Flying Into The Unknown

Well — here it is, the beginning of another NFL season.  Last night's Steelers-Titans game was pretty entertaining to watch, though certain of the Steelers faithful must have had their hearts in their throats at certain points, I imagine.

Going into the last several seasons, I used to think I knew where the Eagles would be.  Whether they'd rightfully be the best team in their division and legitimate Super Bowl contender, or whether they'd be scrapping for a playoff spot.

This year — I have no clue.  Everyone of course is talking about the surprise addition of Michael Vick — and I'm sure there will be a lot of words spent on Vick's impact (or lack of one) — but let's face it, in absence of an injury to starting QB Donovan McNabb, this offense will rely on McNabb, Westbrook, Jackson, and perhaps newcomer WR Jeremy Maclin.  More than what Vick will do, I really want to know that they'll be able convert 3rd-and-1 with some consistency.

Some in the media are saying this team will be an offensive juggernaut, and I fully expect they'll tag a few teams with 30+… but I've watched enough Reid-McNabb teams to know there will be baffling inconsistency and play calling and an inability to move the ball.

And I fear that they're going to need to move it, because while there have been improvements on offense, the defense has taken some hits.  Most notably, the death of defensive coordinator Jim Johnson (who's replaced by disciple Sean McDermott) and the departure of longtime stalwart Brian Dawkins — a free agent the Reid brain trust no longer thought was worth the money.  There have been LB injuries in camp that makes me fear they won't be able to stop the run much better than last year.

The schedule is a mixed bag — the NFC East will continue to feast on its own and there are tough games against Panthers, Saints, Chargers, and revitalized Bears.  A blessing is the rest of the AFC West — giving games against  Chiefs, Broncos, Raiders in addition to a depleted Bucs.

I think they will likely go anywhere from 9-7 to 11-5 — though if there's a defensive implosion it's not impossible to see 0.500 or worse.  We'll just have to see as we get there!

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