The Philadelphia Eagles are one of the four teams in the weird NFC East division that could see any of the teams finish in first place.
Winning this division won’t be easy because of how competitive it’s going to be. None of the teams look like super teams so it could end up just being a race to nine or ten wins. Getting to double digit wins should guarantee a division title if all things go according to expectations. For the Eagles to reach that mark, a few players will have to step up but, Miles Sanders will have to more than most.
Eagles X Factor: Miles Sanders
The case for Jalen Hurts to take this spot absolutely makes sense, but Sanders could help Hurts reach that next level while giving the offense a whole new threat. Sanders was taken in the second round of the 2019 draft by the Eagles and the hope was that last season would be his big breakout to join the top guys like Dalvin Cook, Alvin Kamara, Christian McCaffrey and others. Unfortunately for Sanders, that just wasn’t the case.
Sanders had a strange season in 2020 because he should’ve been given more opportunities, especially after his rookie season. In 2019, Sanders ran the ball 11 times per game and played all 16 games for the Eagles. He ran for 4.6 yards per carry and scored six touchdowns while also being a receiving threat. Sanders had over 500 receiving yards and was really starting to become the dual threat running back that the Eagles were looking for. Things were looking good for the rookie to take over completely in 2020 but he was still held back.
When the 2020 NFL season was all said and done, Sanders played in just 12 games but racked up 867 rushing yards on 5.3 yards per attempt. Despite the obvious success, his usage only jumped from 11.2 attempts per game to 13.7 per game. Not ideal for a guy who saw success rushing the ball but, what was even more shocking was the regression in the receiving game. Coming off a nice season with 500 receiving yards, expectations were raised for Sanders. Instead he dropped to 197 yards and his yards per game went from 31.8 to 16.4 receiving yards per game. For fantasy managers and Eagles fans it was a confusing drop off, but the hope is a revitalization in 2021 is on the horizon with Jalen Hurts as the full-time quarterback.
Sanders and Hurts could make a very nice running back – quarterback duo with Sanders’ ability to catch the ball. Hurts scrambles a ton and when a quarterback scrambles the running back often gets involved. Even without scrambling, the Eagles could take a Ravens approach to offense where the run is at the center of everything. Hurts is like a diet Lamar Jackson. Both can run very well and the throwing remains a question mark but they can get it done. The Ravens utilize their running backs a ton and it makes so much sense for the Eagles to do the same with Miles Sanders. They just have to feed him the ball because he has the talent and he can help out Jalen Hurts a lot this season.