Countdown to 2020 Miami: Super Bowl III

After a surprising season in 2018, the Indianapolis Colts have high aspirations of being favorites for Super Bowl LIV in Miami. On the road to 2020, we’re looking back at Super Bowl III from none other than Miami, where the Colts took on the New York Jets.

The “Super Bowl” Is Born

Once again taking place in Super Bowl LIV host Miami, Florida on January 12, 1969, the third-edition of the NFL-AFL Championship was the first to sport the ‘Super Bowl’ moniker, dubbed Super Bowl III. More than 75,000 fans would once again descend upon the legendary Orange Bowl Stadium, which would stand as the largest Super Bowl attendance numbers in the three-year history of the game.

A low-scoring affair, Super Bowl III became infamous for rumors that Jets quarterback “Broadway Joe,” Joe Namath, had guaranteed a victory just days before the game, something that’s become all-too-common in today’s day and age. Namath would, however, go on to make good on his promise, delivering a 16-7 victory over the Colts, the first AFL victory over an NFL team, and receiving Super Bowl MVP honors after completing 17 of his 28 attempts for 206 yards.

For halftime, Super Bowl III brought some entertainment for the first time that didn’t consist of just a college or university marching band. Famous comedic icon Bob Hope led a program that honored the Apollo Astronauts, accompanied by the Florida A&M University marching band. Unfortunately, the Jets and the Colts would not go on to meet again in a Super Bowl as formatting changes as a result of the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 would pit both teams in the same conference.



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2019 Indianapolis Colts Schedule Preview: Weeks 6-10

The 2019 NFL season schedule is officially set, with each team knowing the road that they face if they want to contend for Super Bowl 54 in Miami. A closer look at the season schedule for the 2019 Indianapolis Colts squad.

Week 6: Bye Week

An early week of relief for the Colts, with a bye in the first half of the season.

Week 7: vs. Houston Texans | Oct. 20, 1:00 p.m. ET on CBS

The defending AFC South champions in 2018 (11-5), the division rival Houston Texans head to Lucas Oil Stadium for the first of two matchups against the Colts in 2019, in what is also a rematch of the 2018 NFL Wild Card matchup.

A relatively quiet offseason for the Texans, aside from franchise-tagging defensive pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney and signing of safety Tashaun Gipson from Jacksonville, the Texans hope the continued health of quarterback Deshaun Watson and the return of wide receiver Will Fuller will help them take that next step.
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Week 8: vs. Denver Broncos | Oct. 27, 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS

Touting a roster-in-progress with plenty of upheaval in the 2019 offseason, the Denver Broncos come to town for a second-straight Colts home game (and three of four in weeks 6-10).

After trading for quarterback Joe Flacco from the Baltimore Ravens, the Broncos cut 2018 QB Case Keenum and drafted rookie Drew Lock out of Missouri. Also on the offensive front, the Broncos drafted standout Iowa tight end Noah Fant, and return playmakers like Emmanuel Sanders and Phillip Lindsay in an offense that could give the Colts defense a test.
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Week 9: @ Pittsburgh Steelers | Nov. 3, 1:00 p.m. ET on CBS

Gone are the days of facing running back Le’Veon Bell and wide receiver Antonio Brown when facing the Pittsburgh Steelers, both leaving or being traded this past offseason. Instead, a revitalized Steelers roster is what the Colts will see when traveling to Heinz Field in Week 9.

With Bell sitting out the entirety of the 2018 season, the Steelers workhorse running back turned standout was James Conner, the rookie from the University of Pittsburgh. Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster is ready to become the #1 receive he spent most of the 2018 season showing he could be, and the Steelers, always a tough matchup for the Colts, will look to continue building around quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.


Week 10: vs. Miami Dolphins | Nov. 10, 4:05 p.m. ET on CBS

Quite a contrast for the Miami Dolphins from the 2018 to 2019 seasons, as the Colts will face a new quarterback and a rookie head coach at home in Week 10.

