Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Eagles' Official Facebook Page
The NFL truly is the year round league in American Sports. By moving the NFL Draft back a month into May to break up the dead period between Free Agency and Training Camp, the schedule release has plenty of time to gestate in our brains. This allows for the absurd prognostications about what record the Eagles will go based on the team sitting at April 23rd.
So, by all means, let's join the fun! The following is the Eagles schedule, featuring all four primetime games, three of which are at home! While I won't predict victories or defeats at this time (or at any time until late August at the earliest), a mini-analysis of each game seems warranted at this time. Away we go!....
(A quick note: this year for the first time, Flex Scheduling to Sunday Nights can begin starting after Week 5, but there are stipulations. Needless to say it is confusing, so I'll just let the league explain it for you here).
Week 1: 9/7 Jacksonville Jaguars @ Philadelphia Eagles, 1pm, CBS
-Soft opening, so to speak. Despite landing with the third pick in the Draft next month, the Jaguars were hands down the worst time in the NFL for a majority of the 2013 season and as close to the NFL's version of the 76ers as Roger Goodell would allow. They are still in the midst of a rebuilding project, so this should be a nice home opening win for the team.
Week 2: 9/15 Philadelphia Eagles @ Indianapolis Colts, 830pm, ESPN
-The NFL continues its trend of having the Eagles in a primetime game early in the season. This will be a toughie though, going on the road to visit the Andrew Luck and the Colts on a Monday Night. Luck figures to break out big time this year in his third season, and we very well may see the ascention of Luck into the elite class of QB's. The Eagles have not fared well against Peyton's Colts during the Reid era, we shall see how they perform against Luck's Colts in the Kelly area early on.
Week 3: 9/21 Washington Redsins @ Philadelphia Eagles, 1pm, FOX
-The game everyone was looking for comes in Week 3. Somewhat surprising that this isn't a primetime game, but the Eagles are at a short rest disadvantage for the big DJax return to Philly. Personally, it's getting a little old seeing the Redskins as the 'big return' game every couple of years (Trotter, McNabb, Jackson), but considering this rivalry pales in comparison to our rivalry with the Giants and Cowboys, a little spice might be helpful.
Week 4: 9/28 Philadelphia Eagles @ San Francisco 49ers, 425pm, FOX
-Yikes. There is nothing worse for an Eagles fan than an afternoon road game. Add to the fact that this is against the 49ers, arguably one of the top two teams in the NFL? Ouch. They could be on a high after beating Jackson the week before that this is a big let down an they get spanked, or they could be highly motivated by a loss against the Redskins that they will be out to prove that they belong in the discussion with the Niners as a top NFC team. Could be a good measuring stick game. Quick Trivia - the 49ers are 1 of 4 teams the Eagles did NOT play in a playoff game in the Andy Reid era. Can you name the other 3?
Week 5: 10/5 St. Louis Rams @ Philadelphia Eagles, 1pm, FOX
-Ho Hum. The Rams are the Rams. At some point the rebuilding has to end and they have to either be good or not. This is a big year for Bradford as they mull his future as their starter. This game could have a lot of spice depending on how their draft goes with two first round picks. Could this be the first appearance of Clowney in Philadelphia?
Week 6: 10/12 New York Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles, 830pm, NBC
-Giants and Eagles on Sunday Night Football. Is it just me or does this happen literally every year? (No joke though, the Giants and Eagles played eachother on Sunday Night every season between 2007 and 2012). The Giants figure to be the Eagles biggest threat to the division crown, so this will be a good test to see who is truy better than who.
Week 7: BYE WEEK
Week 8: 10/26 Philadelphi Eagles @ Arizona Cardinals, 4pm, FOX
-Yet another afternoon road game. However, this one is coming off of the bye so fans will be amped or it. You'd be forgiven if you've forgotten that the Cardinals are, in fact, NOT in the NFC East anymore considering they seem to play eachother every stinking season (as a result of finishing the same place in their division as the Eagles, or in this case because of the cycle). The Cards are a tough team to figure out. The birds beat them last year in what was at the time a very important game for wild-card purposes, but they still managed to finish 10-6 yet not make the playoffs. The NFC West is good.
