12 bold predictions for the Eagles' 2022 season

·7 min read

Roob's 12 bold Eagles predictions for 2022 season originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

There will be injuries. There will be surprises. There will be disappointments.

Most likely, someone we expect to have a Pro Bowl season will struggle, and somebody we’re not really counting on will come up huge.

Things never go the way you’re expecting, and that’s one of the reasons we love the NFL so much.

You can't predict this stuff.

We’re going to do it anyway.

With the Eagles’ opener only four days away, here are 12 random season team and individual predictions.

Please bookmark this so you can mock me in January.

1. Jalen

Let’s start with Jalen.

With the growth we’ve seen this summer and the weapons Howie Roseman has given him, I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t have a very good year and improve in all the areas that were lacking last year — accuracy, passing touchdowns, big plays.

Hurts improved from 52 to 61 percent last year but still ranked 26th out of 31 quarterbacks who started at least 10 games. He finished tied for 23rd with 16 TD passes and tied for 22nd with five 40-yard pass plays. I’m thinking those numbers go up to 64 percent, 27 touchdown passes and nine 40-yard pass plays.

Here's my projected Hurts numbers: 348 for 544 for 3,971 yards, 27 TDs, 11 interceptions (that’s a 93.9 passer rating) with rushing yards dropping to 619 and rushing TDs to seven.

2. Sacks 

My biggest question about this team is pass pressure, which was one of its biggest issues last year. Hard to believe they managed just 29 sacks in 17 games last year. Six of the 29 in one game against the Lions. Nine times they had one or fewer sacks. That’s a franchise record. That number needs to be into the mid-40s.

I’m thinking Haason Reddick gets 11½, Josh Sweat 9, Brandon Graham 6½, Javon Hargrave 5½ and Fletcher Cox 3½, and a handful of other guys get one or two, and the Eagles finish with 42½. That might be overly optimistic, but 14 teams had 40 sacks last year, and the league average was 39. And from 2000 through 2020, the Eagles averaged 42.

The Eagles have the fifth-most expensive d-line in the NFL. Mid-40s is not too much to ask.

3. Miles

Odds are he won’t play 17 games — only three RBs did last year — but I’m guessing Miles Sanders plays 14 games, rushes for 912 yards with a 4.8 average and actually scores a few touchdowns for a change — let’s say four.

If Sanders can stay healthy, the production will be there. It always has been. My guess is if he’s healthy for at least 12 or 13 games, he gets a contract extension.

4. Goedert

I’m not sure how much more Dallas Goedert can do considering there’ll be fewer targets available now that A.J. Brown is here. But Goedert averaged 61.4 yards per game after Zach Ertz was traded in mid-October, and if you simply project that over 17 weeks, you get 1,044 yards.

That’s where I think Goedert winds up. And his first Pro Bowl.

5. Takeaways

The Eagles’ 16 takeaways last year were second-fewest in franchise history — regardless of season length. They’ve had 17-20-19-16 takeaways the last four years, and those all rank among the eight-lowest takeaway totals in franchise history. They’re one of only six teams in NFL history to record four straight seasons with 20 or fewer takeaways. That has to end this year.

The Eagles should get improved pass pressure with Reddick and a healthy Graham, and that should lead to more plays in a beefed-up secondary with Darius Slay and James Bradberry. This defense was built for big plays. I’m thinking double last year’s total. Let’s say 32.

6. A.J. and DeVonta

Who’s WR1 and who’s WR2? That will depend on the opponent, the coverage, who’s got the hot hand. The Eagles have never had two 1,000-yard receivers in the same year. The closest they came was 2009, when DeSean Jackson had 1,156 yards and Brent Celek 971. The closest two wide receivers have come is 2010, when Jackson had 1,056 and Jeremy Maclin 964.

I really believe Brown and Smith could very well both surpass 1,000 this year. That’s just 59 yards per game in a 17-game season. I’ll go 82-for-1,168 with eight TDs for Brown, and 71-for-1,032 with six TDs for Smith.

7. Points per game

The Eagles averaged 26.1 points per game last year, 12th-highest in the league and eighth-highest in franchise history. Considering they only averaged 22.7 points per game through seven weeks, that was quite an accomplishment. From Week 8 on, the Eagles were the fourth-highest scoring team in the NFL at 28.5 points per game, and with the talent this team has now? No reason they can’t average somewhere in the 27-to-28 range for the full season.

I’ll go 27.9. That would be sixth-highest in Eagles history (behind 1948, 1949, 1953, 2014 and 2017). They have the people to make that happen.

8. Points allowed per game

The Eagles wound up 18th in points allowed last year at 22.6 per game but similar to the offense, they were ninth the second half of the season at 20.0, which is respectable. But again, with this personnel? They should be under 20 per game.

The 2017 team was at 18.4. The Eagles were at 18.1 in Jim Johnson’s 10 years here. It’s a higher-scoring game these days, but I think somewhere between 19 and 20 is realistic. I’ll go with 19.7.

9. Slay/Bradberry INTs

We touched on takeaways earlier, and Slay and Bradberry have to be a big part of it. The Eagles haven’t had anybody with four interceptions in a season since Patrick Robinson in 2017, and they haven’t had two in a season since 2010 — Asante Samuel had seven and Dimitri Patterson four.

I’m thinking four apiece for Slay and Bradberry makes sense.

10. Rushing yards

Out of necessity, the Eagles led the NFL with a franchise-record 2,715 rushing yards last year, and that’s a ridiculous 160 yards per game. It’s obvious that number is going to plunge, but by how much?

The Eagles still have very good backs and an o-line that loves to run block, and they’re not going to abandon the run entirely. I still think this will be a top-10 rushing offense, and I’m going to say that 160 per game drops to about 125 per game.

11. Quez

Quez Watkins had 647 yards on just 62 targets last year. That’s tremendous production. Nobody else in the NFL with 62 or fewer targets was close to 647 yards. In fact, only 10 receivers have had more yards in a season on 62 or fewer targets since the NFL started tracking targets in 1992.

With Smith, Brown and Goedert, I’m not sure how much more Watkins can do. I’ll give him a little bump up to 718, but in this offense? With these receivers? I just don’t think he’s going to get a ton more targets than he had last year.

12. Won-loss record

The biggest one goes last.

This team won nine games last year with a new coach, a new staff, a new quarterback and a mediocre roster. With the additions they’ve made — Brown, Zach Pascal, Reddick, Jordan Davis, Bradberry, Kyzir White, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and Brandon Graham and Isaac Seumalo back from injuries — I think 11 or 12 wins is very possible.

I’m going to go 12-5 and an NFC East title. And anything under 11 wins would be a disappointment.

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