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A look back at Eagles' preseason over-unders

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USA Today Images

A look back at Eagles' preseason over-unders

If you took the over on Eagles wins for the season, you’ve been sitting back and waiting to collect your winnings for more than a month already.

The Eagles shattered Bovada’s 2017 over-under win total of eight games. In fact, they won their ninth game way back on Nov. 19, and with a 13-2 record, have a shot to finish six games above the mark handicappers installed back in August.

The only other team to best their futures win total by five or more games this season are the 11-4 Rams, whose over-under was set at 5.5.

Of course, it’s no secret the Eagles vastly outperformed expectations this season, as even the most optimistic projections usually topped out around 11 wins. As far as individual numbers are concerned, Eagles players were far more hit or miss on prop bets.

Carson Wentz - Total Passing yards in the 2017 Regular Season
Over/Under — 4,100

Result: UNDER (3,296)

Carson Wentz - Total TD Passes in the 2017 Regular Season
Over/Under — 20.5

Result: OVER (33)

Carson Wentz - Total Interceptions in the 2017 Regular Season
Over/Under — 13

Result: UNDER (7)

If you were going over, you might’ve gotten screwed by Wentz’s injury. He was easily on pace to eclipse 4,100 yards, anyway. In retrospect, 20.5 touchdowns was a low projection for Wentz entering his second NFL season, with so much more talent around him. It was so low, he needed only nine games — so before the Eagles’ bye week.

LeGarrette Blount - Total Rushing Yards in the 2017 Regular Season
Over/Under — 700

Result: OVER (729)

LeGarrette Blount - Total Rushing & Receiving TDs in the 2017 Regular Season
Over/Under — 7

Result: UNDER (3)

Blount needed only 233 yards to make the over by the time Jay Ajayi arrived, which was fortunate depending on which way you bet. Some people may have had this reversed, as it was questionable whether Blount would be the Eagles’ feature back but seemed certain to get goal-line duties. Instead, he was the starter for a good portion of the year, but Wentz wound up vulturing Blount’s touchdowns.

Alshon Jeffery - Total Receiving Yards in the 2017 Regular Season
Over/Under — 1,100

Result: UNDER (781)

Alshon Jeffery - Total Receiving TDs in the 2017 Regular Season
Over/Under — 7

Result: OVER (9)

Jeffery hauled in at least seven touchdowns in each of his two full, healthy seasons with the Bears, so the over was probably a safe way to go. Yards were a lot tougher to come by than scoring opportunities, as Wentz spread the ball around, and Jeffery never really became the focal point of the offense as some might have expected.

Torrey Smith - Total Receiving Yards in the 2017 Regular Season
Over/Under — 800

Result: UNDER (430)

Torrey Smith - Total Receiving TDs in the 2017 Regular Season
Over/Under — 4.5

Result: UNDER (2)

Oddsmakers were apparently thinking a bounce-back year for Smith. Obviously, he didn’t even sniff those numbers and was barely part of the game plan many weeks. Now Smith could wind up being bounced from the Eagles' roster during the offseason.

Zach Ertz - Total Receiving Yards in the 2017 Regular Season
Over/Under — 800

Result: PENDING (800)

Zach Ertz - Total Receiving TDs in the 2017 Regular Season
Over/Under — 4.5

Result: OVER (8)

Betting for Ertz to finally have a “breakout year” finally paid off in '17, or at least it will if he gains one yard in the Eagles’ final game. At worst, that’s a push, and all while the Pro Bowl tight end shattered the over-under for touchdowns, setting a career high in the process. Ertz posted 800 yards for the third straight season, so perhaps that was low, but his emergence as a threat in the red zone undoubtedly made some bettors happy.

Fletcher Cox - Total Sacks in the 2017 Regular Season
Over/Under — 7

Result: UNDER (5.5)

Technically, Cox could still hit the over if he plays against the Cowboys on Sunday, but if he suits up at all, he will likely need to do it the first series or two. The All-Pro defensive tackle has reached 7.0 sacks only once in six seasons, and his impact often isn’t measured by numbers, so even accounting for his second season in the same system, the over was a gamble.

