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SI's King: Eagles To Finish 9-7

While many of the national experts look at the Eagles in a favorable light this season, *Sports Illustrated's *Peter King unveiled his predictions for the upcoming campaign. He has the Eagles finishing at 9-7 and missing the playoffs by a game.

Andrew Perloff wrote the Eagles' preview article and he claims the biggest issues facing the Eagles are on the defensive side of the football.

"Following the loss of arguably the top three defensive leaders from last season -- safety Brian Dawkins, now in Denver; linebacker Stewart Bradley, out for the season with a torn ACL suffered at the start of training camp; and defensive coordinator Jim Johnson, who died of cancer in July -- the offense might have to be even more productive than last year's," Perloff wrote.

King has the New York Giants winning the division with a 12-4 record followed by the Cowboys at 10-6. He has the Redskins in last with a 6-10 mark.

Along with the Giants, King has the Bears (11-5), Falcons (10-6) and Seahawks (9-7) winning their respective divisions. King thinks highly of the NFC North as he has both the Vikings and the Packers earning wild card berths with 10-6 marks. In the NFC Championship, King has the Bears edging the Packers 16-13 to advance to Super Bowl XLIV.

In the AFC, King has the New England Patriots (13-3) besting the San Diego Chargers (11-5) to advance to the Super Bowl.

If King's predictions are correct, the Patriots will win their fourth Super Bowl with a 30-27 victory over the Bears.

King's NFL Preview also analyzes the league's quarterbacks in nine critical categories.

Two Eagles quarterbacks were ranked high in the "Most Athletic" category. King pegged Michael Vick as the league's most athletic quarterback and Donovan McNabb as the fourth-most. One category that was intriguing ranked the best quarterback teachers. Neither Andy Reid nor Marty Mornhinweg made the Top 5 list. Reid has worked with McNabb, Jeff Garcia and Brett Favre. Mornhinweg can add Steve Young to his list. Not a bad list whatsoever.

Maybe it's a good thing that King doesn't have the Eagles in the Super Bowl. Last year, *Sports Illustrated *did … and the Eagles came up a game short. The year the Eagles did make the Super Bowl, in 2004, King had the Eagles in the playoffs as a wild card. Instead, they had the conference's top seed wrapped up with two weeks to go in the season.

-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 12:08 p.m., September 2

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