Schedule makers giveth and taketh away with the Philadelphia Eagles
Every NFC East team, the Philadelphia Eagles in particular, has drawn a difficult schedule from the NFL. The Eagles start with two road games against difficult opponents and have a brutal three game road trip in December. This doesn’t seem to be a recipe for success in 2017, but this schedule, especially in comparison to the others in the NFC East, is a favorable one for Philadelphia. Expect them to win 10 games this year and make the playoffs.
First, let’s examine the early part of the schedule and how it plays out
The Eagles could actually sweep the Washington Redskins, but it might be difficult. There are questions as to whether Kirk Cousins can perform and whether he’s a long-term solution. If the answer to both of those questions is yes, the Eagles will likely lose both of their first two games. Both are on the road. Following the Redskins game, Philly takes on the Kansas City Chiefs, and 94 WIP-FM will be littered with calls from fans who will be ready to jump off the Ben Franklin Bridge. Still, what’s been ranked as the seventh most difficult schedule has plenty of positive opportunity as well. Expect the Eagles to win their home opener against the New York Giants and follow that up by beating the Los Angeles Chargers in a pair of early season “must wins.”
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At 2-2, October will be good to the Eagles
The Eagles will beat the Arizona Cardinals in week five, as 37 year old Carson Palmer will not be able to overcome an improved Eagles defense. The Eagles then travel, in a short week, to play the Carolina Panthers on a Thursday night. Cam Newton and the Panthers will be improved this year, and the Eagles will lose a close game to move to 3-3 in the standings. This is when Philadelphia hits their stride, winning their next three games at home against the Redskins, San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos.
With extra time to prepare after the short week in Carolina, Coach Doug Pederson finally solves the Redskins riddle. The 49ers, in a spot that could be a trap game for Philly, prove that they just aren’t good enough to get a road win. Then, in a bit of scheduling assistance, the Eagles will beat the Broncos as they catch them between games against the Chiefs and the New England Patriots.
Post bye week, the Eagles are ready for November
The Eagles enter the bye week 6-3, and have two weeks to prepare for the Dallas Cowboys. This will be another area where the Eagles benefit from the schedule. Expect the Eagles to beat the Cowboys in Dallas, who will be coming off of games against the Redskins, Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons. Philadelphia can celebrate their revenge for the overtime loss in 2016, and follow that up by beating the Chicago Bears, as we believe the Bears just won’t be good enough to beat the Eagles on the road in 2017. That places the Eagles at 8-3 heading into December.
The Schedule Makers stick it to the Eagles in December
Here it comes, the December road trip. Games at the Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles Rams and New York Giants. Ouch. The Seahawks will catch the guys in green in a favorable spot and win the game. Now we get to the trap game of the year. Jared Goff and Todd Gurley will be better than 2016. The Rams defense has been good for a while, and that will continue in 2017.
Catching the Rams in a game that is sandwiched between road games for them against the Cardinals and Seahawks would make it seem as though game should be favorable for Philly, but it wouldn’t be surprising if they came up on the losing end. The following week, in New York, Pederson and company will beat the Giants on the road to make up for it. Then, on Christmas night, the Oakland Raiders will visit Lincoln Financial Field and walk out with a victory. It’s here that Philadelphia will get caught looking ahead to their next game against Dallas. That will place the win-loss total at 9-6 heading into the season finale.
The finale for all the marbles
Looking at the Cowboys schedule, it may be difficult to pencil them into the playoffs. As a matter of fact, they could have nine wins or less when the last day of the regular season rolls around. Expect Philadelphia, just like they did in 2016, to win their finale against “America’s Team”. Doug Pederson will prove that, even if he isn’t as good a head coach as some would like to believe, he’s definitely better than Jason Garrett. Carson Wentz will prove he’s better than Dak Prescott. Philadelphia’s new weapon, Alshon Jeffery, will provide more in crunch time than the Cowboys main weapon, Ezekiel Elliott. The win will secure the NFC East crown for Philadelphia at 10-6. In a very competitive and close race, the Cowboys will end 9-7, and the Giants and Redskins both finish 7-9 .
That was fun. Now, we just need to start playing some games for real.