The Philadelphia Eagles finished up the 2014 season with a respectable 10-6 record, but were left on the outside looking in at the playoffs, as the top heavy NFC saw the Detroit Lions and Arizona Cardinals both take down the two Wild Card spots at 11-5.

While it’s come with plenty of criticism and head scratching moves, the Eagles have posted back-to-back 10-win seasons in the first two years under Chip Kelly. Philadelphia was actually in prime position to make the playoffs after a 9-3 start, but a 3-game losing streak to start December proved costly.

The 2015 offseason will be remembered for quite some time in Philadelphia, as the Eagles made numerous blockbuster moves, including trading away starting quarterback Nick Foles and top running back LeSean McCoy. Whether or not the offseason is the demise of Kelly or the focal point of a brilliance, will certainly be fun to watch.

Last Season
NFC East
Record
ATS Record
Home ATS
Road ATS
Over/Under
2nd
10-6
9-7
5-3
4-4
10-5-1
Offense Rank
Defense Rank
Turnover Margin
Points For
Points Against
5th
28th
-8
29.6
25.0
2015 Roster Changes
Draft Picks
Nelson Agholor (WR), Eric Rowe (CB), Jordan Hicks (OLB),  JaCorey Shepherd (CB), Randall Evans (CB), Brian Mihalik (DE)
Additions
DeMarco Murray (RB), Sam Bradford (QB), Kiko Alonso (ILB), Ryan Matthews (RB), Byron Maxwell (CB), Walter Thurmond (CB), Miles Austin (WR), E.J. Biggers (FS), Seyi Ajirotutu (WR)
Losses
LeSean McCoy (RB), Nick Foles (QB), Jeremy Maclin (WR), Trent Cole (OLB), Nate Allen (SS), Bradley Fletcher (CB), Todd Herremans (OG), Casey Matthews (ILB), Cary Williams (CB), James Casey (TE), Brad Smith (WR), Cedric Thornton (DE)
2015 Schedule & Odds
Week Opponent Spread Win Chance
1 @ Falcons -1 0.51
2 Cowboys -2 0.53
3 @ Jets -2.5 0.55
4 @ Redskins -2.5 0.55
5 Saints -4 0.66
6 Giants -4 0.66
7 @ Panthers PK 0.50
8 BYE
9 @ Cowboys +2.5 0.45
10 Dolphins -3.5 0.64
11 Buccaneers -8.5 0.80
12 @ Lions +2 0.47
13 @ Patriots +4 0.34
14 Bills -3.5 0.64
15 Cardinals -1.5 0.53
16 Redskins -7 0.75
17 @ Giants PK 0.50
Estimated Wins: 9.08
Roster Breakdown

Kelly hasn’t had much problem inserting his high-powered and fast-paced offense into the NFL. The Eagles ranked 5th in total offense (396.8 ypg) and 3rd in scoring offense (29.6 ppg). They did so behind a balanced offensive attack that finished in the Top 10 in both rushing (124.5 ypg, 9th) and passing (272.2 ypg, 6th).

Those impressive numbers came with Foles playing just 8 games, as backup Mark Sanchez stepped in and did a admirable job as the starter down the stretch. There’s going to be a lot of people who question Kelly’s decision to trade Foles for Sam Bradford, who has had problems staying healthy. Personally, I think there’s a lot of upside here for the Eagles. If Bradford can stay injury-free, he’s got the potential to put up huge numbers in this offense. Just look at how much better Sanchez was under Kelly than his time with the Jets. I don’t think there’s a big difference between Foles and Sanchez, so worse case is Bradford gets hurt and they have a similarly capable quarterback as the one they would have had with Foles.

I’m sure the loss of McCoy didn’t sit well with some fans, but in my opinion I think they are better off without him. The McCoy’s style of running wasn’t the best fit for Kelly’s offense and he’s being replaced by the league’s leading rusher in DeMarco Murray, who had 1,845 yards and 13 touchdowns with Dallas last year. A lot of that did have to do with Murray running behind a great offensive line, but he’s now in a great system in Philadelphia. The Eagles can also limit his carries to keep him fresh, as they added in Ryan Mattews and still have the dangerous Darren Sproles.