After the Cardinals drafted quarterback Kyler Murray with the #1 overall pick, the Dolphins made the trade for sophomore QB Josh Rosen to pair with new head coach Brian Flores, formerly of the New England Patriots, as well as signing signature NFL journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Week 10 will also mark a special occasion for Indianapolis Colts fans, as former Super Bowl champion defensive pass rusher Dwight Freeney’s name will officially be inducted into the Lucas Oil Stadium ring of honor.
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2019 NFL Draft: Winners & Losers

Every team got better after the 2019 NFL Draft—or at least, that’s what every general manager, head coach and owner believes. But what teams truly may have helped their chances on the quest for a Super Bowl?

Indianapolis Colts: A — Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN

“How about the job Chris Ballard has done as general manager of the Colts? He absolutely crushed the 2018 draft, finding stars and helping catapult Indy to a 10-6 record and a playoff berth after going 4-12 in 2017. This roster has a ton of young talent. Ballard also landed an extra second-rounder from the Jets in the Sam Darnold trade last year, and that pick ended up at the very top of Round 2 in 2019. That’s good team-building, and the Colts had some very specific needs to fill this weekend. How did Ballard do? I love this class from top to bottom.

Ballard moved out of Round 1, picking up an extra 2020 second-rounder in going from No. 26 to No. 46, which meant Indy had three second-round picks. And I really liked all four of Indy’s Day 2 picks. I was surprised that cornerback Rock Ya-Sin (No. 34) made it out of the first round, but only one corner went in the first 32 picks. He is a little raw, but I think he’ll start immediately. Wide receiver Parris Campbell (No. 59) is a burner, but he also caught 90 passes last season and improved every year. He’ll play some slot and also scorch corners out wide. Bobby Okereke (No. 89) was my fourth-ranked inside linebacker, and he could compete with Anthony Walker for that starting spot. Defensive end Ben Banogu(No. 49) is a really good fit in Matt Eberflus’ 4-3 scheme.

That’s all three needs filled on Day 2. There were also some intriguing additions on Day 3, particularly in safety Khari Willis (No. 109), who I ranked as my No. 50 overall prospect. He broke up 10 passes last season and will be an impact special-teams contributor. Safety Marvell Tell III (No. 144) is a good athlete with a 6-foot-2 frame. Javon Patterson (No. 246) made 39 college starts at guard but will likely move to center.

Ballard & Co. have done it again. This is my favorite draft class.”

Cincinnati Bengals: A- — Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN

“It’s tough to know what to think about the Bengals in 2019. While longtime coach Marvin Lewis is gone and Zac Taylor is now in charge, Mike Brown still runs things. That means the team is going to build through the draft and not worry much about free agency. In fact, Cincinnati didn’t make many notable moves, other than parting ways with Vontaze Burfict and re-signing its own guys. After a 6-10 finish last season, is this team better?

This is not a sexy class, but it’s solid throughout. Jonah Williams (No. 11) is a no-brainer immediate starter, either at guard or tackle. Germaine Pratt (No. 72) is a converted safety who will likely end up at outside linebacker in Cincy’s 4-3. The versatility makes it good value. I didn’t love Ryan Finley‘s tape as much as Todd McShay — he gave Finley a second-round grade — but Andy Daltonshouldn’t be locked in long term, so this is another option for Taylor if Dalton underwhelms. To get Finley at No. 104 is solid.

Drew Sample (No. 52) is a really good blocking tight end, but even he didn’t expect to go in the second round. That was high with more complete tight ends available. Renell Wren (No. 125) had an up-and-down career for the Sun Devils, but he impressed at the Senior Bowl and has some intriguing athletic traits. I’m intrigued by the Day 3 running backs with Trayveon Williams (No. 182) and Rodney Anderson (No. 211). Anderson is one of the most talented backs in the class, but he simply couldn’t stay on the field. Williams is going to help spell Joe Mixon in the receiving game. Jordan Brown (No. 223) is a good corner for the seventh round.

