With the release of the 2018 NFL schedule, plenty will attempt to predict how the defending Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles will fair. Of course it’s an impossible task without a crystal ball, but two analysts of note took a stab at it.
This year, with a first-place schedule and slates against both the tough NFC South and the AFC South, the Eagles’ road will be harder. Five of their first eight games are against teams that made the playoffs last year.
It’s impossible to imagine the Eagles falling outside of the conversation for the No. 1 spot in the NFC, but their schedule appears far more difficult than most. With no contenders taking a step back this offseason, the NFC should be an absolute gauntlet.
Taking into account the predictions for the Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins and New York Giants, Mosqueda believes the Eagles will repeat as the NFC East Champions. But what of the argument for their strength of schedule causing a bumpier road?
Warren Sharp of Sharp Football has a unique way of looking at strength of schedule, theorizing that simply using last years’ win-loss totals is an inaccurate and antiquated way of determining difficulty. Instead, he leans on Vegas, because the house always wins.
As you know by now, looking at 2017 win rates to determine 2018 strength of schedule is a travesty. It needs to die. Years ago I started a new method to measure a more accurate Strength of Schedule: use Vegas win totals - forecasted 2018 wins from an active betting marketplace.— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) April 30, 2018
Sharp ranks the Eagles schedule with this method as the 13th toughest in the league, so right around the average. Using that information, his projected win/loss total worked out similarly to Mosqueda. He predicted 10.4 wins for the Eagles, good for an NFC East Crown and a number one seed in the NFL Playoffs.
Regardless of whom you believe or what methodology you use to predict future success, one thing is clear, analysts are no longer sleeping on the Eagles. Still, both analysts cited predicted more wins for the New England Patriots, who lost to the Eagles in the Super Bowl. Put that on the bulletin board.