Oct 26, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly looks on during the first half against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Preseason predictions have inarguably millions of unknowns that can occur by the time the end of the NFL season rolls around. Who can stay healthy? Which teams can overcome adversity? Which teams are better prepared week to week?
Last week’s bitter loss may have given some Eagles fans perspective that their team is not invincible following the dismantling of Philadelphia by Aaron Rodgers and company. The NFC playoff picture is already starting to take form as teams begin jockeying for the top seeds.
With the Eagles currently slated as the third seed in the playoffs, is there anyway head coach Chip Kelly can advance his squad into one of the top two seeds and secure home field advantage with a bye?
Here’s a look at an updated preview for the remainder of the Philadelphia Eagles 2014 opponents:
Week 12: Eagles vs Titans
Philadelphia takes on selfie extraordinaire Zach Mettenberger and a 2-8 Tennessee Titans team coming off a four-game losing streak. It’s hard to see the Tennessee offense finally putting things together as they’re currently ranked as the 25th passing offense and 26th rushing offense. Further, they possess the second worst rush defense that will be taking on a Philadelphia run game that is hoping to turn the corner this week as their healthy line begins to regain 2013’s successful form.
Prediction: Eagles 31, Titans 17
Week 13: Eagles @ Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys (7-3) are one of the biggest surprises of the year as their rushing offense led by DeMarco Murray has dominated the league. Murray has put up an astounding 1,233 rushing yards and seven touchdowns to date. Neck and neck with Philadelphia for the top the NFC East, this matchup and their Week 15 matchup will have huge implications for deciding the division winner. If healthy, Mark Sanchez will be the fifth quarterback in four years to lead the Eagles in a game that could come down to whoever protects the ball more. Dallas pulls out the last minute winner at home.
Prediction: Eagles 22, Cowboys 28
Week 14: Eagles vs Seahawks
What were those numbers about the Eagles not beating any playoff teams or losing to teams with winning records? That may not be a factor when the Eagles take on a reeling Seattle team that has been falling apart in all phases of the game. Seattle has entered a tough six game stretch that started with a loss at Kansas City, and now face both Arizona (9-1) and San Francisco (6-4). Philadelphia is then sandwiched in between before two more rounds with Arizona and San Francisco. Eek. Five of the Seahawks’ last six games have been decided by a touchdown or less; expect the Eagles to find a way to win at home against a team many had predicted as a loss for Philadelphia at the beginning of the season.
Prediction: Eagles 20, Seahawks 17
Week 15: Eagles vs Cowboys
It’s difficult to see Chip Kelly taking another loss from a division rival while at home with their NFC East title hopes on the line. The Eagles end their season with two more NFC East road games after finishing their last home game (where they are 5-0 so far this year) where a win isn’t out of the question. The Eagles should win the battle upfront in the trenches and get some revenge at home with the possibility of finishing undefeated at Lincoln Financial Field.
Prediction: Eagles 34, Cowboys 20
Week 16: Eagles @ Redskins
Who knows what kind of team the Washington Redskins will be by the time Week 16 rolls around. Coming off their bye week, Washington took an incredible home beating by a 1-8 Tampa Bay team and quarterback Robert Griffin III has never looked more lost out on the field. This team has a few pieces, but some major rebuilding will be required.
Prediction: Eagles 33, Redskins 13
Week 17: Eagles @ Giants
After completely blanking the New York Giants in Week 6, expect New York to put up more of a fight the second time these two teams meet. Unfortunately due to the abundance of injuries this team has endured, there might not be too many bodies left when Week 17 comes around. This Giants team is struggling defensively across the board in almost every category, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Chip Kelly rested most of his starters for the postseason depending if they secure a top one or two-seed in the NFC and the bye.
Prediction: Eagles 20, Giants 24
For those keeping track of score, that would put the Eagles at 11-5 as my final prediction. That record should be good enough to secure the two-seed in the NFC.
Arizona will be without Carson Palmer the remainder of the season, yet still post the NFC’s best record at 9-1. It’s hard to see them simply running away with the NFC West but doubting Bruce Arians is a fool’s game. San Francisco’s offense, particularly their red zone offense, can’t find a way to consistently reach pay dirt and faces a tough end of season schedule. The Seahawks schedule may also be too difficult to overcome. If the Cardinals begin to fall off, the winner of the NFC West may drop to the three-seed as the NFC North and East figure to continue their ascents for the best record.
The Green Bay Packers (7-3) have proven to be nearly unbeatable at home as they’ve now scored on average 43.8 points per game. They don’t have a particularly daunting end of season schedule, as the NFC North division could be decided Week 17 when they host the Detroit Lions (7-3). The winner of that matchup could secure the top spot in the NFC.
The NFC South could feature a team at or below .500 and at this point it’d be a reach to see any of those teams find a way to claim a wildcard spot.
Dallas won’t be going away without a fight, but the Eagles currently own the tiebreaker over them by going 2-0 in the division against the Cowboy’s 1-1 record to date. Both teams have one more home divisional game and three on the road. Dallas currently owns a 4-0 road record where the Eagles have now fallen to 2-3. If Kelly can get his squad better prepared for the road, they have a chance to maintain their lead on Dallas. This will be a thrilling end to decide the NFC East division winner, with a possible two-seed on the line.
As we’ve learned in the first 11 weeks of the NFL season, anything could happen over this time span.The uncertainty of the NFL is what makes it one of the greatest sports. It truly is a week to week league which makes each and every season exciting as the end draws near.
What do you think the Eagles’ final record will be?