Yo! Rocky Balboa has a message for Eagles fans

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Stallone/IG

Yo! Rocky Balboa has a message for Eagles fans

If anyone knows about an underdog from Philadelphia finding that storybook ending, it's Sylvester Stallone.

The man who personified the Philly attitude as Rocky Balboa posted a message to Eagles fans on his social media.

Sly is wearing a custom "Stallone" Eagles jersey in the video and tells viewers he's a diehard Birds fan. He shouts out the great Timmy Brown as his favorite player as a kid. 

"I got the ring, I got the jersey, I got the will, I've got the optimism that the Birds are going to fly triumphant over Philly tonight!" Stallone says.

"Keep punching, Philly."

​The original Rock also shared an image of the Rocky Statue near the Art Museum decked out in Eagles gear.

"Now here is a statue that REALLY knows how to dress like a WINNER!!!!! I have tremendous respect for Tom Brady and the Patriots, but “… It’s about how much you can TAKE and keep moving forward! That’s how WINNIN’ is done!!!!” EAGLES BY KNOCKOUT!!!," the caption says.

Reminder — Jay Cutler beat the Patriots this season

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USA Today Images

Reminder — Jay Cutler beat the Patriots this season

At this point, Eagles fans probably don’t need much convincing that their team is going to beat the Patriots in Super Bowl LII. But just in case anybody out there thinks the Eagles have no chance at knocking off the greatest dynasty in NFL history, I would like to introduce Exhibit A into evidence.

A Jay Cutler-led Dolphins squad defeated the Patriots, and not even all that long ago. It happened in December.

Allow me to speak to the skeptics here for a moment. You see, I was once like you. My initial reaction upon learning Carson Wentz had suffered a season-ending injury was something along the lines of, “Well, I still think the Eagles can get to the Super Bowl, but I don’t think they could beat the Patriots.”

The very next day, on Monday Night Football, with Cutler at the helm, the Dolphins went on to upset the Patriots, which should put to rest any notion that it can’t be done.

If Cutler can do it, Nick Foles can.

The Patriots lost only three games all season, and the other two were to playoff teams — the Chiefs and the Panthers — both within the first four weeks of the season. Since then, the Patriots have amassed a 13-1 record, the lone blip in the schedule a 27-20 defeat in Week 14 at Miami.

And in case there is any disagreement over how bad Cutler and the Dolphins are, it was one of only two wins the club had in its final 10 games of the season. The other victory was against the 5-11 Broncos. The Dolphins went on to finish only marginally better at 6-10.

Sure, the Patriots’ loss to the Dolphins is just one game, and it took Tom Brady’s worst performance since they were eliminated from the 2015 postseason to make it happen. In fact, Brady has posted a passer rating worse than his 59.5 against the Dolphins only 21 times in an 18-year career, including playoffs, and just five times this decade.

The Eagles can’t necessarily count on Brady to blink. But it can happen, and their defense is certainly capable of making it happen.

Of course, that was the regular season. This is the playoffs — the Super Bowl, to be exact. Brady is 5-2 in the big game and 27-9 in postseason play overall. He led the Patriots back from a 25-point second-half deficit to win a world championship last year. It’s an entirely different stage.

And yet, Cutler beat them. This team. This season. A guy who literally hopped off his couch in August, whose 6.2 yards per pass attempt ranked 28th out of 32 qualifying quarterbacks, who finished tied for fourth with 14 interceptions in 14 games.

None of which is to say the Eagles will definitely accomplish the same. However, they’re a far better team than the Dolphins, and Foles is a better quarterback than Cutler.

Based on that evidence alone, the Eagles’ chances of upsetting the Patriots in the Super Bowl are a whole lot greater than slim or none.