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Eagles bold predictions, revisited

Being wrong and loving it

NFL: Washington Football Team at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

At the beginning of every season just about everybody makes predictions about the upcoming season and then ignore them for the rest of their life. Unless they were right, in which case they gleefully point out how smart they were. If they were wrong, they’ll never bring it up.

Not today. I’m going to look back on my bold predictions post from the beginning of the season and see just how wrong I was. To be honest, I don’t remember them all. I will either show myself no mercy or move the goalposts and declare victory.

The Eagles trade for Deshaun Watson

What I said: Until he’s on another team or not allowed to play, I will assume the Eagles are trying to trade for Deshaun Watson. We know they previously had interest.

What happened: Deshaun Watson didn’t get traded at all, so obviously he isn’t on the Eagles. But that was always the most likely outcome, which is one reason why I rated this prediction’s boldness as high. But I put it on there and it didn’t happen and I have to live with that.

Verdict:

The Eagles win a game due to COVID protocols

What I said: Earlier in the year this seemed an easier bet, several teams had a large portion of unvaccinated players, and the Eagles played one of them twice in Washington Football Team. But now WFT has heard Ron Rivera’s pleas and has gotten their vaccination rate up to a good (though not great) level.

What happened: WASTEAM had a COVID outbreak right before facing the Eagles, resulting in the game being postponed and when the game was eventually played WASTEAM had several players out. Their third string QB started. The Eagles won.

Verdict:

Eagles win the division

What I said: You can sell me on the Eagles defense and an improved offense carrying the team to a respectable record. You can sell me on the Giants being an underwater oil rig fire. You can sell me on WASTEAM, a team that wasn’t good last year, not being good this year. You can sell me on the Cowboys, a team that was 2-3 with Dak Prescott in 2020 being bad in 2021.

What happened: Dallas won the division. But like the Cowboys, the Eagles also made the playoffs and immediately lost in brutal fashion. WASTEAM and the Giants stunk as predicted.

Verdict: Half credit? The team that won the division lost in the playoffs, which was the same outcome as the Eagles. At the end of the day the rest is window dressing. I’m giving myself half credit. So let it be written, so let it be done.

Jalen Hurts is benched

What I said: There’s also a scenario where Hurts shows he isn’t a long term solution and the team isn’t in contention for the playoffs, so Sirianni/Roseman decide to give Gardner Minshew a chance late in the season.

What happened: Gardner Minshew started two games, but one was due to injury and the other was the regular season finale with nothing on the line.

Verdict:

Eagles sweep the Cowboys

What I said: The Eagles haven’t swept the Cowboys since 2011. Since then the Cowboys have swept the Eagles just once. So they’ve been on the cusp a lot.

What happened: They got swept, though they weren’t even trying in the second game.

Verdict:

Eagles are one of the healthiest teams in the league

What I said: The Eagles under Doug Pederson and Chip Kelly spent a lot of time in the injury tent. Nick Sirianni is trying to change that by having shorter practices and more old guy maintenance days. Will it work? Only time will tell, but the Eagles exiting training camp with no major injury issues is encouraging. What the Eagles were doing wasn’t working, a logical change is worth a shot.

What happened: The Eagles lost Brandon Graham, Brandon Brooks, and Isaac Seumalo in the first three weeks, but made it through the season without any additional major injuries.

I should note that I didn’t make it clear that I mean football injuries, I wasn’t considering COVID related absences. The Eagles deserve a lot of praise for how they have handled COVID, it wasn’t until they faced WASTEAM when they were their own super spreader event that they had any real issues.

Verdict: In the NFL, three starters being out for the year isn’t a lot, and every team has to deal with guys missing a game or two, so I’m calling this a success.

The Eagles lead the league in rushing yards

What I said: To close the gap the Eagles will need two things: Nick Sirianni goes with a heavy ground game, and Lamar Jackson doesn’t run as much. Both could happen.

What happened: Both did in fact happen, though not as I imagined. It took a while, but once the Eagles started being a run first team, they did so at a rate that would have pulverized the record book. Lamar Jackson didn’t run as much because he missed five games.

Verdict: Nailed it.

DeVonta Smith wins Offensive Rookie of the Year

What I said: So this season has as good a chance as any for a non backfield player to win Offensive Rookie of the Year. Why not DeVonta Smith? He’s going to get plenty of targets, giving him the counting stats; and if he has the kind of production that voters like, then the Eagles should be an improved team, which the voters also like.

What happened: Smith was fantastic, but he’s not going to win it, Jamar Chase will, or at least should.

Verdict: I’m giving myself some credit here, 25%. This is an award that has traditionally gone to QBs and I said that despite five QBs taken in the first round that this year was set up for a non-QB to win it. Unless Mac Jones somehow does, which would be pathetic.

Nick Sirianni lasts one year

What I said: Before training camp began, I would have given this some odds. The Eagles didn’t go into the offseason intending to part ways with Doug Pederson, so they were behind in their coaching search. The process that resulted in hiring Nick Sirianni was uninspiring. One could be forgiven for feeling that they settled on Sirianni and hired him because someone has to coach the team until someone they want comes available (Lincoln Riley?).

What happened: He’s going to get Coach of the Year consideration, and Lincoln Riley won’t be coming to the NFL for a while. Coach of the Year is a meaningless award (Jason Garrett won it) but the only more extreme take-to-reality delta would be pulling a Michael Lombardi.

I was going to make a point about how even with his success I’m not sure what to think about Sirianni but...

Verdict:

3.75 out of 10, but these were bold predictions so shooting 37.5% from deep is pretty good, that’s what Embiid is shooting and that’s good enough for me.