Intriguing trades, bold moves and brazen manoeuvring are just some of the talking points where Chip Kelly's Eagles are concerned. Amidst these changes, what should NFL bettors expect? Here are some bold predictions to consider in 2015-2016 for the Eagles.
Where Do The Eagles Go From Here?
Two seasons in a row, Chip Kelly has led the Philadelphia Eagles to a 10-6 finish. While it was good enough to send them into the playoffs two years ago, it didn't last season. Many things conspired against the Eagles, including injury to Nick Foles. But they also collapsed in spectacular fashion down the stretch, playing a significant part in their own demise. Indeed, they earned the dubious honour of becoming the first team in the NFL to start 9-3 only to miss the playoffs before week 17.
It's no wonder that Chip Kelly took an axe to the team, despite their double-digit season. Parting ways with Nick Foles and LeSean McCoy, amongst several others, he signed free agents DeMarco Murray (a scoop) and Byron Maxwell. He picked up Sam Bradford from the Rams and, potentially, going to resurrect Tim Tebow for a second coming in the NFL. Moves that have caused quite a stir. And by all accounts can go one of two ways: either make him one of the most brilliant tacticians in the game or make him the latest laughing stock of the NFL.
Odds makers have installed the Philadelphia Eagles as joint faves with Dallas Cowboys to win the NFC East at +150 NFL odds. They also extend this courtesy, which appears to be underscored by a firm belief in Chip Kelly's NFL nous, in season win totals by projecting an identical 9.5 season win total. The only difference being that the OVER is trading at EVEN odds while the UNDER is trading at +105 NFL odds now.
Whether this is just an overly optimistic outlook or a reasonable expectation remains to be seen. The Eagles do have the 9th easiest schedule in the league, which is underscored by a 0.475 winning percentage. Last year, when they enjoyed the 20th toughest NFL schedule with a 0.478 winning percentage they mustered up a 10-4 SU record. Is it unreasonable, therefore, to expect this revamped Eagles side to perform up to expectations with a relatively comparable NFL schedule?
Here are some bold NFL picks and predictions for the 2015-16 Philadelphia Eagles.
1. Exit LeSean McCoy. Enter DeMarco Murray.
Although LeSean McCoy's departure is a loss, it shouldn't be a huge problem with DeMarco Murray's arrival. The former Dallas running back led the NFL with 1, 845 yards, a full 500-yards-and-some change more than Pittsburgh's Le'Veon Bell, who finished second on the NFL stats sheet.
Odds makers have rolled out NFL futures for the most rushing yards. Adrian Peterson leads the pack as the favorite at +500 while Marshawn Lynch is the second fave at +600. DeMarco Murray, meanwhile, is third at +650 NFL odds. Given the offensive-minded Chip Kelly and the explosive style of the Eagles, one has to consider Murray has a leg up over the pair of favorites and could very well replicate his 2014 season to lead the charts. He's not a lock NFL pick though and is sure to get a run for his money by the likes of Marshawn Lynch, LeSean McCoy, Arian Foster and Jamal Charles, to name a few others. Still, he does have a reasonable shot and that makes him a value NFL pick as the third overall fave at +650 NFL odds.
2. Total Points Scored
In the two seasons that Chip Kelly has managed the Philadelphia Eagles, he not only took them from a 4-12 side to a 10-6 side, but he also managed to set new scoring records with his offensive, high-octane approach to the game. In 2013, the Eagles scored 442 points. Last season, they scored 474 points, marking a 30-plus increase and the third best in the NFL. Only Broncos and Packers scored more, going above 480.
Given the offensive acquisitions made by Chip Kelly, one has to fancy the Eagles to replicate those dizzying numbers again. Regular Season Points Scored total markets are trading across various platforms. At bet365, the UNDER 426 is going for +180 while 426-475 (Inclusive) range is going for +170. If improvement is the name of the game perhaps the OVER 475 at +163 is the right NFL pick. Another NFL betting market that poses as a reasonable NFL pick is to back the Eagles to be the highest scoring team at +700 NFL odds. It's possible the Eagles will accomplish the feat, but not as likely as it is for the Broncos or Packers to do so (both priced at +500) making it another it's a bold NFL pick.
3. Jordan Matthews To Break Out in 2015?
Wide receiver Jordan Matthews is trading as a long shot +6600 NFL pick to lead the NFL in receiving yards. Understandably so after finishing 36th in the NFL with 872 yards, approximately half of the league-leading 1,698 yards posted by Antonio Brown. But he was 18th in the league with 8 touchdowns (a mark shared by several players (WR and TE). With all the changes going on in the Eagles camp, Matthews role might be expanding. That could lead to a breakout season. Of course, winning this category over household names such as Brown, Julio Jones and Demaryius Thomas, to name a few, is a leap. Still, if you're looking for a bold NFL pick...it doesn't get any bolder than this.
At the very least, he's a popular choice to return to his starting role next season. Jeremy Maclin is off to Kansas City (he was ninth overall in the NFL with 1,318 yards), opening a slot for Matthews or anybody else really to step into meaningfully. His competition includes Riley Cooper, who took a step back last year; Josh Huff, who leaves much to be desired; and Nelson Agholor, who is a rookie facing high expectations. Of the lot, one has to like Matthews chances of becoming the go-to target on the field, in which case he could give some of the favorites a run for their money.