have to run the table and win four straight road games just to make it to the big game.

15 of the last 18 Super Bowl winners played their last game at home. The kiss of death is playing the final two regular season games on the road, a good indication to fade that team from even making the playoffs. The good news here is the Eagles end with the Saints and Giants, respectively and both at home.

Worth noting: Dallas plays their last two regular season games on the road, so not only will the Cowboys not make it to the Super Bowl, but they also stand a decent shot of missing the playoffs. Good times.

Act Like You’ve Been There Before

The second key element to check off according to Vinsmore is recent playoff experience. It’s nearly as vital as where the schedule has a team finishing its regular season. 

Banking on recent playoff experience is huge in building momentum from year to year, but we see it’s not a long-lasting currency. This also plays nicely with the run that newer coaches have been on – including but not limited to our old friend Doug Pederson – in winning earlier in their tenures. If Nick Sirianni is going to make something special happen in Philadelphia, this would be the year. Things are going to have to happen, improve, just get all around better, but they are not out of anything before the season starts.

Here is the list from Vinsmore of the 14 teams that have the recent playoff experience and finish the regular season at home:

Atlanta

Buffalo

Chicago

Cincinnati

Denver

Green Bay

Indianapolis

Las Vegas

New Orleans

Philadelphia

Pittsburgh

San Francisco

Seattle

Washington

Now… You have already marked a bold line through some of these teams in your head.

We know Washington and their losing record at home just isn’t going to cut it this year. Pittsburgh and Seattle are out with brand new QBs. The Bengals are going to have a major setback if the year-after history for Super Bowl losers tells us anything. Chicago is out, too cold and the QB is shaky. Atlanta and Indy are also out – the Falcons will be better than most predict but not good enough, and Vinsmore does a fantastic job of explaining why the Colts won’t be great either. I’m not putting any money on Jameis Winston to win the Super Bowl. That will never compute with my brain. The one I expect the most pushback on would be the Raiders, but a new standout WR – yes I know, A.J. Brown A.J. Brown – doesn’t do much to improve a team’s W-L record the following season, and it’s still the bloodbath of the AFC West.

That leaves the new-look Denver Broncos, the Niners, Packers, and Bills. All better right now than the Eagles and rightfully so with shorter odds to win the Super Bowl. But that’s really all the Eagles have in their pathway, as they can be the most complete team to benefit from the recent playoff experience.

Getting There vs. Falling Short

The biggest thing the Eagles have going for them is the above history, the trend following younger/newer tenured head coaches making it to the Super Bowl, and the continued enigma that can be the Jalen Hurts-led offense. Hurts doesn’t need to be the best quarterback in the NFL for the Eagles to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. He just needs to maximize his own and other’s talents around him.

Sirianni can’t become enamored with the new shiny toys of the deep ball all day, as the Eagles had tremendous success physically punishing teams on the ground. But it’s super easy to move away from the run, even if it’s working. It’s why NFL coaches make mistakes and lose games - hubris, or idiocy, it’s just moving away from what’s going right in a game – or season. If the Eagles stay true to the ground game, allowing Hurts to extend drives with his own feet, and know off feel – not analytics – of when to strike in the air, then mistakes will be limited by volume alone.

We expect Hurts to improve from last year, but it can only bring this team so far. The one thing that will undoubtedly spell the end for this football team – even more than their own QB’s play, is their opponent. Jonathan Gannon and his new additions on defense cannot allow opposing quarterbacks to live untouched in the pocket.

The extreme lack of pressure combined with it coming against good to great quarterbacks was a total disgrace. The competition gets better as the playoffs progress, so Gannon can’t just hope he lands Winston in some early draw.

Get after the quarterback and I’ll see you in Arizona!


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