Will the Eagles win on Sunday? Where will Ben Simmons end up? Which players can the Phillies get to boost their lineup?

It can be tough to live in the moment in sports — especially when the moment is another October without the Phillies in the playoffs — but looking ahead can often be a little more fun. There’s plenty to look ahead to across the Philadelphia sports landscape, and The Inquirer’s sports staff has it covered.

Will the Eagles snap their three-game losing streak and beat the Panthers on Sunday? Check out the confidence level of our reporters with their Week 5 predictions.

The Sixers’ asking price for a Simmons trade has been very high, but the Indiana Pacers are one of the teams inquiring about the disgruntled star. Would their package of picks and players be enough to end the Simmons era in Philly?

Phillies president Dave Dombrowski isn’t tipping his hand about his plan to find a power bat in the lineup behind Bryce Harper. That’s where we come in to forecast which sluggers might be a fit this offseason.

At the college level, Temple looks to the future with a new athletic director and Drexel’s AD is settling in.

Here’s your Friday forecast!

— Inquirer sports staff, @phillysports

Early Birds

The Eagles haven’t exactly been disciplined on the field under Nick Sirianni, leading the NFL with 44 penalties, including 15 pre-snap flags, also a league high. And they’ve given up 83 points over the last two games — both losses. Staring down the possibility of a 1-4 start, the Eagles are up against the 3-1 Panthers and an improved Sam Darnold at quarterback. The Inquirer Eagles writers aren’t exactly brimming with confidence in their game picks this week.

Patrick Mahomes had some simple advice for Eagles QB Jalen Hurts on Sunday: “Keep balling.” That’s what Sirianni is trying to let him do, but he knows it’s a fine line.

KC Joyner writes that relying on a pass-happy offense with Hurts isn’t adding up and the numbers show a run-centric attack is needed.

Next: Eagles at Panthers, 1 p.m. Sunday at Bank of America Stadium (Fox).

Extra Innings

Bryce Harper might have turned in the best season of his career in 2021, is a strong contender for the National League MVP and yet the Phillies are sitting home again during the playoffs. Team president Dave Dombrowski knows he has to find some protection in the lineup for his superstar. Anyone who watched a Phillies game this season knows that, but who? Matt Breen offered up some ideas on power hitters who would slot in nicely behind Harper in the batting order, including a Reds slugger who might be a free agent and a childhood friend with a World Series and MVP on his resume.

Off the Dribble

The 76ers want to win now, but they have a young star who wants out and the whole league knows it, so good luck with establishing any leverage in trade talks. Damian Lillard would be ideal, C.J. McCollum a solid haul, but how about ... Caris LeVert and Malcolm Brogdon? Keith Pompey reports the Indiana Pacers are among the teams still inquiring about Simmons, and a source confirms the Sixers have interest in LeVert. Would a package of LeVert, Brogdon, and a first-round pick be enough for the Sixers to sign off on a trade and put the Simmons saga behind them (and us)? Stay tuned.

First preseason win: Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris made their preseason debuts in a 125-113 victory over the Toronto Raptors.

Former Sixer Tony Wroten is one of 18 former NBA players charged in a $4 million health care fraud scheme.

Next: Nets at Sixers, 8 p.m. Monday (NBC Sports Philadelphia) at the Wells Fargo Center.

On the Fly

The Flyers announced that Paul Holmgren and Rick Tocchet will be the next two inductees to the team’s Hall of Fame.

We will neither confirm nor deny the rumor that Holmgren was inducted purely for breaking the Guinness World Record for most jobs held with one team. Tocchet’s induction had a much simpler explanation: The voters didn’t want him and his almost 3,000 career penalty minutes to beat them up. In his defense, Tocchet wasn’t all “Bully” — he also had 952 career points!

Don’t cry, we’re sure you’ll be inducted next year, @GrittyNHL

With just one preseason game remaining, the good news is that the Flyers’ opening-night roster is almost set. The bad news is they still can’t kill a penalty.

Other than that, GM Chuck Fletcher thinks training camp went rather smoothly (minus the minor incident of Vegas Golden Knights goalie Robin Lehner accusing Alain Vigneault of being a “dinosaur.”)

Next: Flyers at Capitals, 7 tonight (NBC Sports Philadelphia) at Capital One Arena.

Fleet Street

Will the United States men’s national soccer team return to the World Cup tournament after missing the competition in the last cycle? It was a devastating blow for a program that had consistently competed on that level since 1990. Now the USMNT is riding a 14-game unbeaten streak in competitions and may have found what the team has too often lacked, a pure goalscorer in Ricardo Pepi. In Concacaf qualifying action, the teenager scored a brace (come on, everyone watches Ted Lasso now, so you know what that means) as the U.S. took down Jamaica, 2-0.

In domestic club soccer action, don’t miss any of the action in the Union’s Saturday game. Follow along with the Inquirer’s Game Day Central. Also, catch all the soccer you want to see with our handy guide to what is on where.

Finally, it’s an easy prediction that the NWSL will have struggles as the league tries to create a safer workplace for players, but fans remembered what’s worth celebrating at a game honoring Carli Lloyd.

Worth a look

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