Welcome to the best NFL offseason series you'll ever read -- that is, if you're like me, and you want nothing more than the blissful lie that your team will be good in 2019. How Your Team Won Super Bowl 54 will take you through each NFL franchise with one goal in mind: convincing you that there's at least one universe in which Your Team wins it all. I'm Doctor Strange, you're Tony Stark, the Avengers are Your Team, Thanos is...Bill Belichick? I've lost the metaphor.
One thing's for sure:
You'll die in the end. Your Team is going to win Super Bowl 54.
NOT by becoming the very thing they swore to destroy GUYS
Hey, remember that Dream Team? Remember that "really good" team that had "really good" players that was going to "win the Super Bowl?!" DO YOU REMEMBER THAT?!
Because we're doing this whole "Eagles have the best roster in the league, Carson is back healthy, wow the defensive line is deep, oh there are so many pass catchers" thing -- and folks, not that I have a rooting interest or anything, but it's FREAKING ME OUT.
When I wrote about the Bears, I wrote about the kiss of death that is the Overconfident Fanbase -- how a slew of votes for MVP and Super Bowl futures spells a massive jinx for the upcoming season. The same thing applies to National Media Love: by the time we get to August and they're the most popular pick in the NFC, it will all but sign their death note.
And they were supposed to have grown from the Dream Team; shirked the shawl of preseason hype trains uncontrolled. They beat the Bears in the playoffs last year, for goodness' sake -- maybe the overconfidence is a contaminant.
The Eagles need to temper expectation, and the only way to do that is to put Carson Wentz's health in question -- and we're not doing that. I'm not sure if they have as big of a target on their back as the Rams, or as big a chip on their shoulder as the Saints, or as big of a pie in the sky as the Packers -- but they're oft-viewed as the best roster in the league, with a healthy Carson Wentz arriving as the final piece to the puzzle. Goodness, it stresses me out.
It's time to make some preseason trades -- a regular move for the Roseman-led Eagles -- but this time, for picks instead of players. Roseman has been a maestro in terms of grabbing temporary and fungible talent -- now he needs to do just the opposite. Offload Jalen Mills and Nelson Agholor and Halapoulivaati Vaitai for Day 3 selections. Weaken your depth and drop a midseason game to a middling Vikings team. Invite some doubt at 7-4 and before winning the last 5 games to come into the postseason hot. Get worse so people stop paying attention to you; get better so they start paying attention again.
A midseason trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars for
Nick Foles Jalen Ramsey or Yannick Ngakoue, don't you dare even mention the name N*ck F*l*s to me
The worst thing in the entire world that could happen to the Philadelphia Eagles is not Carson Wentz being bad, or struggling with health, or anything like that. It's him being so good -- so very very good -- and then making it the playoffs and laying an absolute stinker in the first round of the playoffs.
Because then the #FolesFlock rises. And we have to endure a whole offseason of nonsensical prognostication and hindsight confirmation biases on the Eagles and the handling of Nick Foles' contract. And I -- and the Eagles, and the entire east coast -- just do not have the time and the energy for that.
To some degree, we have to evaluate NFL decisions in a vacuum, just against the criteria of the decision as it was made at the time. The Eagles made the right choice in extending Wentz last season, because at the time of the decision, he made them most likely to win a Super Bowl. Of course, that's not a 100% chance, so they may never compete with Wentz again -- but he gave them their best shot. For what we know about football, they had no choice -- it was always Wentz.
So please, in the name of all that is holy, don't say Nick Foles around this team ever. You're just begging for a first-round playoff exit to power football talk shows for the entire summer. The Eagles are a narrative-ridden team, and those teams don't do well when they try to hit those expectations. Time to get under the radar, gang.
How the Philadelphia Eagles won Super Bowl 54
Another Brandon Graham game-winning sack -- somehow only his seventh of the season -- over the Kansas City Chiefs and Andy Reid. (If he lost four NFC Championships for the Eagles, he can lose a Super Bowl for them too.) JJ Arcega-Whiteside catches two goal-line fade TDs, Jason Peters converts a 2-pt fullback dive, and Carson Wentz is kind to the locker room for the first time in his life. Josh Sweat, Rasul Douglas, and Dallas Goedert all win co-MVPs so that my brand can shine
How many universes does this happen in?
85 out of 1000. The Saints and the Eagles are my two Super Bowl picks (i.e., the winner of the Super Bowl will come from the NFC).
How it all goes wrong
Malcolm Jenkins decides to hold out, which puts Andrew Sendejo on the field, which never worked well for the Vikings. That's really the only position where the depth isn't really strong -- I guess EDGE is also a problem, but let's be honest, the Eagles will never have a bad pass rush. Maybe the running back thing doesn't go well? Man, this team is goo--wait! No! That's the trap!