Everybody's healthy, everybody's in the best shape of their lives, everybody's ready to start the 2020 NFL season with their eye on Super Bowl LV on Feb. 7 in Tampa.
So with Eagles opening day a couple days away, we thought this would be the perfect time to throw out 10 most likely overly optimistic predictions.
A few of these guys will probably get hurt (maybe all of them, considering the Eagles' recent history). Some may come nowhere near these predictions. Others will probably exceed them. But sitting here on Sept. 11, these are my best guesses for the upcoming season.
1. Carson Wentz: We have to start with Wentz. Just having improved weapons is going to boost his numbers drastically. Heck, the last month of last year he had 7 TDs and 0 INTs and completed 68 percent of his passes throwing all practice squad receivers. If his skill guys stay healthy (and he stays healthy), I’m going 66 percent completion percentage, 34 TDs, 8 INTs, 4,122 yards and a 101.1 passer rating.
2. Miles Sanders: Can’t wait to see what Sanders does in Year 2. He netted 818 yards rushing and 509 receiving last year on about 14 touches per game. I’m going to bump those numbers up about 25 percent and give him 1,022 rushing yards, 636 receiving yards, 8 TDs and 1,638 scrimmage yards. The Eagles have more weapons than last year and I don’t expect them to have to rely as heavily as they did on Sanders down the stretch. Which is a positive.
3. Derek Barnett: Can Barnett be the Eagles’ first homegrown edge rusher with double-digit sacks in a season since Trent Cole? He had 6 1/2 sacks in a 10-game span before getting hurt last year, which would get him there if he keeps up that pace over a full season. I just haven’t seen the consistency or the ability to stay healthy to think he’s a double-digit guy. I’m going 7 1/2 sacks and 11 games played. Maybe he’ll prove me wrong.
4. DeSean Jackson: While I do expect the Eagles to monitor D-Jack’s playing time and I don’t think he’ll have a huge volume of catches I do expect him to make a big impact. Let’s say 44 catches for 726 yards and 5 touchdowns.
5. Team defense: This looks like a top-10 defense to me, and I’m talking points, not yards per game. A healthy Fletcher Cox from the get-go, Darius Slay at corner, a full season of Malik Jackson and presumably Javon Hargrave at some point, plus significantly more speed and athleticism should help the Eagles cut down on the big plays and keep the points down. The Eagles’ defense allowed 21.3 points per game last year. I see them getting that figure under 20 this year. I think they finish 9th in the NFL in points allowed at 19.6 per game.
6. Jalen Reagor: I was thinking how Reggie Brown had 43 catches for 571 yards and 4 TDs as a rookie and that Reagor is three times as good as him, so I was going to give him 129-for-1,713 and 12 TDs. Those numbers may be a little high and I think the Eagles will spread the ball out evenly this year, so I’m going 46-for-678 with 5 TDs. In this offense, that would be a promising start for the rook.
7. Darius Slay: Slay has 13 interceptions over the last three years. No Eagle cornerback has more than six INTs during the same period. The Eagles need big plays from Slay, and he’s going to get the opportunities if he’s traveling with the other team’s best receiver. The Eagles haven’t had a corner with more than four INTs in a season since Brandon Boykin had six in 2013. You can have a good season at corner without a ton of INTs, but I think six is a good number for Slay.
8. Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert: As much as the Eagles throw, there will still be plenty of opportunities for both tight ends even with upgraded receivers and a couple excellent receiving backs. I’ll give Ertz 85-for-888-6 and Goedert 62-for-645-4.
9. Jason Peters: The big question with Peters is how he holds up physically. The Eagles will probably play about 1,150 snaps this year, and I’ve got Peters playing about 80 percent of them. And I’ll take J.P. 80 percent of the time. So we’ll go 920 snaps out of the 38-year-old Peters.
10. The Eagles: They're better than last year. At full strength, this is a formidable team. It’s just been so long since we’ve seen them at full strength I can’t even imagine what that would be like. Dallas may have more talent, but we’ve seen year in and year out that the Eagles have something the Cowboys are lacking. Maybe the Cowboys develop it in time under Mike McCarthy, but I’m giving the Eagles the division. I expect it to come down to Dec. 27 at AT&T Stadium, and I believe more in the Eagles’ ability to win a crucial late-December matchup than the Cowboys. 10-6, NFC East champions.