According to ESPN.com, the Philadelphia Eagles‘ schedule ranks 20th hardest in the league based off of the average of their opponents’ 2013 win percentages. I believe that the Eagles schedule, however, is much harder than those numbers indicate. They play in the NFC East, and have a few interesting AFC matchups as well. After playing very well in the second half of the preseason, the Eagles look ready and able to take on just about anyone.
The first four weeks of the season, the Eagles play the Jacksonville Jaguars, Indianapolis Colts, Washington Redskins and San Francisco 49ers. I expect them to come out strong in the first game against Jacksonville similar to the way they did to open the season in 2013 and pick up the easy win. The next week they play the Colts on Monday night in Indianapolis. This is a game where Andrew Luck will pick apart the Eagles’ lacking secondary and give them their first loss of the year. The next week against the Redskins in Philly will be the return of Desean Jackson to Lincoln Financial field, where he is sure to receive quite an ovation. The Eagles are going to bounce back and pick up a win against Washington. Week 4 in San Francisco is a very intriguing game to me. I’ll look to see the dynamic nature of Chip Kelly‘s offense on display in this game as he takes advantage of a 49ers defense plagued with injuries and suspensions. They will finish this first four games 3-1.
The next five weeks include the St. Louis Rams, New York Giants, their bye week, Arizona Cardinals and Houston Texans. This is the easiest part of the Eagles’ schedule in 2014. I see them beating the Rams, but then losing a close game the following week to the Giants. During the Week 7 bye, coach Kelly will be making the necessary adjustments on both sides of the ball based on what he’s seen during the first half of the season. Following the bye, the Eagles travel out west for back-to-back road games where they will win both as LeSean McCoy will go on an absolute tear. This will improve their overall record to 6-2 so far.
Weeks 10-13, the Eagles take on the Carolina Panthers, Green Bay Packers, Tennessee Titans and Dallas Cowboys. I expect the Eagles to go 3-1 during this stretch of games with their only loss coming against the Packers. Aaron Rodgers and company will once again prove to be too much to handle for the Eagles’ defense. This will bring their overall record to a very solid 9-3.
The final four games will make or break the entire season. They take on the Seattle Seahawks, Cowboys, Redskins and the Giants in New York to finish the season. The Seahawks game will be a closer game than most think, but will ultimately result in a loss. The Eagles play the rest of the NFC East to finish out the season. Thankfully for them, the division is the weakest it’s been in years, particularly on defense. I expect the Eagles to make short work of Dallas, lose a close game to Washington, and finish the season strong and beat the Giants. They will finish with a 4-2 record in the division and an 11-5 overall record.
With that record, it is pretty clear that they will make the postseason and hopefully land a bye. The Eagles need to get their first playoff win during the Chip Kelly-Nick Foles era in order for the season to be considered a success. Based on what the playoff picture looks like, this team could be in a position to make a run. The city of Philadelphia and myself included sure hope that that is the case.