Williams and Sample are the only surefire early starters, but there’s some upside with Finley and the Day 3 running backs. This group will help Taylor navigate his first year on the job.”

Other Winners

Buffalo Bills — Conor Orr, Sports Illustrated

“Sometimes you play the board, sometimes the board plays you, and sometimes the board drops your way and you don’t have to do much of anything at all. While Ed Oliver wasn’t going to fit in every defense, he fits perfectly in Buffalo. The fact that versatile offensive lineman Cody Ford was available in the second was simply kismet. While drafting a receiver would have placed a cherry on top of the sundae, this is a draft good for both coach and quarterback.”

Denver Broncos — Conor Orr, Sports Illustrated

“We tend to over-praise when a team’s board aligns with its biggest needs, but I didn’t think there was a way John Elway could have played the first round better. Joe Flacco adores athletic tight ends who can get open in intermediate space, then he gets a quality starter in round two with Dalton Risner and Drew Lock, who has much less pressure than previous Elway draft picks.”

Kyler Murray — Conor Orr, Sports Illustrated

“There’s a good chance he knew about this, otherwise why make the leap with such assurance? Either way, Murray goes from a Double-A bus to nowhere, to assured 40-man roster, to No. 1 pick in the NFL draft. I don’t think there are many players who would continually challenge the draft industrial complex in two sports like Murray did and still come out ahead.”



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2019 NFL Schedule: Top Matchups

Just days from the 2019 NFL Draft,  the NFL announced the regular season slate for all 32 teams, highlighted by title game rematches and some big-time matchups. A look at the highlights of the 256-game schedule.


Week 1: Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears

To kick off the ‘Road to Super Bowl 54’ in Miami, the NFL bucked the tradition of having the defending Super Bowl champions host the opening game, opting to instead highlight the league’s 100th anniversary by showcasing one of the league’s most historic rivalries.

Last season’s Week 1 matchup between the Bears and Packers proved to be one of the more exciting games of the entire season, seeing Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers tossing three second-half touchdown after an injury, leading the Pack to a 24-23 victory.

Week 2: New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Rams

One of the most anticipated rematches of the last decade in the NFL, the #1 seed in the NFC last season, the New Orleans Saints, travel to LA to face off against the reigning NFC champion Rams in a rematch of the 2018 NFC Championship game.

This past offseason, the NFL expanded its use of instant replay to include missed pass interference calls, directly in response to the blatant missed call at the end of the NFC Championship game. The rematch of these two teams promises bad blood, fireworks, and offensive displays of firepower that could easily make the matchup the best game of the 2019 season.

Week 5: Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs

A rematch of the 2018 divisional playoff game, the Chiefs come into the season reigning AFC West champions and easily the favorite in the AFC. The Indianapolis Colts, however, have reloaded their roster, and look to capitalize on a promising 2018 campaign, most notably adding former Chiefs pass rusher Justin Houston the an already formidable defensive front.

Week 14: Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots

Another rematch from the 2018 playoff slate, the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots once again welcome quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs into Gillette Stadium in a rematch of the 2018 AFC Championship game.

Sporting two of the more electrifying matchups from the 2018 season, both the Patriots and Chiefs remain atop the AFC’s Super Bowl favorites, and it appears possible the two could be headed for an AFC title game rematch as well.



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Road to Miami: 2019 NFL Free Agency Winners & Losers

As teams begin to shift their focus toward the 2019 NFL Draft, we’re looking back at the free agency winners and losers on the Road to Super Bowl 54 in Miami.


Cleveland Browns

“The Browns are building a powerhouse. Believe it. Those are words that don’t seem to go together, but General Manager John Dorsey continues to push the right buttons. He gave up plenty to the New York Giants in the trade for wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., but it was well worth it. The Browns get perhaps the game’s most dynamic player.

They’ll have to deal with expectations, for a change, and they’ll have a rookie head coach in Freddie Kitchens. But having expectations is a good problem to have.” — Mark Maske, Washington Post

Green Bay Packers

“The Packers ranked 22nd in points allowed, 22nd in rushing yards allowed, 19th in turnover differential and just weren’t able to get enough key stops on defense when it mattered most. As a result, we saw a rare strategy from Green Bay: spend big in free agency.

