Dave Zangaro's 5 Eagles second-half predictions

Dave Zangaro
·4 min read

Zangaro's 5 Eagles second-half predictions originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The first half of the Eagles’ season didn’t go to plan but they’re still in first place in the NFC East with a 3-4-1 record.

The Eagles are back in action next week against the Giants after the Week 8 bye.

Roob gave his five predictions yesterday. Here are my five predictions for the last eight games of the 2020 season:

1. Jalen Reagor is going to have a big second half. In the first eight games, he played in just three games and missed five because of a torn UCL in his thumb. In those three games, Reagor had 8 catches for 112 yards and a touchdown. If he were to keep that pace, Reagor would have 21 catches, 299 yards and 3 touchdowns in the second half. But I think he’ll be better than that. I’m looking at around 35 catches for 450 yards and a few more scores. He’ll end up having a really strong rookie season and something to build on going forward.

2. Javon Hargrave will start to give a better return on investment. The Eagles signed Hargrave to a 3-year, $39 million contract but then he suffered a pec injury and missed all of training camp and Week 1. And on top of that, he’s obviously struggling with the transition from the Steelers’ 3-4 defense to the Eagles’ aggressive 4-3. He has just one sack through the first half of the season with just two quarterback hits. No, Hargrave is probably never going to be a major sack guy but his pressure hasn’t been there either. I suspect as he gets more comfortable with the defense, we’ll start to see his talent show. The number might not be crazy but he can get more pressure in the second half.

3. Jordan Mailata is going to end up back at left tackle. Before the bye week, Jason Peters returned and took over at left tackle and Mailata was forced into action at right tackle. But Lane Johnson (ankle) is expected to return and so is Jack Driscoll (ankle). So that probably leaves Mailata on the bench … but for how long? How long is Peters really going to stay healthy? I think the rest of the way Johnson and Driscoll are the starter and backup on the right side and Peters and Mailata are the starter and backup on the left side. But I just can’t imagine that 38-year-old Peters is going to stay on the field. So Mailata has to stay ready and I think he’ll end up on the field plenty during the last eight games.

4. Carson Wentz will cut down on mistakes. During the first eight games, Wentz didn’t play well and that was highlighted by his 16 turnovers — 12 interceptions, 4 lost fumbles. That can’t and won’t continue. I keep hearing people say things like you have to live with Wentz’s bad to get his good but that’s not true when it comes to interceptions. He historically hasn’t been a big interception thrower. He threw just seven picks in each of his three previous seasons and even as a rookie in 2016 threw just 14 in 16 games. So as bad as the picks have been this year, I expect that to regress to the mean and I think Wentz will play better as the offense gets some pieces back.

5. I have the Eagles’ going 4-4 in the second half to get to a 7-8-1 record to win the NFC East. It’s pretty easy to figure out. I think the Birds will take care of their remaining three division games against the Giants, Cowboys and Washington. And then I think they’ll win one of these two games: at Cleveland in Week 11 or vs. Saints in Week 14. Those are two winnable games. Obviously, the Browns are the easier win but the Saints hadn't been themselves until Sunday Night Football against the Bucs. That might still be an upset game at home for the Eagles. In any case, the division might still come down to Week 17 against the Washington Football Team at the Linc.

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