Eagles start on top of 1st AP Pro 32 poll of 2018 season
NEW YORK (AP) — The Eagles are looking for a Green Repeat.
Led by Nick Foles, the Philadelphia Eagles won their first Super Bowl last season with a 41-33 victory over the New England Patriots.
Foles took over last season when Carson Wentz tore the ACL and LCL in his left knee. Wentz is not expected to be ready when the Eagles begin defense of their title on Sept. 6 by hosting the Atlanta Falcons to open the NFL’s regular season.
The Patriots are the most recent team to win consecutive championships, winning Super Bowls 38 and 39.
And the Eagles will start their quest as the top team in the first AP Pro 32 poll of the 2018 season.
The Eagles received six of the 12 first-place votes and 367 points in balloting by media members who regularly cover the NFL.
The Patriots, who have been to eight Super Bowls in the Tom Brady and Bill Belichick era, were a close second — just as they were in the loss to the Eagles in Minneapolis. The Patriots received three first-place votes and finished with 366 points.
“As long as the Killer B’s, Brady and Belichick, reside in Foxborough, the Pats will loom as the team to beat,” said Ira Kaufman of SB Nation Radio.
The Minnesota Vikings, who lost to the Eagles in the NFC championship game, are No. 3. The Vikings added quarterback Kirk Cousins in the offseason to a team with high expectations.
“Is Kirk Cousins the answer? That’s the only question about this team,” Pro Football Talk’s Charean Williams said.
The Los Angeles Rams, who won the NFC West last season, earned two first-place votes and are No. 4.
″(Brandin) Cooks dynamite in new offense,” Fox Sports’ John Czarnecki said of the speedy wide receiver who had 1,082 yards last season in New England.
The Pittsburgh Steelers, who have won three of the past four AFC North titles, are No. 5.
Drew Brees and the Saints received the other first-place vote and will start the season at No. 6.
“My projected Super Bowl winner leads this list,” said Alex Marvez of The Sporting News. “Tom Benson would have loved the Super Bowl 53 post party.”
The Jacksonville Jaguars, who were in position to reach the Super Bowl until blowing a fourth-quarter lead at New England in the AFC title game, are No. 7.
The Jaguars will start the season short-handed after they lost receiver Marqise Lee for the season with a knee injury. He was hurt in a preseason game against the Falcons, who are No. 8 in the poll.
The Packers, who slumped to a 7-9 season after Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone, will begin at No. 9.
And L.A.’s other team, the Chargers, round out the top 10.
At the bottom of the poll, the Colts will start at No. 30 despite the return of franchise QB Andrew Luck.
The Browns, who have lost 31 of 32 games in the past two seasons, are fittingly No. 31. The Browns will have a tough opener as they host the Steelers.
And the Jets, who could start rookie Sam Darnold at QB, will begin in last place at No. 32.
“The future may be bright with Sam Darnold, but the present looks brutal,” Marvez said.