Extra Points: Eagles try finding hangover cure for Super Bowl loss
By DAVID WEINBERG
The Eagles are hoping to avoid a Super Bowl hangover this season. It’s not easy - Cures that might work after imbibing, I’ve found that drinking a glass of water and taking Advil works to fend off a Margarita-infused headache – have traditionally been powerless for NFL teams.
It’s been particularly difficult for NFC franchises. Other than Seattle, which reached the Super Bowl in the 2013-14 seasons, no one from that conference has made back-to-back appearances in the championship game since Dallas won two straight in the 1992-93 seasons.
“You’ve got to be really good to win in this league,” Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said during the offseason. “You’ve got to be really good to get in the playoffs even, right? Then you’re gonna have some luck involved in it.”
The Eagles were both really good and lucky last season. A talented and healthy lineup reached the Super Bowl before losing a nail biter to the Kansas City Chiefs. They had all 22 starters available for the big game, which is a rarity in the NFL. Remember that 2017 Eagles team that won the Super Bowl? They were missing three big starters heading into that championship game.
More challenges await this season, starting with Sunday’s opener at New England. Last season’s success begat a tough schedule, at least on paper. Several key players from last season – most notably Linebacker T. J. Edwards (Bears), Safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson (Lions), Defensive Tackle Javon Hargrave (49ers), Right Guard Isaac Seumalo (Steelers), and Running Back Miles Sanders (Panthers) – are all with other teams.
They also lost both coordinators, with Jonathan Gannon (Cardinals) and Shane Steichen (Colts) getting head coaching jobs elsewhere (with much worse rosters than they worked with in Philadelphia).
Still, they have the talent to not only reach the Super Bowl again, but also to win their first championship since then-coach Doug Pederson and Quarterback Nick Foles delivered a 41-33 win over the Patriots at Super Bowl LVII in the 2017 season.
Here’s one projection how the upcoming season will play out, starting with Sunday’s opener at New England. Keep in mind that I reserve the right to amend my predictions on a weekly basis. If they do wind up winning the Super Bowl, I’d suggest celebrating with a Margarita.
Rest in peace, Jimmy Buffett
Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 10, at New England Patriots (4:25 p.m.): The Eagles open the season by re-creating “Philly Special" with Tight end Dallas Goedert throwing a TD pass to quarterback Jalen Hurts. (WIN)
Week 2: Thursday, Sept. 14, vs. Minnesota Vikings (8:15 p.m.) – The Eagles make the Vikings pay for cutting Cape May resident Colin Thompson. The Birds cruise to a win while Thompson’s family and friends watch at the C-View in Cape May (WIN).
Week 3: Monday, Sept. 25 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7:15 p.m.) – Tampa Bay ruins my wife’s 65th birthday party by dealing the Birds their first defeat of the season. (LOSS).
Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 1 vs. Washington Commanders (1 p.m.) – Absegami High School graduate Abdullah Anderson gets two sacks for the Commanders, but the Eagles still prevail. (WIN).
Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 8 at Los Angeles Rams (4:05 p.m.) – Although the Angels miss the playoffs yet again, Halos outfielder Mike Trout, an Eagles’ season-ticket holder, sticks around in order to watch his favorite team in action. (WIN)
Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 15 at New York Jets (4:25 p.m.) – New Jets Quarterback Aaron Rodgers throws two TD passes and runs for another, but pulls a hamstring trying to do a Lambeau Leap at MetLife Stadium. (LOSS).
Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 22 vs. Miami Dolphins (8:20 p.m.) – Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham gets two-a sacks against Tua. (WIN).
Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 29 at Washington Commanders (1 p.m.) – The Eagles get off to a slow start because they aren’t used to playing at 1 p.m. and don’t quite recover. (LOSS).
Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 5 vs. Dallas Cowboys (4:25 p.m.) – Eagles rookie defensive lineman Jalen Carter gets his first two NFL sacks. (WIN).
Week 10: Bye Week
Week 11: Monday, Nov. 20 at Kansas City Chiefs (8:15 p.m.) – Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco (Vineland High School) rushes for two TDs in a Chiefs win. Eagles center Jason Kelce bans his brother Travis from the family home in Sea Isle City for the 2024 summer. (LOSS).
Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 26 vs. Buffalo Bills (4:25 p.m.) – Bills cornerback Damar Hamlin returns an interception for a touchdown. (LOSS).
Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 3 vs. San Francisco 49ers (4:25 p.m.) – Ex-Eagle Javon Hargrave gets two sacks for the 49ers, but QB Jalen Hurts still throws for three TDs. (WIN).
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 10 at Dallas Cowboys (8:20 p.m.) – Cowboys WR CeeDee Lamb has 150 receiving yards and two TDs, thus allowing my son to win his Fantasy Football league. (LOSS).
Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 17 at Seattle Seahawks (4:25 p.m.) – Seahawks hire the guy who tosses the fish at Pike Place Market to play quarterback. He throws three interceptions. (WIN).
Week 16: Monday, Dec. 25, New York Giants (4:30 p.m.) – Backup quarterback Marcus Mariota throws three TD passes and celebrates by shouting, “Merry Christmas, Philadelphia!” (WIN).
Week 17 – Sunday, Dec. 31 vs. Arizona Cardinals (1 p.m.) – Cardinals Tight End Zach Ertz’s wife Julie, replaces Kyler Murray and throws a 50-yard TD pass to her husband, thus proving again she has a better arm. (WIN).
Week 18 – TBD, at New York Giants (TBD) – Eagles rest most of their starters in a meaningless finale. The Giants capitalize with a victory and earn a wildcard spot. (LOSS)
Final record: 10-7 (first place in NFC East).