The 2011/12 NFL schedules were released on Tuesday, and with the massive wave of accompanying media hype and NFL network analysis you’d never guess that it was all largely hypothetical. Yes, fellow Birds fans, it’s an eerie feeling to look through a list of upcoming games and know, in the back of your mind, that there should be a pretty big asterisk down there at the bottom:
*Note, none of these games may ever actually happen. As a backup plan, we recommend picking out a hockey team to root for.
But that’s what we do here in the sports media world, after all; we deal in the hypothetical. Isn’t that all a mock draft is, really? “If the 49ers don’t take a quarterback…if Camiri is still on the board…etc”.
So, in keeping with this hypothetical theme, let’s continue. If there is a season in 2011, and if we’re not all rooting for the Flyers and the Soul by this time next year, the Eagles’ upcoming schedule seems pretty inviting, at first glance. With a few notable exceptions:
Things that Bug Me About the 2011/12 Schedule
Four of our first six games will be on the road. And they’re not exactly gimme’s. The Rams, our first opponent, are no longer the bumbling joke of the West they used to be. They went from a one-win team to a seven-win team in one season, and Bradford has shown startling signs of promise in his limited opportunities. Beware this game. Then we’re in Atlanta for the Vick Bowl and back home for the Giants. After a possible trap game the following week against the 49ers, we have our only respite in a late-summer visit to Buffalo, before getting back on the bus and driving down to Fedex for another rough divisional matchup. That whole “Start Strong” thing is gonna be difficult this year. Hypothetically.
We’re playing the Bears and the Falcons, again. Seriously, who does these goddamn schedules? Outside of the NFC East, there are 28 possible teams we have a chance to play every year, but for some reason we’re playing Chicago for the fifth consecutive season and Atlanta for the sixth time is seven years. Bears games always make me nervous, to tell you the truth, ever since we lost by one yard a few years ago, and I’m tired of having to go through it every season. Why can’t we play the Chiefs five years in a row, or the Browns? And how many consecutive times do we need to beat the Falcons before the NFL scheduling committee decides to give them a break? I get it, Birds vs. Birds. Very clever. Now move on.
The Patriots. It’s nice that we’re playing the Cowboys after the bye – the week when Andy Reid apparently decides to activate God Mode – but I’d prefer to use our cheat code for the big boss: New England. It worked against Peyton and the Colts last year, and I personally think that monster upset was the game-changer for us in 2010. That’s when Vick became elite again, when all the MVP chatter started and when this team really hit its stride. After a possibly treacherous start to the 2011 season, we might need some magic mojo to get us amped back up for the second half of the season. Nothing would help more than a ritual dismantling of the team that’s outscored us 62-28 since 2003 and which robbed us – literally robbed us – of a Superbowl in 2005. I say robbed, of course, because the team later admitted they were cheating that year. Anyway. I’m not saying we can’t beat the Pats at home in late November, but if we do it’s not gonna be easy. Hypothetically.
We’re playing the Jets in both the preseason and the regular season. Growing up, I thought I’d heard that teams specifically don’t play divisional opponents in the preseason because the risk of intentional injuries is too great. Coughlin sends some fourth-string cornerback who has no chance of making the team out on the field in the first quarter of a preseason game to take Vick’s knee out at the end of a play and boom, just like that, our season’s over before it starts. I’m not saying Rex Ryan has something like this up his sleeve – and as it’s the fourth preseason game our starters won’t even be out there – but I just don’t like the idea of playing a team in a fake game when we know we’re going to be playing them for real later on in the year. It sets a bad precedent, one that could lead to the horrible situation described above. Hypothetically.
Alright, that’s it. With this article we should officially be back up to speed, so for the six days it’s gonna be all draft all the time. What madness to you think Andy Reid has in store this year? Feel free to send in your opinions, we’ll do our best to address them as we go along. Go Birds!