By Troy Weller on April 25, 2014
With the recent release of the 2014 NFL schedule, it's never too early to take a look at how the Philadelphia Eagles might fare in Chip Kelly's second year. After all the moves the team has made this offseason, it's tough to say the Eagles are a better team right now than they were in 2013. Pile on a tough schedule, and it's quite possible to see the team regress. Here's an early prediction on the outcomes of the Eagles' 16 regular season games.
The NFL schedule makers took it easy on the Eagles here. The team will open up against the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars, and regardless of what the Jags do in the upcoming draft, it's safe to chalk this one up as a win for Philadelphia.
The Eagles and Indianapolis Colts are two of the better young teams in the NFL, but the Colts are more talented than the Eagles at this stage of the game. With Indianapolis' offense led by Andrew Luck, it looks like the Eagles will lose their first game of 2014 in Week 2.
Philadelphia Eagles Washington Redskins
It won't take long for DeSean Jackson to return to Philadelphia as a member of the Washington Redskins. The Redskins will play the Eagles tough, but Philadelphia is still the better team even without Jackson. The Birds pick up a win to move to 2-1.
The San Francisco 49ers are one of the best teams in the entire league, and facing their defense will be a huge measuring stick for the Eagles' offense. Philadelphia will make it competitive early, but unfortunately won't leave California with a win.
The St. Louis Rams will get better because of the upcoming draft, and they're a team that's under-looked because of the division they play in. Still, the Eagles know this is a game they have to win to avoid slipping under .500. Philadelphia will take care of business at home.
NFC East rivalry games are always tough, but they're even tougher when played on Sunday Night Football. The New York Giants travel to Philadelphia in Week 6, and judging by the past few years, are as capable as anyone of beating the Eagles on their own field. Philadelphia's defense should be settled in to stop whatever the Giants throw their way, and the Birds move to 4-2 on the year.
Coming off a bye week, the Eagles will travel to Arizona to square off against a Cardinals team that they barely beat in 2013. The Birds might come out a little slow due to the week off, and Arizona's much-improved offense will take advantage and steal a win from the Eagles.
The Houston Texans may have been the worst team in in the NFL in 2013, but the year before that they were a playoff team. The Eagles will have a tougher game than expected awaiting them in Houston, but they'll squeak out a close one to move to 5-3 on the year.
The Carolina Panthers underperformed in the playoffs last year, but Cam Newton and Co. are as good as advertised. As much as I want to give the Eagles a win here, I can't knowing just how dynamic Newton is. Carolina beats Philadelphia in a close one on Monday Night Football, and the Birds move to 5-4.
The Eagles knocked off the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field last year, but that was against a team that didn't have Aaron Rodgers. If Rodgers is healthy, which he should be, the Eagles' trip to Wisconsin won't end like it did in 2013. Philly loses and moves back to .500 with a 5-5 record.
After two straight losses, the Eagles will get back on track with a win over the Tennessee Titans. Nick Foles and the rest of the offense should have a solid day moving the ball against a team that lacks an identify right now on defense. Philadelphia is now 6-5 on the year.
The Eagles' trip to Texas to take on the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving day will be the start of a crucial NFC divisional stretch for the team. Philadelphia will be coming off short rest against a team that's used to playing in this spotlight, and the Cowboys secure a victory in yet another tough NFC East showdown. The Eagles are back to .500.
Really, the only good thing for the Eagles is that this game against the Seattle Seahawks isn't on the road. The defending Super Bowl champs are virtually unbeatable at home, and almost as dangerous on the road. Philadelphia won't roll over, but Seattle's defense will prevail in the end. The Eagles will move to 6-7 on the season.
After two straight losses and the pressure building to make the playoffs, the Eagles will finish up the season split by beating the Dallas Cowboys in Philadelphia. The Eagles have been able to beat Dallas when the heat is on the last few years, and this time around won't be any different. Philadelphia is now a 7-7 team.
The Washington Redskins will probably be out of the playoff picture by now, but the same can't be said for the Eagles. Fighting for their postseason lives, Philadelphia runs away from Washington in a late-season smack down to guarantee a second-straight season with at least eight wins.
It's not unreasonable to think the last game of the year against the New York Giants could be for the NFC East title. The Eagles will travel to New York in a winner-take-all scenario. The Birds have been excellent lately while playing on the Giants' home turf, and they'll win another thriller this time around. Philadelphia finishes the year at 9-7, good enough to win the NFC East crown.
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