Still, when the 2011 NFL season kicks off, the Eagles should not be a team that is tagged for a trip to Indianapolis in February.
In fact, tomorrow's NFL opener at Lambeau Field between the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers features the teams most likely to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.
Those teams are the last two NFL champions and both are on-paper favorites over the Eagles, who lost in the opening round of the playoffs the last 2 years.
If you add in the AFC, Pittsburgh, New England, San Diego and the New York Jets all deserve the no-games-played-yet nod over the Eagles.
Not that it means anything, but none of the 11 NFL "experts" at NFL.com or ESPN.com have picked the Eagles to win the Super Bowl, and just one predicted them to get there.
Not that it means anything, but I'm picking San Diego to beat New Orleans.
The Eagles are in the mix and could win it all, but they aren't yet the team to beat.
The Birds have done a lot to strengthen a team that won the NFC East last season before bowing out at home to the Packers in the wild-card round of the playoffs. Adding Pro Bowl free agents in cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins and defensive end Jason Babin proved that Eagles management was committed to upgrading the talent base, but plenty of questions remain.
The Eagles have 13 players at the top of the depth chart who were not regular starters for them last season, and 10 of them do not come with the credentials of Asomugha, Jenkins and Babin.
The starting linebackers - Moise Fokou, Jamar Chaney and rookie Casey Matthews - have three seasons and 17 starts of combined NFL experience.
The safeties, Jarrad Page and Kurt Coleman, combined for just three starts and 38 tackles last season.
Perhaps most critically, the offensive line has two rookie starters, right guard Danny Watkins and center Jason Kelce, plus a third guy, left guard Evan Mathis, who couldn't start a game last season for the Cincinnati Bengals.
The kicker [Alex Henery], punter/holder [Chas Henry] and return man [Dion Lewis] are rookies.
That's a lot of unproven talent for a legitimate Super Bowl favorite to be depending on.
It also cannot be understated that the Eagles have a new defensive coordinator plus new coaches for the offensive line, defensive line, linebackers and secondary.
Add the fact that the NFL lockout prevented all offseason activities and the Eagles haven't had much time to get acquainted with some major upheaval.
Even some of the things that look like a positive give pause for reservation.
The Eagles banked a $100 million contract on the notion that Michael Vick is among the elite echelon of NFL quarterbacks. Based on his career performance in 2010, it is hard to argue that. Factor in an arsenal that includes wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin plus running back LeSean McCoy and tight end Brent Celek, and the pieces are in place for Vick to continue to move forward.
But let's be honest with the facts.
Vick began 2010 as the backup to Kevin Kolb, and despite the fact that he went on to perform at an MVP level, his body of work with the Eagles is still just 11 starts and eight victories.
Since the Eagles' success is almost exclusively linked to how well Vick plays, believing they can win a Super Bowl means believing that Vick, in 12 games and 372 passes, has mastered an offense that has been too often touted as rocket science.
I'm not there yet, especially with the issues on the offensive line.
The biggest issue facing the Eagles is that because of the lockout, they likely will need some time before everything kicks into gear.
Considering five [St. Louis, San Francisco, Buffalo, Washington and Dallas] of the Eagles' first seven opponents had losing seasons, a quick start is imperative. The other first-half games are at NFC South champion Atlanta and home against NFC North champion Chicago and the division rival New York Giants.
The Birds can't be any worse than 5-3 in the first half.
The second half has tough home games with Arizona, New England, the New York Jets and Washington, and the road games feature a short-week, cross-country flight to Seattle, a trip to Miami plus NFC East visits to New York and Dallas.
I see the Eagles finishing 11-5.
Right now, it's hard to call the Eagles the Super Bowl favorite, but they could be by the end of the regular season.
That's more important any way.
Send email to
For recent columns, go to