It did not take the sportsbooks all that long to release their NFL futures odds for Super Bowl XLIX in Phoenix next February as well as for each conference champion. The good news is that the Eagles have the best odds of any other team in the NFC East on BetOnline's current board, but they are seventh on the list to win the NFC at +1500 and they have been opened at +3000 to win it all, which is also well down the list.
Philadelphia should once again have a very potent offensive attack, especially with Nick Foles firmly in place as its starting quarterback, However, if Seattle's dominating 43-8 win over Denver this past Sunday proved anything, it proved that defense still wins championships. The Eagles did make major strides in that area over the past season, but they still have a ways to go to work their way to the top of list, especially when it comes to defending against the pass.
Another key to winning a Super Bowl is to win enough games to lock-up a first round bye. While a few of the past champions have taken the wildcard route to a title, it is getting harder and harder to win playoff games on the road. The good news is that next season the Birds face the AFC South, which is a bit more manageable than an AFC West Division that produced three playoff teams this past year. However the downside to winning the NFC East adds Green Bay and Carolina to next year's schedule and they will face the entire NFC West which has developed into the toughest division in the league. The net result on paper from last season slate to next season's schedule is a much tougher road to hoe. As the eternal optimist, I still think Philly can squeeze 12 wins out of this schedule and that just so happens to be my magic number to secure of the top two seeds in a very competitive conference.
My two big takeaways from this past season is that Foles is the real deal at quarterback and Chip Kelly has what it takes to be a successful head coach in the NFL. It may still take a year or two to climb to the top of that futures odds list, but I am going to take a flyer on the Eagles' longer odds right now to make that jump all the way to the top in next season.