At the start of each season, fans and analysts alike attempt to predict the outcomes for each of their team’s 16 games. Along the way, there are trap games that seem like surefire wins on paper, but in reality post a larger threat to end up as a loss. The 2014 Philadelphia Eagles, going from worst to first last season, play a 1st place schedule this year. In an always competitive NFC East division, the balance of power seems to flip annually. Let’s examine some key games that could turn into trap games and go a long way to deciding the conference champion this year.
Week 3: Home against the Washington Redskins
Coming off a season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars and what should be a tough game against the Indianapolis Colts, the Eagles meet the Redskins for the first of two divisional contests. Redskins’ quarterback Robert Griffin III should return near 100%, and the addition of former Eagles’ wide receiver DeSean Jackson adds another vertical threat to a solid offense. This game will test how well the Birds defense improved over the previous season. All of these elements could come together and cost the Birds the game, much the same way they dropped the first contest after quarterback Donovan McNabb left Philly for Washington. The good news is these two teams play again in Week 16, giving plenty of time to plan out a revenge win if needed.
Week 10: Home against the Carolina Panthers
After two tough games against the Arizona Cardinals and Houston Texans, the Eagles return to their roost and face the Panthers. Another strong test for the Birds defense, as Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is both strong and mobile. Even with some of the personnel changes and the lack of a real number one receiver, Newton possesses the strength and speed to wreck havoc for the defense. Under normal circumstances, this should be a solid back and forth contest, but the prior two weeks with trips to Arizona and Texas could be enough to disrupt the Eagles and provide an opening for the Panthers to pick up the win.