Week 9: 11/2 Philadelphia Eagles @ Houston Texans, 1pm, FOX
-the past two teams that have had the the #1 overall pick have each made the playoffs the following seasons, so it's hard to figure out the Texans. It appears at first glance, however, that the Colts and Chiefs were special cases the years they had the top pick and the Texans were more of a true awful #1 pick team. Hard to predict this one. Of note, this is Bill O'Brien's return to Pennsylvania. There could be a strange Penn State appreciate cheer involved for the Texans' new head man.
Week 10: 11/10 Carolina Panthers @ Philadelphia Eagles, 830pm, ESPN
-The Eagles' second MNF game of the season comes against the Panthers. Interestingly, the Panthers thumped the Eagles at the Linc on Monday night just two years ago. Carolina managed to get the 2 seed last year in the NFC but did absolutely nothing with it. They have had a miserable offseason and are an obvious regression candidate this season (the Eagles are as well, sadly). Expect a nice response for Jason Avant. He was a classy guy until the very end.
Week 11: 11/16 Philadelphia Eagles @ Green Bay Packers, 1pm, FOX
-So on short rest, the NFL sends the Eagles to the frozen tundra to face Aaron Rodgers and the Pacers right as the weather will begin to turn? Yuck. The Packers are the Packers, you know what you're going to get from them. This will be a tough game.
Week 12: 11/23 Tennessee Titans @ Philadelphia Eagles, 1pm, CBS
-I'll give someone a dollar if they can tell me something interesting about the Titans. They are quite possibly the most non-descript team in the NFL. Ken Whisenhunt ads some nice flare as the coach, but without CJ2k, who knows what to expect from this team? The Titans have lacked an identity since Steve McNair. Hopefully the Titans suck this year and this is an easy win because it will make things easier for...
Week 13: 11/27 Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys, 430pm, FOX
-THANKSGIVING! Somehow, the Eagles haven't played in Dallas on Thanksgiving since 1989 (we did host the Cardinals in 2008). This will be a fun game because turkey stuffing pumpkin pie football yummmmmmm. Also, its Dallas. Will this finally be the year the Cowboys fall apart, or are they poised for another 8-8 season? Chances are we'll know what the Cowboys are all about by Thanksgiving, so we can prepare accordingly. Also, considering the next opponent on the schedule, the extra rest could not have come at a better time.
Week 14: 12/7 Seattle Seahawks @ Philadelphia Eagles, 425pm, FOX
-This is a biggie. A full 10 days of rest for a home game against the defending champions? You can't really ask for much more. This game is squarely in the midst of the playoff chase, and the NFL knows it. This is a home game at 430. Get ready for Joe Buck and Troy Aikman because this is the national game that week. If the Eagles can find a way to win this one, momentum will be incredibly high heading into the division stretch the last 3 weeks. They will have the attention of the NFL and there will be a buzz around the team. If they lose after having 10 days to prepare for the home game? Then that makes things interesting...
Week 15: 12/14 Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles, 830pm, NBC
-The third of four consecutive nationally televised games and the second game against the Cowboys in two (and a half) weeks, this game could be chock full of meaning. Or, it could be flexed out and at 1pm. A lot of this depends, in my opinion, on the week before, however, the NFL may be hesitant to give this matchup national spotlight twice in three weeks. Who really knows, its April. This is the Eagles final home game (in the regular season, anyway).
Week 16: 12/20 Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Redskins, 430, CBS & NFL
-A Saturday game, weird. The NFL got it right when they decided to put divisional games at the end of the season a few years ago, and this will be a good one. DJax getting a second crack at his old squad in his new city. If anything, it'll be nice to have an extra day of rest for...
Week 17: 12/28 Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants, 1pm, FOX
-This game could have all the meaning in the world, or not a bit of meaning at all. Such is the nature of Week 17. Regardless, the Giants are always a game you want to win.
There you have it folks. Predictions, comments, questions? Any guesses to my trivia question? Keep it here for future analysis.