75°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Do the Philadelphia Eagles Have A Chance at the Super Bowl?

Carson Wentz of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Carson Wentz of the Philadelphia Eagles.

At the start of every NFL season in September, the League is subject to innumerous amounts of fan and media speculation. We predict division winners, worst teams, Super Bowl winners, and who will win every award. Of course, this current NFL season was no different.

Coming into the season, we had the usual suspects named as the favorites to hoist the Lombardi Trophy in February. The teams often mentioned were the New England Patriots, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Green Bay Packers, the Dallas Cowboys, and the Seattle Seahawks. However, one team not mentioned that has earned its place as a Super Bowl contender is the Philadelphia Eagles.

At this time last year, the Eagles were 3-2 and showing a lot of promise in the NFC East. However, rookie quarterback Carson Wentz hit some of the usual rookie problems. This is understandable considering the team around him was also very young. After going 3-2 through week six (they had a bye in week four) the Eagles would boast a record of 4-7 in their remaining 11 games. During the season, Wentz threw 16 touchdowns, compared to 14 interceptions. These are not ideal numbers, but it is not uncommon for talented young quarterbacks to struggle mightily in their rookie seasons.

This year has been a massive step forward for Wentz. Through the first six weeks of the 2017 season, Wentz has thrown 13 touchdowns to three interceptions. He also has brought his quarterback rating up from 79.3 to 99.6. Wentz is also averaging more yards per play, has a better pass completion percentage, and has even displayed the ability to create plays with his feet. A good quarterback is the most important ingredient to building a Super Bowl caliber team, and going off what Wentz has shown thus far, the Eagles certainly should feel comfortable with the man they have under center.

Now, is the quarterback position the only one of any importance when evaluating a team’s Super Bowl merits? No, of course not. There are other things that make Philadelphia as viable as they are. Even though the Eagles are ranked 23 in total defense, there is more to the score than that.

The Eagles have a very young and athletic defense that forces turnovers. In fact, Philadelphia ranks at four in the NFL for takeaways. In addition to that, they also rank number one in the entire NFL in rushing yards per game. They have a defense that is very good situationally as well. Yes, they’ve allowed the 23rd most yards so far this season, but they have allowed the 13th fewest points, and 9th fewest points per game. Although the Philadelphia Eagles allow teams to move the ball, these numbers tell us that they can limit scoring once teams get inside the red zone.

So, are the Eagles a legit contender? Only time will tell. Sitting at 5-1 through week six is very different from sitting at 3-2. Wentz has already established himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the league this season and is supported by a defense capable of making stops when they must. The future is most definitely a bright one for the long-tortured Philadelphia Eagles franchise. The only question is whether the future is now.