For many individuals, the new year is like a clean slate. A chance to not only better oneself but to refocus and work on making the next year better than the last one.
With that philosophy in mind, the Eagles, Flyers, Sixers and Phillies too have the opportunity to reassess and improve in 2014. After missing the playoffs in 2013, all four squads have the potential to make some noise in the new year.
Eagles advance to the Super Bowl
With the Saints marching into town Saturday, the Eagles are just three wins from a trip 90 minutes north to the Superbowl at the Meadowlands. The team is basically on a free roll. After a 4-12 season in 2012, Chip Kelly has transformed the offense into one of the best in the history of the NFL in just one season. The Eagles can use the cold weather to their advantage to thwart the Saints, take care of business against Cam Newtown and the Panthers in two weeks, and with momentum and confidence, a win in the NFC championship is always possible.
Flyers get consistent goaltending
The Flyers have won six of their last seven games, allowing 2.3 goals per contest in the wins. But prior to this stretch, the team was under .500 with Steve Mason and Ray Emery struggling to keep the Flyers in games. The club is 20-16 through Wednesday, in the current playoff picture with just over half the season remaining. With the offense, led by red hot Claude Giroux firing on all cylinders, Mason and Emery will be the key for success in 2014.
Sixers get the first pick in the draft
With the 2014 NBA draft class one of the strongest in recent memory, the Sixers actually only need to get the first or second pick, lining themselves up to take Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee the club will get a top two pick, but a bottom two finish in the NBA will increase the chances leading up to the draft lottery.
Phillies get back their power
If the Phillies want to compete in 2014, they will need their power to return. Dominic Brown did okay last season leading the team with 27 homers, but he was pretty much the only source of home runs on the squad, a squad that was an offensive juggernaut during playoff runs in 2008,09 and 10. Ryan Howard and Chase Utley will have full seasons, and can hopefully anchor an offense that will have Marlon Byrd as another potentially powerful piece. In a competitive NL East, the big names will have to live up to their hype if they want to make the playoffs after a two year absence.