Updated September 9, 2021
BY Ryan Ward

3 Reasons Why Philadelphia Eagles Will Shock the NFL, Win NFC East

The Philadelphia Eagles are coming off a lowly 4-11-1 campaign that was well short of competing for a playoff spot. 

Philadelphia experienced struggles at quarterback all season long. This eventually led to a midseason change which inserted second-round rookie Jalen Hurts into the starting lineup. With 2020 behind them, and a lot of optimism now that Hurts is the full-time starter, the Eagles are primed for a run in 2021.

Here are three reasons why the Eagles could end up NFC East division champions in 2021.

Jalen Hurts Will Emerge as a Franchise QB

The Eagles went all-in on Hurts this offseason after trading former "franchise quarterback" Carson Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts. 

They have officially passed the reins of the offense to the Alabama and Oklahoma product to prove he can be the franchise’s future under center. Hurts has said all the right things in training camp and his teammates have spoken highly about his work ethic and accountability within the organization.

However, it’s time for him to prove it on the field, and the 2021 season is the perfect opportunity. Hurts has always been a dynamic playmaker. He also thrives when surrounded by top talent. He may have an explosive playmaker with rookie wideout DeVonta Smith, who can step in as the team’s top passing game target.

They will also return tight end, Zach Ertz, after a rumored-filled offseason. Ertz has been a staple within the organization and played a big role in their 2017 Super Bowl championship. With a good combination of talent and veteran leadership, Hurts will have every opportunity to succeed.

If all of that clicks, watch out. 

More Talent in the Backfield

Through his first two seasons, Miles Sanders has shown flashes of promise as a true offensive game-breaker.

The former Penn State star struggled with injuries last year but managed to rack up 867 rushing yards and six touchdowns in 12 games played. As he rolls through training camp, Sanders is motivated to prove he can be a dominant factor as a runner and receiver. 

"I want to be the best at everything I do," Sanders said earlier in training camp. "I put in a lot of hard work and I'm just starting things, I feel. It's my third year and I know the league, but I feel young and strong and ready to be the best I can be."

Sanders will have every opportunity to shine as a three-down back. He will also serve as some relief for Hurts as he works through his first full season as the starter. If the third-year tailback can find his footing early, it could provide much-needed balance to the Eagles’ offense.

Defensive Improvement

The Eagles finished last year as a middle-of-the-pack defense, ranking 14th in total yards allowed and 15th against the pass. 

Philadelphia dealt with injuries in the secondary throughout the year, but there is definitely room for improvement. Safety Rodney McLeod will be returning from a season-ending torn ACL while offseason addition Anthony Harris will provide steady play in the secondary. Cornerback Steven Nelson should have more comfort playing opposite of Pro Bowler Darius Slay. If the Eagles can improve in that area, it should allow the defense to play more effectively against the rest of the NFC East. 

Simply put, the Eagles have all the ingredients to make some noise in a historically weak division. If all the talent can come together, we are looking at a very dangerous team in Philadelphia. 

Photo: Getty Images

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