Where I start to have some concerns is in the passing game, specifically at wide receiver. The Eagles let their top weapon in Jeremy Maclin (85 catches, 1,318 yards, 10 touchdowns) leave in free agency. That’s a tough act to replace, though they are high on 2nd-year wide Jordan Matthews, who had 67 catches for 872 yards and 8 touchdowns as a rookie. They also used their 1st round pick on USC’s Nelson Agholor, who is a very similar type player to Maclin. Not to mention they have a promising young tight end in Zach Ertz, as well as veterans Riley Cooper and newly acquired Miles Austin.

I believe the biggest losses on offense came up front on the offensive line, where Kelly questionably parted ways with both starting guards in Evan Mathis and Todd Herremans. They are well equipped on the outside at both tackle spots with Jason Peters and Lane Johnson, as well as in the middle with All-Pro caliber center Jason Kelce. Hard telling who will end up at the two guard spots. The leading candidates are Allan Barbre, Dennis Kelly and recently acquired John Moffit.

Defensively the Eagles must improve if they want to take that next step. Last year Philadelphia ranked 28th in total defense (375.6 ypg) and T-22nd in scoring defense (25.0 ppg). While it doesn’t figure to be one of the elite defenses in the NFL, the Eagles do look to be better on this side of the ball going into 2015.

The key piece acquired in the McCoy trade was inside linebacker Kiko Alonso, who had a sensational rookie season before missing all of last year with a torn ACL. They also added a couple of free agent corners in Byron Maxwell and Walter Thurmond, plus used a 2nd round pick on Utah defensive back Eric Rowe and a 3rd round selection on Texas’ linebacker Jordan Hicks.

The only unit that remains intact from last year is the defensive line, which will once again send out Fletcher Cox and Cedric Thomas as their two 3-4 defensive ends, along with nose tackle Bennie Logan. While these 3 are a solid starting trio, they are hoping to get more out of 4th-year defensive end Vinny Curry and 2nd-year nose tackle Beau Allen.

With Alonso figuring to take over as one of the two starting inside linebackers, veteran DeMeco Ryans will likely move to a backup with Alonso starting next to Mychal Kendricks. Ryans didn’t seem to grasp the 3-4 system, so this should end up being a big boost the defense. Sack artist Connor Barwin (14.5 sacks) and Brandon Graham return on the outside and will be counted on to put pressure on the quarterback.

Adding in 3 new defensive backs makes a lot of sense, considering the Eagles were 31st in the NFL last year against the pass (272.2 ypg). Regardless of which two corners end up starting, it will be a welcomed upgrade over Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams. If Rowe is able to show enough to start at safety alongside the talented Malcolm Jenkins, this could end up being one of the most improved secondaries in the league.

Future Odds
Regular Season Win Total
to Win the NFC
to Win Super Bowl L
9
19 to 2
22 to 1
Odds Courtesty of 5Dimes
Projections

Posting back-to-back double-digit win seasons is no easy task in the NFL and it’s almost as if it’s going unnoticed in Philadelphia. Most are handing over the division to Dallas, but I wouldn’t be so quick to count out the Eagles. As crazy as his approach may seem, Kelly’s vision has worked pretty well in his first 2 years. I am a bit skeptical of all the change hurting some of their chemistry, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if they won the division.

While I have the Eagles picked to finish 2nd behind the Cowboys, I have Philadelphia just 1-game back at 10-6, which should put them right in the thick of things for a Wild Card spot. The Eagles win total has been set at 9, which I think is a favorable number given they have won 10 games in each of the last two years. Keep in mind they had 3 losses last year by 5-points or less, so they weren’t far off from a 13-3 campaign. Unlike others, I think it’s a mistake to undermine Kelly’s approach, as he’s done nothing but produce winning football to this point.

NFC East Finish
Division Record
Overall Record
Win Total Prediction
2nd
3-3
10-6
OVER 9
Eagles 10-Year Recap
Year W L Playoffs Coach Win Total
2014 10 6 Kelly 9
2013 10 6 Lost WC Kelly 7.5
2012 4 12 Reid 10
2011 8 8 Reid 10.5
2010 10 6 Lost WC Reid 8.5
2009 11 5 Lost WC Reid 9.5
2008 9 7 Lost Conf Reid 8.5
2007 8 8 Reid 9
2006 10 6 Lost Div Reid 8.5
2005 6 10 Reid 11.5

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