You know what comes to mind when I think of the Philadelphia Eagles?
DeSean Jackson? Soft. Jeremy Maclin? Immensely talented but not the kind of receiver who can go over the middle with any consistency. Mike Vick? Nine years in the NFL, and he’s played all 16 games only once.
The Eagles most likely have the quirkiest schedule in the NFL:
Week 4: vs. NY Giants. In week three, the Giants play on Thursday, and thus get an extra couple days to prepare for their division rival.
Week 5: at Pittsburgh. The Steelers are coming off a bye week. The soft Eagles will be playing two of the hardest hitting teams in the league back-to-back.
Week 6: vs. Detroit. The Lions are coming off a bye week. That’s an rigorous 3-game stretch for the Eagles (all three made the playoffs last year) and each opponent will have had more rest than Philly.
Week 8: vs. Atlanta. The Eagles are coming off a bye! Oh, but so is Atlanta. No advantage gained.
Week 11: at Washington. The Redskins are the 4th team Philadelphia will be playing coming off a bye week.
Week 13: at Dallas. Short week for the Eagles leading into what will probably be a pivotal divisional game – Philly will have just played Cam Newton on Monday Night Football.
You won’t find a more daunting schedule in the league.
But all is not negative! Philadelphia, realistically, could open the season 3-0. Cleveland and Arizona should be automatic wins, and if the Eagles can beat Baltimore at home, they should be a game or two up on the Giants and Cowboys (yes, I am completely discounting the Redskins in the division).
They’ll need that cushion because from Sept. 30 to November 5th, all the Eagles face are teams that made the 2011 playoffs.
Two other thoughts: The offensive line isn’t an upper echelon group, but the defense has significantly improved thanks to linebackers acquired via trade (DeMeco Ryans) and the draft (Mychal Kendricks).
Smells like 9-7/10-6, but I’ve got them in the playoffs along with the Giants. The Eagles sure as hell better make the playoffs, or Andy Reid is gone and Mike Vick might be, too.
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