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NFL countdown: Health key to the Eagles’ hopes

This is the 26th in a series of 32 NFL team betting previews in 32 days leading up to the league’s Sept. 10 season opener. We’ll count down the teams from the lowest season win total to the highest.

There were times last season when it appeared the Philadelphia Eagles were being held together by duct tape.

Their wide receiving corps was a mess at the end of the season, and they had a stretch of about 10 weeks when it seemed as if they lost a different player in the secondary every week.

But even having to reach deep into the depth chart, they found a way to win their last four games and steal the NFC East championship with a 9-7 record.

“Last year you could argue they had the worst playoff receiving corps in the history of the NFL,” Westgate vice president of risk Ed Salmons said. “They had quarterbacks out there playing receiver. It was comically funny, and I don’t think Carson Wentz gets enough credit for getting the Eagles to the playoffs.”

The oft-injured Wentz was a stabilizing force, playing all 16 games for the first time since his rookie year of 2016. But the Eagles already have offensive line concerns going into this season, as left tackle Andre Dillard is out for the season with a biceps injury.

Philadelphia drafted wide receiver Jalen Reagor from Texas Christian in the first round, but the move that sparked the most interest was taking Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts in the second round. Hurts will likely be used for a few plays each game as a change of pace to the less mobile Wentz.

On defense, the Eagles were third in the league against the run and 19th against the pass, which wasn’t bad considering the injuries on the back end. Their biggest concern will be getting pressure on the quarterback.

“I thought their defense was a little overrated,” Sunset Station sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “They had 43 sacks, but 20 of those were in three games and 10 were against the Jets and Luke Falk.”

No team has repeated as NFC East champion since the Eagles won it four straight times from 2001-04, so it’s no surprise the Eagles aren’t the favorite this season. That’s the Cowboys, but the Eagles aren’t far behind.

Contact Jason Orts at jorts@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2936. Follow @SportsWithOrts on Twitter

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