Predicting the Eagles Schedule — Part 1
Every minute that passes, we get closer and closer to football season. The Philadelphia Eagles are coming off their greatest season ever, as they hoisted up the Lombardi Trophy in February. There have been subtractions to the team, and there have been new additions. This season, the birds will look to be the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls since the New England Patriots did it in 2004-2005.
All in all, I believe the Eagles got a lot better over the offseason. It is one of the hardest tasks in all of the professional sports to repeat in the Super Bowl, as it has only been done eight times in 52 years. However, I believe the Eagles have a great shot to do so. Here is my breakdown of this season.
vs Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons come to Philly in Week 1. There is a lot of speculation on if Carson Wentz will suit up in midnight green and take the field for this game, and I believe he will be ready. However, I truly don’t think it matters who takes the field as the quarterback for this game. The buzz around the city will be unbelievable, I don’t think there is a single team in the NFL that could come into Philadelphia and take down the birds in Week 1 this season.
With that said, the Falcons are a very dangerous team. I said last season, I was extremely nervous for the Eagles to play them in the playoffs. When you take a look back at it, Julio Jones was one catch away from crushing the Super Bowl dream. Thankfully, he didn’t.
The offense of the Falcons is very intimidating. They have playmakers all over the field, especially with the draft pick of Calvin Ridley. This will be one of the most high-powered offense the birds will see all season. On the other hand, they don’t have Kyle Shanahan anymore, and the void left by him was not closed by Offensive Coordinator Steve Sarkisian, which was shown last season as the Falcons points per game dropped from 34 to 21.
Regardless, the Falcons just catch the Eagles at a terrible time. Birds win.
at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs are in shambles. They have some bright spots in Mike Evans and Gerald McCoy, but they just don’t have enough firepower. Jameis Winston has potential, but has had a lot of off-the-field issues and just doesn’t seem to be the leader Tampa Bay needs. Winston recently got suspended for the first three games of the 2018 season for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
That means Winston will not be suiting up Week 2 against the Eagles, which means the defense will get to face off against Ryan Fitzpatrick… Last season, Fitzpatrick played in six games, throwing 59% on his passes, which gained a total of 1,103 yards, 7 touchdown passes, and 3 interceptions. Entering his 14th season in the NFL, a 35-year-old Fitzpatrick will try to knock off the defending Super Bowl Champions on September 16th.
Philadelphia has too great of a talent and coaching gap to lose this football game.
vs Indianapolis Colts
This game will have some fun headlines with the Colts new Head Coach, Frank Reich. Reich was the Offensive Coordinator for the Eagles the past two seasons. In all fairness to him, he has taken over a mess in Indianapolis. T.Y Hilton, like Mike Evans, could cause some problems for the birds, but nothing that would put them in danger of losing.
I think the Eagles are too established to lose this football game.
at Tennessee Titans
This game could be more interesting than people expect. The Titans sort of catch the Eagles at a good time at home a week before the Vikings come to town. I really like the Titans offense with the addition of Dion Lewis, I believe he will coincide well with Derrick Henry as the main back. He will also help in the receiving game with Delanie Walker.
The Titans also improved greatly on defense with Malcolm Butler, to add to an already talented defense at every level with Jurell Casey, Brian Orakpo, Wesly Woodyard, and Kevin Byard. This could be a scare, but I believe the Eagles are just all-around better than the Titans are.
vs Minnesota Vikings
Last season, the Vikings had all the stars aligned to knock off the birds and go to Super Bowl 52 in their backyard but failed. This game will be fun considering the obliteration that happened in the playoffs. If this game was on the road, I might feel a little differently. The Vikings had a bit of a magical season last year, and I just don’t think they will repeat that.
I do think they improved at quarterback, I think Kirk Cousins is better than Case Keenum. However, I do not think he is 31 points better. Eagles win, again.
at New York Giants
I am not very confident in this game. I think the New York Giants will be the most improved team in the NFL. Mainly because of their coaching change, Pat Shurmur will be a much better head man than Ben McAdoo. They have a talented young running back in Saquon Barkley, which is something Eli Manning has never really had. Barkley will take a lot of heat of Manning, opening up the passing game.
Last season, the Giants played the Eagles close in both matchups. The game in New York, Sterling Shepard had a field day solely on slant routes. Add the combination of Odell Beckham with an improved Evan Engram, and I think it could be trouble. I have the Eagles taking their first loss of the season to the Giants.
vs Carolina Panthers
It truly depends on the day for Cam Newton. He can be exceptional or terrible on any given night. In the matchup last season, Newton was kind of terrible, throwing three interceptions to one touchdown. However, I think the Panthers will improve a bit on offense this season with the addition of DJ Moore.
That addition will not help out the defense, which is essentially irrelevant without Luke Keuchly, who is injury prone. I really like the Eagles to bounce back at home in this one.
vs Jacksonville Jaguars
This game will be exciting. Jay Ajayi will be back in his homeland of London, England to suit up for this one.
I fully expect this game to be a low scoring, slug fest. The Jags have an incredible defense, but their offense is holding them back from hitting that next level. Blake Bortles is a decent quarterback throwing to decent wide receivers. Leonard Fournette has to produce to get the offense going… Stack the box, and the Jags will get shut down, especially against the returning number one run defense in the league from a season ago.
There you have it. I got the Eagles going 7-1 heading into the bye week. Around this time, you will start to hear the back-to-back Super Bowl buzz come around. I believe the birds start off extremely hot and dropping a game you probably didn’t expect. After the bye week, the schedule gets tougher, so the Eagles will need this week of rest to suit up for the last half of the schedule.
Photo Credit: Frank Franklin II-AP
Braxton Howard Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, super bowl, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, tennessee titans