1) Fletcher Cox only has 10 sacks in 2016:
After brining in Jim Schwartz to be the new defensive coordinator and signing Cox to a massive deal, fans just assumed he’d got off for 12+ sacks. Instead, because he will be constantly facing double teams, Cox may struggle to improve too much on his 2015 campaign. He’ll still put up great numbers, but he’ll leave some fans who are expecting too much disappointed.
2) The Eagles will lead the NFL in sacks in 2016:
Despite Cox only recording 10 sacks, a defensive line that managed 37 sacks in a more passive 3-4 scheme will lead the NFL in sacks in Schwartz’s new aggressive 4-3. With Cox being double-teamed quite often, the rest of the Eagles line will dominate this season. Vinny Curry, Brandon Graham, Bennie Logan, and Connor Barwin will all consistently get to the QB this year, and the Eagles will lead the NFL in sacks with 48.
3) Ryan Mathews plays in all 16 games this season:
Despite having only done this once before, a rush by committee attack helps Mathews stay healthy and rush for over 1,000 yards this season. The signing of Brandon Brooks to help bolster an offensive line that ranked third in run blocking according to Pro Football Focus, and Ryan Mathews takes full advantage of being the number one guy. Finishing the season with 1,200 yards and 9 touchdowns, Mathews has the best season of his career.
4) Carson Wentz finishes among the leagues top QB’s:
Wentz was officially announced the starter for the 2016 season after Sam Bradford was traded to the Vikings, and despite some growing pains, he’ll finish the year as one of the top QB’s in the NFL. Wentz was probably the most pro-ready QB taken in the first round, and he ran an offense that was eerily similar to the one the Pederson ran with the Chiefs. A steady run game and an improved O-line help take some pressure of Wentz, and he throws for 3,700 yards, 29 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. He’ll tack on another 300 yards and 4 touchdowns with his legs, and solidify himself as the Eagles next franchise QB.
5) Zach Ertz finally has his breakout year:
Every year since his emergence, it seems like Ertz is poised to break out. But he always seems to fall just a little short. This year however, finally with some stability at QB, Ertz will have a monster season. After dedicating the past two offseason to becoming a better blocker and thus a more complete player, Ertz will be one of the best tight ends in the league throughout the season. In a system that loves to utilizes tight ends to create huge mismatches and plenty of red zone threats, Ertz will go for 950 receiving yards and 7 Td’s.
6) Jordan Matthews and Dorial Green-Beckham emerge as a dangerous receiving duo:
Standing at 6’3 and 6’5 respectively, Matthews and DGB will silence some of the worries at wide receiver and have great seasons. Working all over the field, they both will quickly develop a connection with Wentz that will see them combine for 1,900 yards and 16 Td’s. The emergence of Zach Ertz and these two leave the Eagles will have a trio of capable receiving options that will give the Eagles some comfort that Wentz does in fact have capable skill players to work with throughout his career.
7) Numbers 5 & 6 means the Agholor will continue to struggle:
Because Ertz, Matthews, and DGB all have great years, Agholor will struggle again in his second year, and may not even be on the team by this time next year. While many (including myself) hope to see Agholor reverse his career track, 2016 wont be his year, and the young wide out will continue to struggle with drops. This will lead to a lack of trust between Wentz and Agholor, and after this year Howie will move yet another Chip pick in order to help build around Wentz.
8) Eagles start the season 4-0:
The Eagles take advantage of one of the easier opening schedules and have no problem putting away the Browns, the Bears, and the Lions. Their toughest matchup, the Steelers, will be an exciting overtime game, but the Eagles will pull off the win. A 4-0 record to start the season will give the Eagles a cushion for Wentz to continue to grow.
9) The Eagles will grab a wildcard spot in Pederson’s first year:
Even in the weak NFC East, I’m not sure the Eagles will be good enough to win the division. However, I see all but the top teams in the NFC taking a step back, and that’s enough for the Eagles to grab a wildcard spot. Whether they can go anywhere with that spot seems almost doubtful, but the Eagles will prove themselves to be an up and coming team in the NFL, with a young nucleus of players on both offense and defense to carry them to great things.