ESPN recently revealed their “Football Power Index” rankings for the upcoming 2018 NFL season. You can read more about FPI by clicking this link but the short explanation is that it’s a simulated projection model.
It won’t shock you that FPI projects the Philadelphia Eagles to be really good again in 2018. With that said, the reigning Super Bowl champions are not the favorites to repeat. Both the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers have better chances to win Super Bowl LIII. (Smh.)
Here’s a closer look at how the Eagles rank compared to their division opponents in the NFC East.
Win projection totals
Eagles - 9.9
Cowboys - 8.5
Washington - 6.7
Giants - 6.5
Chances of winning the NFC East
Eagles - 62%
Cowboys - 25%
Washington - 7%
Giants - 6%
Chances of making the 2019 NFL Playoffs
Eagles - 74%
Cowboys - 41%
Washington - 13%
Giants - 10%
Chances of reaching and then winning Super Bowl LIII
For this section, I’m including the entire NFC since the conference might be the bigger concern for the Eagles than the division.
Eagles - 20% and 11%
Packers - 12% and 6%
Vikings - 12% and 6%
Rams - 12% and 6%
Saints - 11% and 6%
Falcons - 8% and 4%
Panthers - 6% and 3%
49ers - 7% and 3%
Cowboys - 5% and 2%
Seahawks - 3% and 1%
Lions - 2% and 1%
Bears - 1% and <1%
Washington - 1% and <1%
Buccaneers - <1% and <1%
Giants - <1% and <1%
Cardinals - <1% and <1%
- How much do these projections matter? Well, maybe not a ton. If you look back to last year at this time, the Eagles were only projected to win eight games. They won 13 and easily could have went for 14 if they wanted to try in Week 17, which they didn’t. The Eagles had a 34.2% chance of making the playoffs, a 3.5% chance of making the Super Bowl, and a 1% chance of actually bringing the Vince Lombardi Trophy to Philadelphia. Which they ultimately ended up doing, by the way.
- Here’s a note on the Eagles’ projection as it pertains to Carson Wentz’s health status.
What if we know Carson Wentz is healthy to start the season? Or in Week 5? Or Week 10? We’ll sum it up like this: The difference in the Eagles’ chances to win, in the model’s mind, between Wentz and Nick Foles is generally about 4 percentage points per game. After all, we’ve seen that Foles is a capable fill-in. In Week 1, we give Philadelphia a 65 percent chance to beat Atlanta with Wentz under center and a 61 percent with Foles. But all those percentage points do add up: We would project over 10 wins with 16 games of Wentz, but 9.4 if all 16 are with Foles.
- FPI is very low on the New York Giants, who have the fourth toughest schedule in the NFL. FPI gives the G-Men the fifth best shot (7%) at having the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. There’s a 31% chance of them picking in the top five.
- FPI is very high on the NFC as a whole. It’s a tough conference.
- Two of the top five games on the 2018 schedule in terms of “matchup quality” feature the Eagles: Week 5 at home against the Vikings and Week 11 against the Saints in New Orleans. Those should be entertaining.
- The Eagles project to have one of the NFL’s five most important games in terms of playoff leverage. As of right now, the Eagles’ home game against the Cowboys in Week 10 carries a 49.20% swing. Must-win game.
- FPI basically projects the Eagles to be a 10-6 team in 2018. Are you expecting any kind of drop off after the Super Bowl season?