At the same time, doing what it took to win the franchise’s first world championship ultimately took a toll on this team. And some of those effects are still being felt now, seven months after the Eagles raised the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the first time.
The biggest causality of the Eagles’ 2017 season was Carson Wentz. Philadelphia’s franchise quarterback is still recovering from the ACL/LCL injuries he suffered last December and he will NOT be playing tonight.
The guy replacing Wentz, though? I guess you could say he’s not that shabby. Nick Foles, the reigning Super Bowl MVP, has another big test ahead of him tonight. The Eagles will hope he looks much like the player we saw in the NFC Championship Game and the Super Bowl earlier this year and not like the guy who mightily struggled in the preseason this summer.
There’s certainly reason to be optimistic about Foles. He’ll benefit from having Jason Peters (instead of Halapoulivaati Vaitai) back at left tackle and Nelson Agholor in the slot. He’ll also benefit from Doug Pederson’s excellent scheming and play-calling.
There’s also some reason to be concerned. With the Eagles missing two out of their top four wide receivers (Alshon Jeffery and Mack Hollins), it remains to be seen how Foles will be able to connect with his remaining wideouts. The hope is that they’ll find a way to be on the same page.
It’s not hard to predict that Foles WILL be on the same page with his tight ends, especially when it comes to Zach Ertz. Those two have a solid connection dating back to Foles’ first stint with Philadelphia back in 2013. Rookie tight end Dallas Goedert could also be a red zone boost for an Eagles team that only managed to score one touchdown against in the Divisional Round earlier this year.
Speaking of that game, I can’t help but feel like the Falcons are going to be very hungry tonight. They have every reason to “want it more” given the nature of their frustrating loss.
But I’m not about to join those who are already writing this game off as a loss. Though they’re clearly not 100%, this is still the reigning Super Bowl champs we’re talking about here. This is still an Eagles team that’s 15-3 at home since the beginning of the Doug Pederson era in 2016.
I do think this game is going to be tough. But I think Foles will do enough and the Eagles’ defense will ultimately be able to limit the damage that Matt Ryan and Julio Jones are capable of doing.
Here’s to 1-0 on the quest to repeat.
Score prediction: 28-3, Eagles win. (Actual prediction: 28-27, Eagles win.)
Bold prediction: Dallas Goedert catches two touchdowns in his NFL debut.
Leave your own predictions in the comments.
Will the Eagles beat the Falcons?
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