Amidst a slew of injuries, head coach Doug Pederson led the Philadelphia Eagles to their third straight playoff appearance in 2019. However, in what has become an unwanted recurring theme, the Eagles lost quarterback Carson Wentz in their wild-card game against the Seattle Seahawks due to injury. With the Eagles 2020 season win total set at 9.5, can Wentz prove the doubters wrong and lead Philadelphia to their fourth straight playoff appearance?
Changes to the Eagles’ roster in 2020
The Eagles emphasized improving the secondary by adding both Nickell Robey-Coleman and Darius Slay in free agency, While their overall pass defense metrics don’t look terrible from a season-long perspective, the Eagles greatly benefited from a slew of bad QB play.
Slay, and Coleman should help the Eagles to become more consistent this season, giving them a better chance of hitting the over on their 2020 win total.
Eagles offseason losses
Malcolm Jenkins will be missed from a “veteran in the locker room” standpoint, but the real loss is along the offensive line. Jason Peters’ departure seemed inevitable after the first-round selection of Andre Dillard in 2019. The Eagles got a real surprise when Brandon Brooks tore his Achilles this offseason, however.
Brooks is one of the best interior offensive linemen in the league. PFN’s NFL Draft analyst Matt Valdovinos ranks Brooks as the third-best interior offensive lineman in the NFL. With the help of Brooks, the Eagles ranked 14th in Football Outsiders adjusted line yards and 11th in adjusted sack rate.
Losing Brooks is far from ideal. What was an area of strength for the Eagles is now masked in ambiguity. There are still players available in free agency that can mitigate the loss of Brooks, but whether or not the Eagles will sign one remains to be seen.
What defensive changes can we expect from the Eagles in 2020?
The strength of this defense lies on the defensive line, and there’s no reason to expect that to change in 2020. While the run defense was phenomenal, the pass rush was not where it should’ve been. They ranked 17th in adjusted sack rate while ranking third in adjusted line yards.
With the additions of Slay and Coleman, I expect this defense to be far more consistent this year, and a reason the Eagles could go over their 2020 season win total. The two free-agent cornerbacks should help the pass rush take a step forward this season. Safety is the glaring weakness on this squad.
What offensive changes can we expect from the Eagles in 2020?
The loss of Brooks is devastating. I don’t need a long-winded paragraph to tell you that it sucks. The Eagles go from having one of the best offensive lines in the league to potentially falling out of the top 10 overall. Brooks’ loss can not be overstated.
After losing DeSean Jackson early in the 2019 season, the Eagles offense lacked a downfield threat, which severely hurt their explosiveness. In comes Marquise Goodwin, John Hightower, Quez Watkins, and Jalen Reagor. Hightower and Watkins earned “great” explosion grades from Kent Platte’s Relative Athletic Score (RAS) grading system. One of Hightower and Watkins may not make the team, but it’s clear the Eagles valued speed and explosiveness this offseason.
What obstacles will the Eagles face from their 2020 schedule?
Warren Sharp has the Eagles schedule rated as right around league average (14th most difficult) from a difficulty standpoint. It appears much more complicated than that when you take a second look. It will no doubt pose a threat to the Eagles going over their 2020 season win total.
The Eagles play the AFC North, NFC West, Green Bay Packers, and New Orleans Saints.
Weeks 1-3 offer opportunity for fast start
Facing the Washington Redskins, Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals gives the Eagles an opportunity for a much needed fast start. Teams that start 2-1 make the playoffs 58,4% of the time. That figure jumps up to 76% for 3-0 teams. The Bengals will have ten days of rest before their matchup with the Eagles.
Will Weeks 4-8 determine the outcome of the Eagles 2020 win total?
Week 4, the Eagles travel to the San Francisco 49ers for a West Coast primetime game. Much like the early 1 pm EST start used to be a detriment to West Coast teams, a late PST start has the same effect on East Coast teams. Factor in the opponent, and you could argue it’s the Eagles toughest game of the season.
A back to back road stint at the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens precede a Thursday Night game against their in-division rival New York Giants.
