Eagles 2021 win total preview: Will Philly take flight?
The Eagles haven't advanced past the wild-card round since being crowned Super Bowl champions during the 2017 season. Coming off a dismal year, Philadelphia's hoping turnover in the coaching staff can get the franchise back into contention.
With expectations lower than usual, will the Eagles take flight in 2021, or wallow in the basement of the NFC East?
Eagles 2021 win total
Over: 6.5 (-140)
Under: 6.5 (+120)
A look back
The Eagles were tied for the fifth-highest win total (9.5) entering the 2020 season - and would have needed another full campaign to surpass it. They finished 4-11-1, alongside the worst scoring margin in the division (-5.2) and better than only five other teams in the league.
You can certainly blame health. While they ranked No. 6 in games lost due to COVID-19, only the 49ers suffered more injuries than the Eagles across the NFL.
The offensive line started 14 different combinations. Zach Ertz, DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, Dallas Goedert, Miles Sanders, and Jalen Reagor all missed at least four games for a depleted supporting cast. Quarterback Carson Wentz was a shell of his 2017 MVP-caliber tear, and the job was passed to 2020 second-round pick Jalen Hurts, who went 1-3 in his four starts to close out the season.
The Eagles were No. 27 in total DVOA, but played the sixth-toughest schedule amid an injury-riddled campaign.
The offensive line finished in the bottom half of PFF's final 2020 rankings and enters this fall No. 17. While the unit doesn't figure to be hampered by injuries as frequently, veterans Lane Johnson and Jason Kelce are both coming off their worst years.
Hurts always had plenty of talent around him in college, but is his current supporting cast adequate enough? Travis Fulgham led the receiving corps with a meager 539 yards, while only one pass-catcher (Greg Ward Jr.) posted more than 46 receptions last season.
The defensive line will be stout for a unit that finished No. 15 in DVOA. The Eagles generated the third-most sacks in 2020 and boast one of the top cores in football.
Philly has a relatively easy route when accounting for Super Bowl odds in 2021, drawing the sixth-easiest slate.
Best bet - Under 6.5 (+120)
The Eagles are a prime positive regression candidate. Pythagorean Wins and Estimated Wins were both bullish, projecting them for 5.8 and 4.9 victories, respectively. The schedule is cake, and no way the injuries pile up as frequently as they did last fall.
However, I can't find seven wins on the schedule.
I make Philly a favorite just one time in NFC East play, and the home schedule outside the division features five teams with win totals of nine or higher.
I'll predict a sophomore slump for Hurts, who could make me look foolish given his dual-threat upside. But with an underwhelming supporting cast and a good but not great defense, Philly's under is a nice plus-money play.
Alex Kolodziej is a betting writer for theScore. Find him on Twitter @AjKolodziej.
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