Philadelphia Eagles News

Fantasy Reality: Eagles To Win Super Bowl?

He has crunched all of the numbers, reviewed all of the different scenarios and Paul Bessire has come to this conclusion: The Eagles are going to go 12-4 this season and they are going to win the Super Bowl. It says so right there on WhatIfSports.com and if you need any more convincing, well, Bessire is right here to talk about it.

"We use a simulation software that we've been building for almost 10 years (since 2000) that we've been honing for the NFL," said Bessire. "We've also been doing it for baseball, basketball and hockey ... that takes into account every possible statistical interaction of the players on the field. By using all of the interactions to come up with probabilities for what could happen on each specific play, we simulate every single play of every single game to come up with an outcome.

"This is all based on very rigorous analysis. We try to account for everything we possibly can for what might happen during the course of a season. We start this process long, long before the season begins. The NFL is a 24/7, 365-day-a-year league. I strictly focus on the NFL starting with the draft, when the rosters come together."

Bessire and WhatIfSports.com have a strong track record going. As they tout in their NFL Preview ... They've been on a roll… North Carolina to dominate the NCAA basketball tournament, Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl (by four points), the Phillies over the Rays in the World Series, the Celtics taking out the Lakers in last year's NBA Finals (in exactly six games), Detroit over Pittsburgh in the 2008 Stanley Cup (as of the end of the regular season) and last year's March Madness, where they hit every game from the Sweet 16 through the Championship and finished in the 99.9 percentile on every major bracket pick'em.

Great. Fabulous. What about the Eagles. Bessire, the Product Manager of Content and Quantitative Analysis, thinks this is a Super Bowl-winning team.

"The Eagles rebuilt their offensive line and that is the most significant thing they've done in the off-season. Jason Peters is one of the best, if not the best, left tackles in football. Stacy Andrews helps them a lot. It is hard to quantify offensive linemen, but we project that the offensive line has had a huge upgrade," said Bessire. "Probably the hardest part of my job is to project how the rookies will do, but based on their college careers, both Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy will help add explosiveness. The Eagles have the explosion that they might have lacked in previous seasons.

"I know the Eagles lost a lot of players in the off-season, but we don't believe that Quintin Demps, who we are assuming will be the starter at free safety, is a step down from Brian Dawkins in terms of what he can bring on the field. Demps is a guy who we thought very highly of coming out of college last year and we thought he would contribute last year. Dawkins can do a lot of things and can be a presence and maybe there are some things that he does that we don't account for, but we think Demps will play well there."

Defense will lead the way, says Bessire. According to all the numbers crunching and the analysis, the Eagles defense -- led by Trent Cole's 11 sacks, Asante Samuel's five interceptions and Stewart Bradley's 71 solo tackles -- will allow a league-low 13.4 points per game against a schedule featuring six games against teams that made the playoffs last season.

Offensively, Bessire has the Eagles averaging 22.4 points per game. Donovan McNabb will toss 21 touchdown passes and only 11 interceptions while completing 56.2 percent of his passes for 3,449 yards. Brian Westbrook is on line to gain 1,059 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns on 241 attempts. He will also catch 49 passes and score another 3 touchdowns and account for 1,534 total yards and 11 touchdowns . McCoy, the rookie whose numbers are hard to project, is slated to run for 534 yards and score 6 touchdowns and to chip in with 25 receptions and another 2 scores. DeSean Jackson is projected to catch 59 passes for 848 yards and 4 TDs. Brent Celek is down for 34 catches, 443 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Are any of those numbers wacky? They look pretty reserved, actually. Somebody will come from nowhere and have a big season. Somebody else will not live up to expectations. But as Bessire sees it, the Eagles are going to win and win and win.

And the Eagles are, according to WhatIfSports.com, an interactive division of Fox Sports, going to ... go ... all ... the .. way.

And win the Super Bowl. That is Friday's piece on WhatIfSports.com.

"This is a team that came one big play away from reaching the Super Bowl last year and then they went out and made a lot of good, positive moves in the off-season," said Bessire. "What you can't necessarily take into account injuries, but you have a history here and you know that both McNabb and Westbrook have to be considered here. Last year, we predicted that New England would beat Dallas in the Super Bowl. Tom Brady had no injury history, so there was no way to factor that in. Dallas just didn't perform up to the level we thought they would, and then you guys took care of them on the last day of the regular season.

"This year, we think the Eagles are going to beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl, a rematch of what happened after the 2004 season. We go so far as to have a box score, a play-by-play and everything you want in our prediction. The Eagles are really good. I think they are going to be favored in every game they play this season and they're going to win 12 of them."

It's interesting stuff, fun information. Peters is the Most Significant Newcomer. The team's strength is the defense. Injuries are the team's Most Exploitable Weakness. McCoy is the Possible Fantasy Sleeper. And the Closest Game is Week 7 at Washington.

There you have it. All right there, thanks to WhatIfSports.com. And it gives you something to think about as we count down the days until training camp begins.

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