The 2022 NFL Season is nearly upon us. As part of the run up to the season, we’re preview all the teams, culminating with our picks for who makes the playoffs and who wins the awards this season. Check back each day through September 5. Let’s get ready for some football!
The Eagles were one of the pleasant surprises in 2021. After flaming out and bottoming out in 2020, the team started over. The Eagles shipped out Carson Wentz and turned things over to Jalen Hurts and new coach Nick Siriani. It proved to be a winning combination as the Eagles went to 9-8 and made it into the playoffs as the seventh seed in the NFC. The Eagles were one and done in the playoffs, but simply making it provided plenty of optimism heading into the off-season.
The Eagles’ off-season did little to dim that optimism. While the team didn’t see many players depart, they worked to re-build the roster. The biggest splash came in the draft, as the Eagles made a trade with the Titans to acquire receiver A.J. Brown, then signed him to a lavish long-term contract. Brown caught 185 passes for 2,995 yards and 24 touchdowns in three seasons with the Titans. He figures to bolster the passing attack, as will veteran receiver Zach Pascal, signed from the Colts.
Defensively, the Eagles moved to add weapons all over the field. The team signed Hasson Reddick from the Panthers to bolster the pass rush then spent a First-Round pick on defensive tackle Jordan Davis. Following that up, the Eagles got a steal in the Third Round as linebacker Nakobe Dean dropped in their lap. The team also added cornerback James Bradberry and safety Jaquiski Tartt to bolster the secondary.
At quarterback, Hurts is a solid bet to finish as a QB1 because of his rushing upside. He added more than 700 yards and 10 touchdowns as a runner in 2021and should do more of the same while also enjoying a more robust set of passing weapons. In the backfield, Hurts likely detracts some from Miles Sanders, entering his fourth year and the final year of his contract, and second-year man Kenneth Gainwell. Gainwell snagged 50 receptions in 2021 and could be in line for a bigger load in 2022. Sanders, meanwhile, has seen his carries and targets decline each of his three years and was held without a touchdown in 2021. He finished as RB44, while Gainwell was RB41. I think Sanders sees some positive touchdown regression, but likely still ends up an RB3, as does Gainwell.
In the passing game, Brown got the headlines but the Eagles have other weapons in second-year receiver DeVonta Smith and tight end Dallas Goedert. The question will be available targets. Smith was the only receiver to go over 100 targets in 2021, and there aren’t many vacated targets for 2022. I suspect Brown becomes the lone receiver with 100-plus targets in 2022, but I think he can finish as a low-end WR1. I suspect Smith finishes as a WR3 (he was WR30 in 2021) while Goedert finishes as a low-end TE1.
The Eagles were a surprise in 2021 but that won’t be the case in 2022. We expect them to be better and to compete, possibly pushing for an NFC East title. Will they get there? It’s possible. A lot rests on the shoulders of Hurts, who enters year three with the job to himself, plenty of weapons and the weight of expectations. I think the Eagles will be fine, winning nine or 10 games and making the playoffs.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.