Eagles Analysis: 8 Predictions for the 2015 Season

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Aug 22, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jordan Matthews (81) is tackled by Baltimore Ravens defensive back Kyle Arrington (24) during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Matthews will post a 83/1,250/12 line on his way to his first Pro-Bowl

In my opinion, this could be the easiest prediction on this list.

Jordan Matthews had a very impressive rookie season, converting 67 receptions into 872 yards and 8 touchdowns. Unfortunately, because of an uncharacteristically productive season for rookie receivers, Matthews was overshadowed by the likes of Odell Beckham and Mike Evans. It’d be dangerous for opponents to allow Matthews’ under-the-radar rookie season slip their attention, however, as he is a talented pass catcher in his own right, and appears primed for a prolific sophomore campaign.

Matthews was very clearly the second receiving option last season, however, with Jeremy Maclin now catching passes from Alex Smith, Matthews is the preeminent number one target in the Eagles aerial attack.

Matthews has the frame and skill set to stretch the field and haul in a high volume of targets from both the outside and the slot. Skill set aside, Matthews newfound role has been a staggeringly productive one for Eagles receivers over the previous 2 years. In 2013 DeSean Jackson posted a line of 82/1,332/9, while Jeremy Maclin snagged 85 balls for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns. Matthews doesn’t possess the pure speed of Jackson, or the fluidity of Maclin, but he’s more versatile and is a far superior red zone weapon than either of his predecessors.

Matthews will be deployed in a variety of ways, and should be Sam Bradford’s preferred target entering his sophomore season. Bradford and Matthews already appear to have developed a rapport through training camp and the preseason, and should carry their chemistry into the regular season. Before you downplay the product of preseason play, recall that Matthews and Mark Sanchez developed a similar rapport last summer, and carried it into the regular season themselves. With Sanchez at the helm, Matthews caught 37 balls for 594 yards and 6 touchdowns. Prorated over a full season, thats a 74/1,188/12 line; not far off from what I have projected for Matthews this year. Consider the upside that Bradford offers, and Matthews improvement in year 2, and it’s possible that my proposed line could be considered conservative. Still, the focus on the running game and the array of weapons should limit Matthews’ volume.

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