There few teams more intriguing entering this season than Chip Kelly‘s Philadelphia Eagles.
They are in the enviable position of laying the long-term groundwork for a program while in a division that is wide open for the taking. However, the schedule makers did this team no favors.
Week 1: At Washington Redskins
Whether or not Robert Griffin III is healthy or not is the biggest question heading into one of the showcase matchups of opening weekend. However, solving a defense that has stunted this team en route to a season sweep by the Redskins last year may be the toughest task of the evening for the Eagles.
Week 2: vs. San Diego Chargers
While Phillip Rivers certainly isn’t finished, San Diego’s offense leaves much to be desired. While the Eagles secondary will certainly take their lumps this season, this game may be one of the rare opportunities this group has to thrive.
Week 3: vs. Kansas City Chiefs
A date on Thursday Night Football with the world watching as former head coach Andy Reid leads the Chiefs into Lincoln Financial Field will have football scribes salivating over storylines for the week-long buildup. Kelly certainly would like to make a statement in this game, but Kansas City could prove too daunting a task for the Eagles to overcome.
Week 4: At Denver Broncos
Peyton Manning and Wes Welker have the opportunity to face the Eagles’ secondary. I’m not sure the Birds’ 10-day respite will matter much.
Week 5: at New York Giants
The Eagles reward for squaring off with Manning in week four is a date with his brother Eli Manning. The physicality of the Giants may be the intangible that pushes them past the Birds.
Week 6: At Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Eagles return to the site of Nick Foles‘ first win as a starting quarterback last season. If this team is 1-5, it is entirely possible that Kelly pulls the plug on Michael Vick and installs Foles under center. Regardless, Tampa Bay is ripe for the picking.
Week 7: vs. Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys installed Vick’s kryptonite at defensive coordinator in Monte Kiffin. On offense, the Cowboys present matchup problems with Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten all at Tony Romo‘s disposal. It’s hard to envision the Eagles defense slowing them down.
Week 8: vs. New York Giants
The Eagles catch the Giants on the back-end of a short week after a showdown with the Minnesota Vikings. This is the second time the Eagles will have had back-to-back home games, and they should take advantage of it.
Week 9: At Oakland Raiders
Sandwiched between an emotional NFC East division matchup and a showdown with a potential Super Bowl-caliber team, this has all of the makings of a mid-season trap game. The cross-country flight doesn’t help the Eagles either.
Week 10: At Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers, Randall Cobb and one of the stoutest offensive lines in the league will have a field day with the Eagles defense. The Eagles simply don’t have the weapons to compete on that level yet.
Week 11: vs. Washington Redskins
Leading into the bye week, Kelly’s squad puts together a strong showing in a revenge situation against an NFC east foe.
Week 12: BYE WEEK
Week 13: vs Arizona Cardinals
Larry Fitzgerald finally has a quarterback in Carson Palmer throwing to him, but the Cardinals are further away from being a complete product than the Eagles at this point.
Week 14: vs Detroit Lions
The Eagles’ defense doesn’t have the tools to slow down the Matthew Stafford–Calvin Johnson connection. The Lions will escape Lincoln Financial Field with a win.
Week 15: At Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings are a team on the up and with a physical power running game behind Adrian Peterson, this game could have major playoff implications in the NFC North.
Week 16: vs Chicago Bears
By this point, Kelly is all but forced to play Matt Barkley to evaluate whether or not the team needs to draft a quarterback high in 2014. A possibly playoff-bound Bears team is simply too tough a task here.
Week 17: At Dallas Cowboys
This game could have little meaning to either team, or the Cowboys could have a playoff spot already sewn up. Either way, Kelly’s troops head into the offseason with a division win to build on.
Final Record Prediction: 6-10