Let’s hope the Eagles keep that oft-mentioned trend going (for now)

Jalen Hurts #1, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Jalen Hurts #1, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Watch enough of ESPN or the NFL Network’s programming, and whenever the Philadelphia Eagles or the rest of their rivals in the NFC East are mentioned, the chances are high that you’re going to hear a common take on a well-publicized streak. The NFC East hasn’t had a repeat champion since the Birds won four straight division titles from 2001 until 2004.

These days, whenever that’s brought up, it’s being said for one of two reasons. The Dallas Cowboys finished in first place last season after Washington took the crown in 2020. Despite several key losses from their roster and what’s been seen as a questionable draft and offseason, some believe they’ll finally give the NFC East a repeat champion.

The Eagles are expected to be their biggest roadblock in achieving that. Their offseason has been graded as one of the NFL’s best. Many NFL pundits who aren’t picking Dallas say it’s Philly’s time. Let’s hope they’re right and this streak of crowning a new champion in the NFC East continues.

Then, we can begin talking about ending that streak in 2023.

Here’s a quick peek at what the experts are saying about the Eagles and the rest of the NFC East ahead of training camp.

Some streaks are fun, that string of consecutive starts by Jason Kelce for instance, or that run of 20 consecutive wins by the Oakland A’s in 2002, one that was highlighted brilliantly one year later in the literary classic Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game and the film Moneyball, which made its debut in 2011. Some streaks are no fun. Take the Eagles’ string of consecutive losses to the Cowboys for example.

The Birds have lost three straight games to Dallas (and seven of the last nine). That’s a stain that Birds fans would like to get off of their souls. Hopefully, that happens sooner rather than later.

If Philadelphia wins this division, they’ll have to go through the Cowboys, not around them. How their games versus one another play out will have a lot to do in determining if that happens.

Recently, ESPN  reporters from each of the NFC East’s four teams got together: Todd Archer (Cowboys), Jordan Raanan (New York Giants), John Keim (Washington Commanders), and Tim McManus (Birds). They shared their theories on every team’s training camp, predicted order of finish, and other things.

Archer believes the Cowboys will win the division again. McManus states Philly’s chances of a division title will rest on the right arm of Jalen Hurts. Again, this looks like a two-team race, but we’ve been wrong before. Still, as McManus states, signs of improvement were evident this spring. As far as the rest of the division goes, here are a few random notes.

The New York Giants are a trainwreck. They haven’t won the NFC East since 2011, their last Super Bowl season, and they figure to finish in the cellar and among the NFL’s worst teams in 2022. The Washington Commanders will be competitive. They always cause the Birds issue, but they aren’t ready to take that next step. Adding Carson Wentz does little to convince us that the trend won’t continue this season.

All of that was said to repeat the previous statement. The Eagles can and should win the NFC East in 2022. Again, it all comes down to Jalen Hurts taking the next step. That can’t be said enough.

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If Hurts soars, the Eagles will soar right along with him. If he falters, Philly is still good enough to make the playoffs, but they’ll do so as a Wild Card.

As always, much hinges on the divisional schedule, particularly a pair of games versus the Cowboys. Hurts has never beaten Dallas as Philly’s starting quarterback. Fingers are crossed that he takes care of business this season.