Eagles Football

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz in action at the NFL football team's practice facility in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The Eagles are supposed to be good this season.

The Moneyline Sports Book at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa lists them as co-favorites with New Orleans to win the NFC. Several national analysts already have predicted there will be another Lombardi Trophy in the trophy case at Philadelphia's NovaCare Complex after Super Bowl LIV.

The hype has been building throughout the offseason and training camp. Carson Wentz is leaner and maybe a little bit meaner after finishing the last two seasons on the sideline. There's a bevy of offensive talent around him at wide receiver, tight end and running back.

No reason they can't put up 40 points every game.

"I think everyone's really excited because we know we have a lot of talent," Wentz said. "We know we have the ability to do something special."

The players are just as eager as the fans to finally get the season rolling.

Coach Doug Pederson opted to hold out most of the starters during the preseason. Their only semblance of competition occurred during a pair of joint practices with Baltimore.

Sunday's opener against Washington will be their first real action, their first opportunity to live up to the hype.

"Everyone's talking about how this is the year (to win the Super Bowl)," Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said. "Now we'll get to see what we are. All the talk is over. It comes off the paper and is now on the field."

The Eagles should win the NFC East, though Dallas will also challenge for the division. But there are some issues that need to be resolved before they can be considered legitimate contenders.

The main one is a defense that has more question marks than actor Jim Carrey's Riddler costume in the "Batman Forever" movie.

Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox underwent offseason foot surgery and practiced with the team for the first time Wednesday, as in four days before the first game. Same goes for defensive end Derek Barnett.

Middle linebacker Nigel Bradham had surgery on his big toe that kept him out until last week. The other projected starting linebacker, Kamu Grugier-Hill, is out with a knee injury.

The secondary is also in flux. Cornerback Ronald Darby is getting over a knee injury, and cornerback Jalen Mills is starting the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list.

The offense also has its issues.

Right guard Brandon Brooks is coming back from a torn Achilles. Right tackle Lane Johnson missed the preseason with a knee injury. Left tackle Jason Peters is at the end of the line both literally and figuratively.

The most impressive Eagles place-kicker during training camp was Carli Lloyd.

Of course, everything depends on the quarterback.

Wentz changed his diet and his workout regimen in the offseason. He looked good in training camp, but that injury history can't be ignored.

If he gets hurt again, the Eagles are toast. Neither 75-year-old Josh McCown nor Nate Sudfeld is capable of duplicating what Nick Foles was able to accomplish the last two seasons.

That's why I'm reserving judgment as to just how successful the Eagles will be this season.

With Wentz, they should be able to live up to the hype as Super Bowl contenders.

Without him, they have no shot.

David Weinberg's Extra Points column appears Wednesdays and Sundays in The Press.

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DWeinberg@pressofac.com

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