The NFL schedule for 2018 that we have all been waiting for is finally here. Unfortunately for Philadelphia, they have one of the hardest schedules. The Eagles play seven teams that went to the playoffs last season. That slate includes home games against the Falcons, Vikings and Panthers, as well as away games against the Rams, Jaguars and Saints.
Not only that, but the Eagles play each of their division rivals twice. The Dallas Cowboys are expected to have a bounce-back season, the Washington Redskins will be playing with new quarterback Alex Smith and the New York Giants are getting their playmakers back on offense after an injury-ravaged season. This adds up to a very difficult season for the Eagles.
All of the matchups are listed below in order of difficulty. The week the game takes place, a home or away listing, some brief reasoning and a breakdown are also included.
Games the Eagles will win
These are games the Eagles will need to, and should win. In most years, there would be more games in this section. However, with the extreme difficulty of Philly’s schedule this year, it is pretty small.
1. Indianapolis Colts – Week 3, home, Sept. 23
The Colts are no pushover. When Andrew Luck is playing, they can win almost any game. However, the Eagles have a huge overall talent advantage over Indianapolis and are playing at home. Furthermore, this is a game they need to win. There are no games that don’t matter in a 16-game season.
2. New York Giants – Week 12, home, Nov. 25
The New York Giants will no doubt be better than last year. Odell Beckham Jr. always comes to play against Philadelphia. The Giants do not have a strong enough team to go into Eagles territory and come out with a win.
3. Washington Redskins – Week 13, home, Dec. 3
A home game late in the season against the Redskins is just not one where I can see the Eagles losing. Before Philly swept Washington last season the Redskins had owned the Eagles in recent years.
Games the Eagles should win
These games should all be won except for maybe one or two.
4. Dallas Cowboys – Week 10 , home, Nov. 11
If the Eagles effectively neutralize Ezekiel Elliott’s rushing attack, Dak Prescott does not scare me through the air. This should be a relatively easy win at home.
5. New York Giants – Week 6 , away, Oct. 11
New York is in rebuild mode and should not be that big of a threat to the Eagles as it seemed they would be heading into last season. Before they can compete with the Eagles, they are going to need to fix their terrible offensive line and give Eli Manning some time to throw.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Week 2 , away, Sept. 16
The Buccaneers have all the parts of a potent offense, so if they can put it together in year two of the DeSean Jackson era, they could be a sleeper team. Plus, this is also the Beau Allen revenge game.
7. Washington Redskins – Week 17, away, Dec. 30
If Alex Smith takes care of the ball, the Redskins should be able to manage a winning record. However, beating the Eagles is another story, unless they are resting their starters in Week 17, which seems possible given the strength of the team.
8. Houston Texans – Week 16, home, Dec. 23
The Texans have a bright future, but will not be ready to beat the reigning Super Bowl champions.
9. Tennessee Titans – Week 4 , away, Sept. 30
The Tennessee Titans would have to take a major step forward this season to be able to win this game. It is unlikely, but certainly not impossible for the Titans to win.
10. Dallas Cowboys – Week 14, away, Dec. 9
Playing Dallas in Jerry World always makes for a good game. Luckily for Philadelphia, the Eagles have won four of the last five games they have played at Dallas.
11. Carolina Panthers – Week 7 , home, Oct. 21
The Panthers are a ground and pound running team, and luckily, the Eagles were best in the NFL at stopping the run last year. They allowed only 79.2 yards per game on the ground. All in all, that should help in limiting the Panthers offense at least enough so that they can be outscored.
Games that are toss-ups
The Philadelphia Eagles should win around half of these games. They are tough contests against tough teams. The NFL is a league of parity, so you cannot expect to win them all.
12. Atlanta Falcons – Week 1, home, Sept. 6
The Falcons are a quality team with a good quarterback and a fast defense. The Eagles can win this matchup, but that is not to say it could not go the other way as well.
13. Minnesota Vikings – Week 5, home, Oct. 7
Minnesota is a tough team. Last year’s blowout championship game was less of a reflection of the talent on the Vikings and more about a team coming off an emotional roller coaster underestimating the Eagles and getting outplayed. This matchup should be closer than the last one with Kirk Cousins coming in to try and lift Minnesota’s offense into the elite category.
14. Los Angeles Rams – Week 15, away, Dec. 16
The Rams are a strong team on both offense and defense, and they have solidified the back end by trading for Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters. This makes them a large threat to the Eagles in their fight for supremacy in the NFC. In addition, Sean McVay is a great play-caller and elevates the whole offense. Who knows how good his offense could be now that he has Brandin Cooks and another full offseason of work with Jared Goff.
15. New Orleans Saints – Week 11, away, Nov. 18
The New Orleans Saints are perhaps the largest threat to Philadelphia in the NFC. It took a literal miracle to knock them out of the playoffs last year. The improvement their defense underwent from two years ago coming into last year was unprecedented. Plus, it should result in an even better defense this year as young talented players on the team gain experience. It seems like this could be one of the teams that give the Eagles some trouble.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars – Week 8, away, Oct. 28
Flying to London to play a game has a bad effect on a team’s passing offense. This is worrisome against a team with as fearsome a defense as the Jaguars have. Jacksonville is also accustomed to playing in London, they do it every year. The Philadelphia Eagles, on the other hand, have never played there.
Featured image by ABC News
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