Alex Kielar | May 13th, 2020
Last season, Carson Wentz carried a team of practice squad receivers to the playoffs with four straight wins to end the season. Unfortunately, Wentz was knocked out in the first quarter of the Wild Card game against the Seahawks after a hit to the head, and Eagles fans were subjected to watching 40-year old backup Josh McCown try to carry them to victory. That wasn’t the case, as they lost 17-9. They will be a significantly better team this year with a vastly improved wide receiver corps. Without further ado, here are the five bold predictions for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2020.
Make sure to check out all of our other team bold predictions here.
Miles Sanders Leads the League in All-Purpose Yards
This might not be all that bold a prediction, as Sanders was eighth in the league in all-purpose yards last season with 1,641 yards. But with the new additions to the team and the other weapons Wentz has at his disposal, it may be harder for him to get more touches. I believe he will, however, and he will further breakout and avoid the “sophomore slump”. In his second year, he should step up to another level and lead a potential backfield made up of him, returning 2017 standout Corey Clement, Boston Scott, undrafted free agents Michael Warren II and Adrian Killins, and potentially a veteran free agent pickup such as Carlos Hyde.
Even if the Eagles go with a committee of backs, Sanders should get a lot of the touches while also receiving out of the backfield and returning kicks. I see him breaking 2,000 yards or at least close this year and he will have to beat out top tier guys like Christian McCaffrey and Ezekiel Elliott. McCaffrey led the league last season with 2,392 all-purpose yards.
John Hightower Leads All Eagles Receivers in Reception Touchdowns
That’s right, not their first-round pick Jalen Reagor, trade acquisition Marquise Goodwin, DeSean Jackson, or any of their other receivers in their newly improved WR corp. But their fifth-round pick in Hightower will lead them all in touchdowns. Hightower is a big play waiting to happen, with the speed to run away from the defense; he ran a 4.43 at the NFL Combine. In 2019, he hauled in 51 catches for 943 yards and eight touchdowns. In his first year at Boise State after transferring from junior college, Hightower recorded seven touchdowns for a total of 14 in his two years with the Broncos. The former track star should get his share of targets from Carson Wentz and will help spread the field along with his fellow speedster Reagor.
The Eagles Lead the League in Turnover Differential
Last year, the Eagles were towards the bottom of the barrel at a -3 turnover differential, 11th in the league. Philly suffered numerous injuries last year. Eight different cornerbacks played meaningful snaps with all them earning a PFF grade lower than 70. The Eagles played zone defense 58% of the time and allowed the fifth-lowest completion percentage (59.4%) and forced the most incompletions (58). The Eagles improved their secondary this offseason, adding Darius Slay via trade and signing Nickell Robey-Coleman and Will Parks. Slay only played in 14 games last season and recorded two interceptions, but when he played a full season in 2017 he had eight picks. They did lose Malcolm Jenkins, as they wanted to get younger and shred some cap. They also added Javon Hargrave to an already powerful defensive front.
Wentz should be able to keep the turnovers down as well with better targets, as he threw seven picks last year. He also should get better protection with an improved and healthy offensive line, which should help him hold onto the ball after six fumbles and three lost. Another plus is Sanders should be able to keep the fumbling down as he shakes off the rookie jitters, as he fumbled twice last year. The Eagles fumbled a total of 15 times.
Carson Wentz Breaks Peyton Manning‘s Single-Season Passing Yard Record
More than 5,477 passing yards in one season is a tall order for any quarterback, but if anyone can do it, it is Wentz. Wentz threw for 4,039 yards while having no receiver get to 500 yards, the first quarterback to ever do so. Alshon Jeffery had the most receiving yards with 490 while Sanders (509) and both tight ends, Zach Ertz (916) and Dallas Goedert (607), had more receiving yards.
With four new speedsters being added over the offseason in Reagor, Hightower, Goodwin, and Quez Watkins, along with Corey Clement being signed back, Wentz will have a lot of weapons at his disposal. The Eagles had Greg Ward, a college quarterback, as their leading receiver towards the end of last season, and their receivers were slacking so much that they actually had to bring back Jordan Matthews. With all that in mind, Wentz had several completed passes and yards taken away from dropped passes. A much-improved WR corp will add much, much more.
The Eagles Don’t Surrender 30 points or More in any Game
The Eagles defense gave up 30 points three times last year, against the Vikings (38), Cowboys (37), and Dolphins (37). As I mentioned with their improved defense, they will be able to hold down their opponents and not allow them to just “waltz” down the field. With an improved offense, the Eagles will also be able to keep the defense off the field for the majority of games. This will help them hold opponents to low point totals.
Be sure to check out the Eagles 2020 Draft Review here.
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