INT. THE DISPENSARY – DAY
You, a twenty-one older GAMETIME SHARKS FOLLOWER (GSF), perhaps a conservative Bucks County Ken or maybe even a foul-mouthed Delco Barbie, take in the aromatic smell of incense and the head-bopping reggae jam of Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds.” Yeahm you know the tune. Except today, the focus is on the only Bird that matters.
You walk to the counter. Mesmerized by the stockpile of canisters on the shelves filled with both Midnight and Kelly greenery.
Through a cloud of smoke, THE ROSSTROFFARIAN (50 yrs), bucket hat, grizzly beard, devastatingly handsome, appears from the back room. Well, maybe not that handsome.
THE ROSSTROFFARIAN: Welcome to The Dispensary, I am The Rosstroffarian, your personal Birdtender. I’m ready to enlighten you with my years of true Philly sports fan insight and knowledge for all the city’s teams, as well as pack you with entertaining music, film, and life advice. Whether it’s fantasy sports or betting, I’m here to to help with all your sports entertainment needs.
You lean in.GSF: What’s on the E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES! menu to start this season?
The Rosstroffarian searches the shelves. Grabs a jar. Sets it down on the counter.
THE ROSSTROFFARIAN: This is OG(M) HOWIE. It’ll fire up and kickoff your preseason schedule.
You study the jar. Still unconvinced.
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GSF: It’s that good?
THE ROSSTROFFARIAN: Oh, GM Howie (see what I did there?) Roseman won the NFL offseason championship by all accounts. With two first round picks, Howie got great value drafting Georgia defensive standouts DT Jalen Carter (#9 overall) and EDGE/LB Nolan Smith (#30 overall). These two players will join fellow Bulldogs from last year’s draft class, LB Nakobe Dean and DT Jordan Davis, on that side of the ball. Although the Birds lost five defensive starters to Free Agency from their Super Bowl run, Howie managed to keep both Pro Bowl caliber starting cornerbacks, Darius Slay and James Bradberry, as well as veteran contributors DT Fletcher Cox and DE Brandon Graham, on the roster once again.
GSF: Ok. What about the offense?
THE ROSSTROFFARIAN: No couch-lock here! Howie will definitely get you up and running Although we no longer carry any RB Miles Sanders and his 1269 yards rushing and 11 TDs here, Howie added RBs Rashaad Penny and D’Andre Swift into the mix. IF Penny, with a career 5.69 YPC, can stay healthy, he’s a talented, explosive runner carrying the ball behind arguably the best offensive line in football – led by C Jason Kelce, RT Lane Johnson, and LT Jordan Mailota. In fact, Penny averaged 6.1 YPC for Seattle last year before succumbing to yet another injury. Meanwhile, Swift is an outstanding pass-catching back, something the Eagles lacked in Sanders. He adds a whole new weapon for the Eagles offensive juggernaut. Swift also has shown an ability to run the football when he was on the Detroit Lions. Kenny Gainwell is a do-it-all Swiss Army knife RB and last year outplayed Sanders down the stretch and playoffs. Boston Scott, aka “The Giants Killer,”rounds out this truly hybrid RBBC.
GSF: This all seems impressive, but what about the Super (Bowl) loser hangover effects I hear at football parties?
THE ROSSTROFFARIAN: If you drink that spiked Kool-Aid, you might be a loser and end up with one. But, not with this OG Howie. Actually, since 2010-2021 ten of the twelve Super Bowl losing teams had a winning record the next year. Nine had 10 wins or more. The damn Patriots even won Super Bowl 53 the year after losing to the Eagles.
GSF: Ok, so how many wins do you think the 2023 Eagles get?
THE ROSSTROFFARIAN: The Eagles’ Strength of Schedule was the easiest in the NFL last year when they won 14 games. Compare that to arguably the toughest in 2023, where opposing teams have a .566 winning percentage – the highest in the league. That being said, the Sportsbooks have the Over/Under at 11.5 WINS. The Eagles went 4-2 in the NFC East last year, beating the Giants twice and splitting with the Cowpokes and the Commanders. As the best team in that division, at least 4 wins should be easily attainable. The Birds do face a tough stretch of teams after their BYE in week 10 – @KC, Buff, SF, @Dal, and @ Sea. The Eagles close the season playing the NYG, AZ, and @NYG. After predicting wins/losses going through the regular season schedule, I believe the Birds will go 12-5. Take the Over.
The guru opens the jar. You take a whiff.
GSF: Smells like a winning formula. But can they repeat last year’s success? Any concerns?
THE ROSSTROFFARIAN: If they can once again avoid the injury bug (22 Starters played in the Super Bowl last year), they’re “on the road to Vic-tor-y!” They are not only the favorites to win the NFC East Division (I predict 5-1), but the Sportsbooks have them as the odds-on favorites to win the Conference Championship — followed by the San Francisco 40-Whiners and Dallas Cowgirls. And The Rosstroffarian agrees with the bookmakers!
THE ROSSTROFFARIAN: Although I already mentioned the roster composition from the draft and free agency, their success all starts with leadership. At the top, they have a great, socially-conscious owner in Mr. Lurie, who is both player and fan-friendly, to lead the organization. A fearless, young, smart Head Coach in Nick Sirianni, who has embraced the city and culture of Philadelphia, to lead the team. A determined, hard-working quarterback in Jalen Hurts, the face of the franchise, to lead and inspire the players as well as the rabid fan base. And, of course, there’s Howie, the OG(M). To say I’m high on them is an understatement.
He turns to the camera. Breaks the fourth wall. Winks.
BACK TO SCENE
THE ROSSTROFFARIAN: But, just don’t take my word on it (I know, I sound like the Sixers Tyrese Maxie or the Phillies Kyle Schwarber on a bad local TV auto insurance ad).
He points up to the speakers.
BOB MARLEY (sings): “Don’t worry, about a thing. ‘Cause every little thing’s gonna be alright.”