The Packers added linebackers Preston Smith (four years, $52 million) and Za’Darius Smith (four years, $66 million), as well as safety Adrian Amos (four years, $37 million) to help fix a mediocre to below-average defense. Amos’ addition also hurts the Packers’ biggest rival and top competitor in the NFC North division, the Chicago Bears.” — Nick Goss, NBC Sports

Indianapolis Colts

Selective and patient. Colts general manager Chris Ballard didn’t let last season’s 10-6 record and playoff appearance dictate how he would attack the offseason. He has been selective in how he has used the NFL’s most salary-cap space by signing just two outside free agents — defensive end Justin Houston and receiver Devin Funchess. He has remained patient and is committed to continuing to build the roster through the draft. The Colts currently have nine picks later this month.” — Mike Wells,

New York Jets

“Winning free agency in March rarely translates into winning games between September and December. But the Jets, like the Raiders, were in desperate need of upgrading the roster, and they have taken positive steps by adding running back Le’Veon Bell, wide receiver Jamison Crowder and linebacker C.J. Mosley.

On offense, it’s all about aiding the development of young quarterback Sam Darnold. And the arrivals of Bell and Crowder help greatly in that regard.” — Mark Maske, Washington Post


New York Giants

“If the best organizations follow a clear vision, what can we say about the Giants?

The Giants now have one of the NFL’s least-talented rosters, and hope for improving it is limited by their decision to let Collins walk away (rather than making a trade) and settling for a modest return in the Beckham trade. They don’t seem to be following a linear plan and are years late on initiating a succession plan at quarterback. It is as though the Giants — and general manager Dave Gettleman in particular — are operating in a long-discarded era of NFL team building.” — Kevin Seifert,

Pittsburgh Steelers

“The Steelers acquired just third- and fifth-round draft picks, as well as no salary cap relief, from the Raiders in exchange for Antonio Brown (arguably the league’s top wide receiver). Pittsburgh also wasn’t able to re-sign star running back Le’Veon Bell, and there are no running backs on the free agent market capable of adequately replacing him. The Steelers haven’t added any key pieces to a defense that was mediocre last season, either.

Could we finally be seeing the end of the Steelers’ run as a top contender in the AFC? It sure looks like it.” — Nick Goss, NBC Sports

Tennessee Titans

“The Titans were one of the most active teams in the NFL, making three major deals by signing offensive lineman Rodger Saffold, receiver Adam Humphries and defensive end Cameron Wake while also re-signing Vaccaro at safety. I’m just not certain what to make of it.

On the one hand, giving Wake $10 million guaranteed at age 37 seems excessively hopeful. But on the other, giving relatively inaccurate quarterback Marcus Mariota a productive slot receiver in Humphries seems like a good idea. Saffold, assuming he is healthy, fits the smashmouth run style the Titans are expected to pursue.

I understand the Titans’ incentive after they were in the AFC South division race until Week 17 last season. But will this eclectic haul do anything to push them past the Texans and Colts?” — Kevin Seifert,

Washington Redskins

“[Safety Landon] Collins is an excellent player who will help the defense. But $84 million to a safety? Some in and around the league were baffled about that.” — Mark Maske, Washington Post



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2019 NFL Free Agency Preview

With the 2019 NFL Combine officially behind us, the next step on the Road to Super Bowl 54 in Miami in 2020 is the beginning of the new league year, and the free agency season. What teams are positioned to be buyers and sellers, and what players might command the most attention as the new year begins on March 13th at 4:00 p.m. ET?

Top Teams

While many people generally see teams with open cap space and teams that struggled the previous season as one in the same, the Indianapolis Colts, after a surprising 11-5 season that saw the team make the divisional round of the playoffs, hold the most cap space with $105.8 million in free money.

