I understand that the draft hasn’t taken place yet, and that we aren’t even close to Training Camp, but I wouldn’t be fulfilling my job requirements if I didn’t take an early shot in the dark and try to make a record prediction based off of the schedule. So, here goes.
Week one: Win over Jacksonville
Reasoning: While Jacksonville appears headed for brighter days under Gus Bradley, there is no scenario where I would pick a team led by Chad Henne to come into Philadelphia and win. This should be a relatively easy game for the Eagles, and considering it is their first game, it will be difficult for them to overlook it.
Week two: Win over Indianapolis
Reasoning: While I think the Colts are a better overall team than the Eagles, I don’t like the idea of them playing back-to-back games in prime-time. The Colts will host the Broncos on Sunday Night Football week one, and then turn around and host the Eagles on Monday Night Football week two. I look for a statement game for Nick Foles against the most talented young Quarterback in the NFL in Andrew Luck.
Week three: Loss to Redskins
Reasoning: I’m not paid to take the easy way out on predictions. The easy way out would be to say that DeSean Jackson is going to destroy the Redskins locker room and that Robert Griffin III will get hurt somewhere in the first two weeks, as another big off-season from the Redskins will go up in flames. I’m not buying it. This team has a tremendous arsenal of weapons offensively, and I think that DeSean comes in and the Redskins take an early divisional win in the home-opener. I don’t expect DeSean to drop any post-game lines about how much of a mistake the Eagles made letting him go, like one of our old friends did in a similar circumstance. How this isn’t a prime-time game is beyond me.
Week four: Loss to 49ers
Reasoning: While I have come to the conclusion that the 49ers don’t ever plan on fully unleashing Colin Kaepernick in the regular season, due to fear of injury, I think the 49ers will be a better team early on in the regular season this year, than they were in 2013. The Eagles traveling 3,000 plus miles doesn’t help them much either.
Week five: Win over the Rams
Reasoning: The Rams are certainly an improving team, and the idea that Tavon Austin could have a major breakout season scares me a bit. Still, I like the Eagles at home in what will seem like a must-win game.
Week six: Win over Giants
Reasoning: Until the Giants prove that they can protect Eli Manning, have any sort of consistent running-game, or keep from turning the ball over, it’s going to be tough for me to pick them to beat a healthy Eagles offense. Chip and the Eagles embarrass the Giants in prime-time.
Week seven: Bye week
I think week seven is the perfect bye-week because it allows you to get over any early struggles or injuries and hopefully get hot down the stretch of the season.
Week eight: Win over Cardinals
Reasoning: I really went back and fourth on this game, and while I’m not high on the idea of going across the country for a game, I think Zach Ertz has a huge game (and season for that matter) and the Eagles sneak out of Arizona with a close win.
Week nine: Loss to Texans
Reasoning: I view this as a very realistic letdown game, after a big win. While we aren’t sure who the Texans quarterback is going to be just yet, a healthy Arian Foster, mixed with J.J. Watt and potentially Jadeveon Clowney, sounds much scarier than the Vikings team that upset the Eagles in week 15 last year.
Week 10: Win over Panthers
Reasoning: The idea of Greg Hardy coming off of the edge and forcing Nick Foles into being sacked, intentional grounding penalties, or interceptions is very possible, but the Panthers offense is really going to take a step back this year without any legitimate receiving options. I don’t expect the Eagles to light up the Panthers more than stout defense, but I see a win in Jason Avant‘s return to Philly.
Week 11: Loss to Packers
Reasoning: In year two of the Eddie Lacy era, the Eagles won’t miss out on facing Aaron Rodgers like they did last year. I think the combination of those two leads the Pack to a shootout win over Nick Foles and company in Lambeau.
Week 12: Win over Titans
Reasoning: While a looming stretch of games that features the Cowboys, Seahawks, Redskins, and Giants, could make this a trap-game, I’m not too worried. At home, I think the Eagles should make quick work of a weak offense. To really make a playoff run, the Eagles might need to put up 30 plus in this game, because they need to get hot heading into a stretch that features four divisional games in five weeks, and a visit from the defending Superbowl champions.
Week 13: Loss to Cowboys
Reasoning: After missing last year’s division-clinching loss to the Eagles due to a back-injury, Tony Romo and the Cowboys make a statement with a close win at home, as the divisional race in the NFC East between the Redskins, Eagles, and Cowboys (not the Giants) tightens.
Week 14: Loss to Seahawks
Reasoning: This one was actually harder to predict than you might think, but in the end, is Nick Foles ready to lead the Eagles past what is undoubtedly the best secondary in the NFL? Are the Eagles going to have an answer for Marshawn Lynch? Both of those answers in my mind are probably not, and I haven’t even mentioned Russell Wilson‘s name. This loss puts the Eagles at 7-6 and in a must-win position for their next two games.
Week 15: Win over Cowboys
Reasoning: Two weeks after the Eagles lose a close-game to the Cowboys in Jerryworld, Chip Kelly and the Eagles offense come out dialed in early and win by 10 plus. This sets up a Redskins-Eagles matchup in Week 16 that will go a good way in deciding who wins the NFC East.
Week 16: Win over Redskins
Reasoning: Recently, the Eagles have owned the Redskins at Fed-Ex Field. With a chance for to make the playoffs likely on the line, the Eagles offense stays hot, behind none other than Jeremy Maclin. After hearing an entire off-season of how the Eagles don’t have a true number one receiver due to DeSean Jackson‘s release, Maclin will put together a big contract-year that will be capped off with a huge game against the Redskins.
Week 17: Win over Giants
Reasoning: The Eagles get their tenth win of the season over a Giants team that is facing a regime change with Tom Coughlin on his way out, and things having become extremely stale offensively.
On the surface, ten wins doesn’t seem all that impressive considering that the Eagles won ten games and a division title in 2013. But considering how much harder their schedule is in 2013, and that they face improved competition in the division 10 wins isn’t bad. Would a bye and/or a home-field advantage in the playoffs be nice? Yeah, but that might have to wait a year.
Also, seeing the Seahawks, 49ers, and Packers in the regular season could actually play into their hands, even though I have them winning none of those games. While beating a healthy version of any of those three teams in the playoffs will be a tall task, I like the idea of Chip getting to face them once in the regular season, and getting a book on how he can possibly build an offensive gameplan against some of the NFC’s elite in the playoffs.
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