The Philadelphia Eagles were a bit of a surprise team last season, transitioning from 9-8 in 2021 to 14-3 last season. They even made it all the way to the Super Bowl, albeit losing to the Kansas City Chiefs by just three points. There was still a lot of positivity to take from this, however, particularly the Eagles securing their starting quarterback, Jalen Hurts, with a long-term, lucrative deal that significantly reshaped the market for that position at the time. However, Hurts isn't the sole talented player on the roster; the Eagles ranked in the top 10 in various categories for both offense and defense last season. They'll be retaining most of that lineup and then some for the 2023 season. Let's delve into some bold predictions.

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4. D'Andre Swift will be capable of filling the void left by Miles Sanders

Miles Sanders has moved on to the Carolina Panthers after an impressive year in which he accumulated nearly 1,300 yards and 11 touchdowns. Such production isn't easily replaceable. This is where the trading for D'Andre Swift comes into play—a critical move by Eagles general manager Howie Roseman. Swift grappled with inconsistency last season, largely due to injuries, managing just under 1,000 yards and scoring eight touchdowns in 14 games. If he can stay injury-free, the Eagles can maintain their strong running game, hardly skipping a beat.

3. Nolan Smith will contend for, if not win, the Defensive Rookie of the Year

In hindsight, it's unfair that Nolan Smith fell to the Eagles as he did. Smith possesses the versatility to be an all-around linebacker, enabling the Eagles to deploy him effectively against both the run and the pass. Smith will be surrounded by an abundance of defensive talent, including last year's leader in sacks, Haason Reddick. Given the challenges this defense is likely to pose for most teams this season, Smith will be an addition to watch out for, one who might just secure him the Defensive Rookie of the Year award. His and the Eagles biggest concern will be keeping him healthy.

2. The Eagles won't win the NFC East in 2023

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While there won't be a significant decline this year, there could be a touch of a Super Bowl hangover. Additionally, there was notable turnover, with departures of both offensive and defensive coordinators. This factor certainly shouldn't be dismissed. It's hard to determine which side of the ball will be more affected since, as mentioned, they ranked among the league's best in most of their respective categories. My inclination is towards offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, who is now the head coach for the Indianapolis Colts. Steichen played a pivotal role in Hurts' development, introducing some of his past college offensive strategies to the Eagles' playbook. Hurts elevated his performance last season, making significant strides in his game that earned him a substantial contract. It remains to be seen if the departure of his coordinator will hinder his progress.

The Eagles' challenges will stem from having the toughest schedule in the league, including facing division rivals, the Dallas Cowboys, twice per season. This might very well be the strongest Cowboys team since their 1995 squad, and they're determined to return to the NFC title game. In 2023, the Eagles are poised to lose the division to the Cowboys.

1. The Eagles will return to the NFC Championship, but not the Super Bowl

Currently, the NFC is lacking in prominent teams, unlike the AFC which boasts a wealth of talent. Beyond the Eagles, who have +300 odds to win the NFC Championship and secure a Super Bowl return, the following contenders are the San Francisco 49ers (+350) and the Dallas Cowboys (+600), per FanDuel. While unforeseen NFC teams could make their mark in the game, such as the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons, the conference's balance is skewed towards the top. The Eagles stand a solid chance of making it back to the championship game. However, my belief is that they won't clinch the championship this year.

If the 49ers can maintain good health, they should be the team to reach this year's Super Bowl, clinching the NFC Championship game. Achieving back-to-back Super Bowl appearances is no easy feat; the Eagles will discover this firsthand this season.