While many peg the team to make a big splash acquisition like former Steelers teammates, running back Le’Veon Bell and/or wide receiver Antonio Brown, there are plenty of other players commanding far less attention/money that fit the team’s style nicely.

Other top teams with cap space: New York Jets ($99 million), Houston Texans ($83.3 million), Buffalo Bills ($77.3 million) and Cleveland Browns ($77.2 million)

Top Free Agents

Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers — 2017*: 321 RUSH, 1,291 YDS, 9 TD | 85 REC, 655 YDS, 2 TD

One of the most talked about names in the free agency market for a handful of years now, former Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell, after holding out the entire 2018 season, is officially a free agent. Potential suitors for Bell have been mentioned as possibly being the New York Jets, Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans, among others.

Trey Flowers, DE, New England Patriots — 2018: 57 TKL, 7.5 SACKS, 3 FF

The 25-year-old Super Bowl champion defensive pass rusher, coming off a career year in 2018, is due for one of the biggest paydays of the open market. With potential free agent defensive pass rushers like Jadeveon Clowney and Grady Jarrett being franchise tagged, the market thinned early, meaning don’t be surprised if Flowers brings in a massive deal with a new team.

Landon Collins, S, New York Giants — 2018: 96 TKL, 5 TFL, 1 FF

A 25-year-old three-time Pro Bowler, safety Landon Collins is the type of versatile defensive back that can completely re-shape a team’s secondary identity. Though he’s slightly struggled in the past few seasons (hampered by an injury in 2018), Collins was in the NFL Defensive Player of the Year conversation in 2016, and will be a big prize for some lucky team in free agency.

C.J. Mosley, LB, Baltimore Ravens — 2018: 105 TKL, 6 TFL, 0.5 SACK, 1 INT

After not receiving a franchise tag from the Ravens, four-time Pro Bowl selection C.J. Mosley is poised to hit the open market as one of the premier linebackers available. Granted, inside linebackers don’t sport the flash they used to, but three-down playmakers like Mosley pose a valuable threat to any defense looking to take their unit to the next level.

Earl Thomas, S, Seattle Seahawks — 2018**:22 TKL, 3 INT

Thomas can be considered as nothing less than one of the most prolific safeties of this generation of defense. His unique abilities have allowed the Seahawks to be very aggressive on defense, knowing that Thomas was deep in the secondary to clean up any mistakes over the top. Coming off a season-ending leg injury, and at 30 years old, Thomas is hard to count out and will be a soldi defensive addition to any secondary looking for veteran leadership.

Tevin Coleman, RB, Atlanta Falcons — 2018: 167 RUSH, 800 YDS, 4 TD | 32 REC, 276 YDS, 5 TD

One of the more interesting names on the thin running back market, Coleman has been a solid contributor out of the Falcons backfield, especially in 2018 with start Devonta Freeman missing most of the season. It’s unclear whether Coleman has the ability to be a team’s workhorse, three-down back, but will be a solid addition to any teams backfield and offensive showcase.

Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia Eagles — 2018**: 72.3% COMP, 1,413 YDS, 7 TD, 4 INT

The most intriguing name to hit the market, Super Bowl LII MVP quarterback Nick Foles is finally free of Philadelphia and looking for a starting gig—reportedly heading to the Jacksonville Jaguars at the opening of free agency. Foles and Jacksonville are a perfect fit, as the Jaguars are looking to move on from Blake Bortles, and Foles is looking for a reliable starting gig and a team to lead.

*  — Missed 2018 season | ** — Didn’t play entire 2018 season



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Countdown to Super Bowl 2019 Atlanta: Super Bowl XLIV

All roads to Super Bowl 53 in the NFC run through New Orleans, where the Saints currently hold the #1 seed. The last time they held home field advantage? The 2009 NFL season, which resulted in a Super Bowl XLIV victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

Another For New England

Super Bowl XLIV, played between the Saints and Colts, was played on February 7, 2010 in Miami, Florida at Sun Life Stadium. In front of nearly 75,000 fans, the Saints would go on to capture the Lombardi Trophy, by a final score of 31-17.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees took home Super Bowl XLIV MVP honors, completing 32 of his 39 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns. Brees tied a record previously held by New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, with 32 total completions in the big game. Brady set the record initially in Super Bowl XXXVIII.

