Of the top 14 scoring teams in the NFL in 2021, the Eagles were at No. 12, with 444 points, averaging 26.1 points a game. Of the seven teams that made the NFC playoffs last season, including the Eagles, those playoff teams averaged 27.4 points a game in 2021. Ten of the top 12 point-production teams made the playoffs in 2021 (Indianapolis Colts and the Los Angeles Chargers did not). The four NFC division winners averaged 28.6 points a game (488 total points/per team).
The Eagles were 2.5 points from that average (and 44 total points) from that. They are not far off.
And this was a team through the first seven games of 2021 that did not have an identity, beginning the season 2-5.
With the addition of receiver A.J. Brown, with, hopefully, a more balanced attack, with a healthy offensive line and second-year receiver DeVonta Smith more firmly entrenched in the offense, the Eagles may not need much more to become one of the more potent offenses in the NFL in 2022.
That, of course, will rely on the improvement of quarterback Jalen Hurts.
The Eagles scored 50 touchdowns last season, tied for eighth overall with San Francisco, 20 coming through the air, which ranked 17th last season (tied with Denver, Atlanta, and the New York Jets). With an improved defense, which it should be, with the linebacking additions of Kyzir White and Haason Reddick, cornerback James Bradberry, and draft picks Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean, the Eagles may also get the benefit of working on a short field—depending on how aggressive defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon is willing to be.
The Eagles did lead the NFL in fumbles returned for touchdowns in 2021 (3).
Another pertinent fact is the Eagles had 173 drives last season, scoring 43.4% of the time when they did have the ball. With a more advantageous defense, maybe those numbers increase, too, in 2022.
A favorable schedule helped them last year, and far easier schedule will surely help them this season.
The one problem the Eagles may face reverts to an adage: Steel sharpens steel.
The Eagles won’t face a playoff-caliber team until October 9, when they travel to Arizona, which opens a mini-gauntlet of playoff teams like Dallas and Pittsburgh in the following weeks. They won’t face another playoff team until they host the Packers on Nov. 27 on Monday night.
The Eagles need to score 56 touchdowns or more this season, based on 2021, to reach the NFC elite.
It’s not an Everest to climb.
Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter based in the Philadelphia area who has written feature stories for SI.com, ESPN.com, NFL.com, MLB.com, Deadspin and The Philadelphia Daily News. In 2006, he was nominated for an Emmy Award for a special project piece for ESPN.com called “Love at First Beep.” He is most noted for his award-winning ESPN.com feature on high school wrestler A.J. Detwiler in February 2006, which appeared on SportsCenter. In 2015, he was elected president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.