ESPN Ranks the NFL’s Most Likely Worst-to-First Teams in 2021
It happens every season, an NFL team goes from worst from first.
According to Bill Barnwell over at ESPN.com: Since the league moved to 32 teams and the eight-division format in 2002, 19 teams have gone from the bottom of the division in one season to the top of the division the following year. That's 19 teams in 19 years.
At 4-11-1 the Eagles finished last in the NFC East in 2020 and now are one of eight teams that are in play to go from worst-to-first in 2021.
So how realistic is it that the Eagles fan do it? Of the eight last place teams from 2020, Barnwell gives the Eagles the third best chance of making the move from the outhouse to the penthouse.
As I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, Philadelphia's offense should be better -- and healthier -- than it was in 2020. The Eagles turned the ball over 29 times and posted a turnover margin of minus-10; they should be better in both categories in 2021. They'll have a new primary quarterback in Jalen Hurts and a new coach in Nick Sirianni. They were also unlucky last season, going 3-6-1 in one-score games.
The best argument for the Eagles is that the competition isn't likely to be any good. In a year in which just about everything went wrong for the organization, they still came within 2.5 games of winning the NFC East. They actually finished with the 11th-toughest schedule in the league, per FPI, but they're expected to have the sixth-easiest slate in football this season.
The criteria that Barnwell used to factor into his decision
- They make a change at quarterback.
- They make changes to their coaching staff.
- They were unlucky the prior year.
- They had terrible turnover ratios.
- Their schedule got easier.
- The rest of the division wasn't very good or declined noticeably.
If you go through that list, the Eagles check off just about every box.
They changed from Carson Wentz to Jalen Hurts. They changed from Doug Pederson to Nick Sirianni. They had a ton of injuries, which I guess could be looked at as unlucky. As mentioned by Barnwell, they were a minus-10 in the turnover ratio category. The schedule is much easier this season and the rest of the division isn't very good either.
Should be an interesting season.