Super Bowl XLIV was aired on CBS in front of a total of 153.4 million viewers, with the cost of a 30-second commercial rising to a whopping $3 million. Commentators Jim Nantz and Phil Simms boradcasted Super Bowl XLIV, with legendary band “The Who” performing at halftime.



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Colts VIP Tailgate Recap: Week 7

The signature Colts VIP Tailgate at the Bullseye Event Center is the best pre-game experience throughout the league, combining a five star all-you-can-eat menu from celebrity chef Aaron May with a premium open bar, visits from former players, onsite broadcasts from JMV and 1070 The Fan and more.

Take a look at some of the highlights from the Week 7 tailgate before the Indianapolis Colts faced off against the Buffalo Bills in Week 7.



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Colts VIP Update: Week 3 @ Philadelphia Eagles

After finally snagging their first win of the 2018 NFL season, the Indianapolis Colts were once again on the road in Week 3, taking on the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.

Close, but No Cigar

For the second time in the first three weeks of the season, quarterback Andrew Luck and the Colts would get out to a lead, only to fall just short at the end, with Week 3 going to the Philadelphia Eagles by a score of 20-16.

Throughout the majority of the Week 3 matchup, the Colts were actually seemingly in control on the defensive side of the ball, holding the high-flying Eagles offense, highlighted by the return of quarterback Carson Wentz, at bay.

An 11-minute long drive in the fourth quarter, however, would put the Colts’ “bend-don’t-break” mentality to the test, ultimately dooming the team. A final drive to take the lead would fall short for the Colts on a failed 4th-and-5 attempt in the Red Zone, followed by an unsuccessful last-second hail mary attempt.

Leonard Shines Again

In what’s becoming a weekly theme thus far on the young season, Colts rookie linebacker Darius Leonard was once again a star, making a strong early case for defensive rookie of the year honors.


Leonard finished the game Sunday with 13 tackles (9 solo), five tackles for a loss, two sacks and one pass-breakup. The last two-weeks have seen Leonard total 32 tackles, three sacks and one forced-fumble.

Looking Forward

The Colts return home in Week 4, facing the division rival Houston Texans (0-3) at Lucas Oil Stadium.


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Colts VIP Update: Week 2 @ Washington Redskins

After a disappointing beginning of the season, the Indianapolis Colts (0-1) looked to bounce back in a big way in Week 2, traveling to the nations capital to take on the first of their NFC East opponents this season, Washington Redskins (1-0).

First W for Reich

Despite jumping out to a quick lead in Week 1, the Colts would eventually fall to the Cincinnati Bengals, a result Colts fans had all but become accustomed to. However, Week 2 would lend to a different storyline.

Jumping out to an early lead once again, the Colts would head into halftime up 14-3 after what can only be described as an incredibly efficient first half on both sides of the football. Held to just one field goal in the first 30 minutes of play, the Colts defense was shining, aided by a touchdown from Colts quarterback Andrew Luck to tight end Eric Ebron, his second of the season, and a rushing touchdown from rookie running back Nyheim Hines.

Sunday’s 21-9 victory would become the first of Colts head coach Frank Reich’s young career, as the Colts would avoid falling to an 0-2 start for the 5th straight year, now sitting at 1-1.

Dominance on Defense

Something not characteristically said about Colts defenses of years past, the 2018 edition of the defense, led by youth and rookie draft picks, was the star of the show in Week 2.

Spearheaded by rookie linebacker Darius Leonard, who would record 18 tackles, one sack and one forced-fumble, the Colts D would hold quarterback Alex Smith and the Washington Redskins offense to just three total field goals.

Looking Forward

The Colts stay on the road in Week 3, facing yet another NFC East opponent in the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles, who will have MVP-caliber quarterback Carson Wentz back at the helm.



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