The Eagles do enjoy ten days of rest before playing the Dallas Cowboys, so at least there is some positive in this brutal stretch.
Weeks 9-13 could go either way.
The Cleveland Browns and Packers viability in 2020 will determine what kind of stretch this is for the Eagles. Green Bay has a Sunday Night game against Chicago the week prior, giving the Eagles a rest advantage.
Sandwiched between those opponents are the Seattle Seahawks, who will have extra rest going into their Monday Night game against the Eagles.
Will Weeks 14-17 determine the Eagles 2020 win total?
The Eagles enjoy one rest advantage spot in this stretch of games: the Cowboys will be coming off a Sunday Night game against the 49ers in Dallas. Fortunately for the Eagles, they will have a rest advantage in both of their games against the Cowboys. Having two divisional matches to close the season will be beneficial if the Eagles find themselves having to make up ground in the NFC East.
Summarizing the Eagles 2020 schedule
Number of back to back road trips: 3- Weeks 4-5 (San Francisco/Pittsburgh), Weeks 10-11 (New York Giants/Cleveland), Weeks 15/16 (Arizona/Dallas)
Facing an opponent who will have extra rest: 2- Week 3 (vs. Cincinnati), Week 12 (vs. Seattle)
Facing an opponent when the Eagles will have extra rest: 3- Week 8 (vs. Dallas), Week 13 (at Green Bay), Week 16 (at Dallas)
How will analytical regression affect the Eagles 2020 win total?
Philadelphia doesn’t have much in the way of regression coming their way in 2020. Their Pythagorean win total (8.8) was right in line with their actual win total of 9. They were 5-6 in one-score games as well.
The Eagles had a (-0.3) yards per play differential, meaning they were roughly 1.5 points worse than an average team on a neutral field. This is, in part, because they ranked 21st in Football Outsiders adjusted games lost metric, meaning they were the 12th most injured team in the league. That should level out this season.
Are there any bets worth making on the 2020 Philadelphia Eagles win total?
The Eagles 2020 win total is set at 9 (Over -134 Under +110) at DraftKings Sportsbook and 9.5 (Over -105 Under -115) at Fanduel. I’m not sure where I lean myself.
On the one hand, they have an advantage not many other teams have this offseason: continuity. The Eagles will return their entire coaching staff as well as their QB from 2019. Some may be skeptical of Wentz, but I have him as a top-five QB in the league.
You can argue their additions to the secondary and WR corps outweigh the loss of Brooks, in which case they’d be a better squad from last season. Their first three weeks also allow them a chance for a fast start to the season.
On the other hand, they were an average team, to begin with, so the additions might not mean that much anyway. If Reagor can’t produce right away, the WR corps could once again leave a lot to be desired. The loss of Brooks could be too much to overcome. I could also be overstating how good Wentz is, while Pederson may not be as good of a head coach as I think.
Despite a Super Bowl win and two playoff appearances the following two seasons, it’s reasonable to believe that Frank Reich was most responsible for their 2017 success. Then again, Wentz was hobbled for all of 2018 before being shut down, while they had an excessive amount of injuries in 2019. Yet, the Eagles still made the playoffs both seasons. Their advanced metrics aren’t all that impressive, but you can’t take away the continued playoff appearances under Pederson.
So what is the bet?
I don’t have a strong feeling about the Eagles’ win total. I would lean to the over as well as their division odds, but I could easily be overestimating Wentz and Pederson and underestimating the loss of Brooks. I wouldn’t take the alternate win total of over 10.5 because I think 11 wins will be hard to achieve with the Eagles schedule.
Laying (-134) isn’t something I prefer to do on a season-long bet like this. I’d sooner take the 9.5 at (-105) and lose the possibility of a push. If you prefer the under, I do like the alternate of 8.5 at +170 that Fanduel offers.
I also recommended Wentz’s MVP odds at 25/1 in a previous article. I’m still okay with that bet, but I am staying away from the Eagles’ win total and division odds for now.
Bets: None. Lean Over 9.5