One of the best things about sportswriting is getting to look back at all the predictions you made in the beginning of a season and see either how ridiculously wrong they were or how amazingly correct they were. In my case, there was a little bit of both. I went through some of my posts before the season started and compiled some of my predictions for things that would happen, such as their record, performance of the team and performance of the rookies. Here’s what I found:
First of all, I think I got the most important thing right: their record. I didn’t always get it right which team they would beat, making interesting predictions of them losing to the Panthers and beating the Packers. But I predicted they’d end up at 10-6 and that’s what happened. Of course, I also assumed that’d be good enough to make the playoffs, but that’s a different story.
“As I’ve been suggesting, this will probably be enough to either win them the division or at least get them a wild card berth. After that, I can’t guarantee much else,” I said back in April 2014. It turns out I was even being a little too optimistic. I actually did predict a late season collapse with a 3-game losing streak against the Seahawks, Cowboys and Redskins. Yes, I actually did predict the Eagles to lose to the Redskins in Week 16. I’m hoping I didn’t jinx them with that prediction. I just know the Eagles too well…they always do stuff like that.
Overall, here’s the breakdown of who I had them winning and losing against:
Wins: Jaguars, Redskins, Rams, Giants, Cardinals, Texans, Packers, Titans, Cowboys and Giants
Losses: Colts, 49ers, Panthers, Seahawks, Cowboys and Redskins
So, it turns out I was 12-4 in terms of predicting the Eagles schedule. Not bad, huh? If only they could’ve been better at playing football than I was at predicting their outcomes. Oh well. I’m surprised I had them losing to the Panthers of all games. Here’s a funny quote from my predictions: “What makes this game even better is that it’s Monday Night Football. It’s a home game for the Eagles, but it’s going to be a real test. Is the Eagles offense still good enough to score at will, especially on a defense like the Panthers?”
Well, all three of those sentences were incorrect. For anyone who actually watched the game. The fact that it was Monday Night Football did not add value to the game. In fact, it was such a blowout that Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden spent a period of the game making smoothies in the press box instead of paying attention to the game. Yeah. It wasn’t a test at all, and the offense ended up torching the Panthers defense even with Mark Sanchez at quarterback. That was one of the most dominant games of their season.
I’m also a bit surprised that I picked them to beat the Packers. The Packers are clearly one of the best teams in the NFC at this point and they destroyed the Eagles. There was absolutely no chance the Eagles were going to win that game as soon as it started. Those were probably my only bad predictions. It’s fair to have picked the Eagles to beat the Cardinals and lose to the Colts…in fact, both of those predictions were basically a play away from coming true. Those were tight games and basically a wash in their schedule.
In terms of free agency, I had a lot to say. At one point, I said “Roseman is doing an excellent job of getting this team to the next level.” Hmm, well, we know that the Eagles made some good moves, but I said this after re-signing Cedric Thornton and releasing Jason Avant. I guess that was a bit premature to suggest that he was doing an excellent job.
I had one post in the beginning of March in which I went over five players that were likely to be released that offseason. Well, I was right about the first one with Avant and another with Patrick Chung (who ended up having a really good season back in New England), but I also said they’d cut James Casey, Brandon Graham and Trent Cole. All three of those guys lasted on the team the whole season. They might be good candidates to leave the team before the 2015 season, but even that is still to be determined.
When the Eagles traded a mere fifth round pick for Darren Sproles, I predicted that his returning duties would be very important to their team, something that was quite accurate. He even made the Pro Bowl after leading the league in punt return average and punt return touchdowns. Later in the post I talked about them signing Nolan Carroll, calling the Eagles’ group of cornerbacks a “pretty solid group.” That’s probably the least accurate thing I could’ve said. I also said I’d be fine with any two of Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher and Carroll to start. Wow, I wish I could’ve stopped myself.
Then the draft came, and rightfully so I was disappointed with the Marcus Smith selection. The Eagles needed an OLB, but not a starter. They just needed some depth. It turned out that Smith would be buried in the depth chart and finish the season without a tackle. Hmm, was it that he just wasn’t ready or was it that they didn’t need him? Probably a bit of both. I was naturally happy with the selection of Jordan Matthews and skeptical of the Josh Huff pick. Both of those predictions turned out right.
I was also skeptical about the Taylor Hart pick, who didn’t end up playing in a single game. I said that S Ed Reynolds would battle for a starting safety position, and he didn’t even make the roster. Whoops. I was being a little too nice with the draft saying that it wasn’t great, but it wasn’t terrible. I can’t really say that it was terrible after seeing the full season, but I’d give it a C- at best, better than the B- I gave the draft immediately afterwards.
In terms of preseason analysis, I was mostly upset with how their defense looked, especially the cornerbacks. Granted, I was mostly bashing guys that never played in the regular season such as Roc Carmichael and Curtis Marsh, but it was clear from the beginning that that would be a weak position for them all year. I predicted that Alex Henery would still make the team after the second preseason game, even though he missed a field goal that game. After the third week when he missed yet another field goal (a 31-yarder nonetheless), I still said he would make the roster over newly acquired Cody Parkey. But after Parkey’s magnificent performance in the final preseason game, I changed my mind.
Overall, I had some good predictions and some bad ones. It’s impossible to get everything right. I was most proud of my correct prediction of their record, which is always hard to do. I wish I was wrong though and writing how they just won the Super Bowl, but they’re still not there yet. Yet another disappointing ending to a season. Eagles fans rebound quickly though. I’m ready for the offseason.