A year ago, expectations for the Eagles were cautiously optimistic. Quarterback Carson Wentz was entering his second season in the NFL and the Eagles had some intriguing pieces along the roster. The Eagles, especially coach Doug Pederson, blew all expectations out of the water on the way to a No. 1 seed and, eventually, Super Bowl victory, the first in franchise history.
Now, throw caution in the wind.
This Eagles team is seriously good enough to win every one of its games in 2018. Of course, a lot of luck (and health) goes into that even being a discussion, but this team has the construction and capability of making that possibility a reality on its path to a second straight Super Bowl.
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Can the Eagles actually do it, go 16-0?
The NFL regular season schedule was released on Thursday night. Here’s a week-by-week look at how the Eagles might do, with predictions for each game in their 2018 season.
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WEEK 1: HOME VS ATLANTA FALCONS (THURS, SEP 6, 8:20 PM)
The biggest question heading into this game will be whether quarterback Carson Wentz (knee) or receiver Alshon Jeffery (shoulder) are healthy enough to suit up. With the game coming on a Thursday night, with the presence of Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles still on the roster — as of now — if Wentz isn’t yet 100 percent, the Eagles might be fine anyway. The Falcons are talented, but not quite at the Eagles’ level. This one’s a WIN.
WEEK 2: VS TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (SUN, SEP 16, 1 P.M.)
The Buccaneers were the trendy pick to be a break-out team in 2017. Instead they were a colossal failure. Former No. 1 pick Jameis Winston seemed to fade at quarterback and the Buccaneers biggest off-season additions included two players the Eagles released (DE Vinny Curry) and simply didn’t want to pay (DT Beau Allen), opting instead to sign a 34-year old coming off a season-ending injury (Haloti Ngata). The Buccaneers have elite receiving talent, but not enough elsewhere. Easy WIN for the Eagles, even on the road.
WEEK 3: VS INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (SUN, SEPT 23, 1 P.M.)
With or without Andrew Luck at quarterback, the Colts are bad and continue to do a poor job of bringing in talent to build the roster, either on offense or defense. This one’s a blowout WIN for the Eagles.
WEEK 4: VS TENNESSEE TITANS (SUN, SEPT 30, 1 P.M.)
The Titans are an intriguing team, coming off a playoff berth, 9-7 record with a talented (though inconsistent) quarterback in Marcus Mariota and a solid defense. They also hired a first-time head coach (Mike Vrabel) and have a lot of roster holes heading into the draft. Eagles WIN.
WEEK 5: HOME VS MINNESOTA VIKINGS (SUN, OCT 7, 4:25 P.M.)
This will be the Eagles’ first true test of the season, facing an opponent they just throttled in the NFC Championship Game, surely seeking revenge with a better quarterback (Kirk Cousins) and an offensive coordinator well-familiar with the Eagles’ tendencies (ex-QB coach John DeFilippo, hired as Minnesota’s offensive coordinator). The game is also in Philadelphia, though, and Carson Wentz didn’t play this game last time. Eagles WIN a close one.
WEEK 6: VS GIANTS (THURS, OCT 11, 8:20 P.M.)
The Giants are going to be (very) bad this season if Eli Manning remains at quarterback, but this also has the feel of a trap game of sorts, coming just four days after the Vikings game that could surely take a physical toll. This will be closer than it maybe should be, but Eagles still WIN.
WEEK 7 VS CAROLINA PANTHERS (SUN, OCT 21, 1 P.M.)
The Eagles win on the road against the Panthers last year was the first true signature win of the season over a playoff team. Has Carolina improved its roster from last year? Not really. Cam Newton is good enough to win for the Panthers on any given Sunday, it just won’t happen on this one. Eagles WIN.
WEEK 8: VS JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (LONDON, OCT 28, 9:30 AM)
This game is going to be extremely difficult. It’s a long trip to London, the Jaguars have been there and have perhaps the most talented defense in the NFL. Their offense, outside of running back Leonard Fournette, leaves much to be desired still, especially with a revamped receiving corps. It won’t be easy, but the Eagles WIN this one and head into the bye week at 8-0.
WEEK 9: BYE WEEK
A bye week at the exact mid-way point of the season couldn’t be more well-placed. After a trip to London, it’s a perfect time to adjust back to things stateside and heal up for the season’s second half.
WEEK 10: HOME VS DALLAS COWBOYS (SUN, NOV 11, 8:20 P.M.)
The Cowboys, pre-draft, are quite clearly not as talented as they were in 2017, though running back Ezekiel Elliott will be able to play every game this season, which should be a big difference-maker. Still, Dallas’ roster is uninspiring, and this one is in Philadelphia. Eagles WIN.
WEEK 11: VS NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (SUN, NOV 18, 1 P.M.)
Eagles-Saints games tend to be good ones — see: 2013 playoffs — and New Orleans might be one of the toughest match-ups on this schedule. The Saints have one of the most raucous crowds in the NFL, an offense filled with weapons and a much-improved defense from years past. The one wildcard will be if quarterback Drew Brees shows any signs of attrition. Short of that, this looks like the spot where the Eagles’ dreams of 16-0 fall short. It’s a LOSS.
WEEK 12: HOME VS GIANTS (SUN, NOV 25, 1 P.M.)
Eagles-Giants, even in off years for either team, tend to battle each other in the regular season. Not this time. This one’s a blowout. WIN.
WEEK 13: HOME VS WASHINGTON (MON, DEC 3, 8:15 P.M)
The Eagles’ lone Monday Night Football game of the season, and it’s at home. The Redskins might be competitive this season, though I’m not sure if Alex Smith really moves the needle compared to Kirk Cousins. Eagles WIN.
WEEK 14: VS DALLAS COWBOYS (SUN, DEC 9, 4:25 P.M.)
This one will be tough. It will be close. At this point, though, Carson Wentz will be in the midst of an MVP campaign, and the Cowboys won’t get in the way of his pursuit. The Eagles WIN as Wentz throws for 400 yards and three touchdowns.
WEEK 15: VS LOS ANGELES RAMS (SUN, DEC 16, 8:20 P.M.)
The Eagles pulled off this difficult cross-country trip last year and still pulled out a thrilling win, 43-35. The Rams have reloaded to try and dethrone the Eagles, adding to an already star-studded roster by bringing in Ndamukong Suh, Brandin Cooks, Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib, and that’s just before the draft. That’s a volatile locker room that might fall apart, but the Eagles don’t pull off the cross country victory this time in a LOSS.
WEEK 16: VS HOUSTON TEXANS (SUN, DEC 23, 1 P.M.)
The Texans were brutally impacted by injuries last season and finished 4-12, but when healthy this roster has a case for being the most talented group in the league. Assuming health, this will be a difficult one and at this point, the Eagles might have already locked up homefield advantage in the playoffs, or at least an NFC East division title. It’s a second straight LOSS for the Eagles.
WEEK 17: VS WASHINGTON (SUN, DEC 30, 1 P.M.)
The No. 1 seed could be on the line in this one, but even on the road, the Eagles should close out the season fine. There’s some potential, if the Eagles have a bye in the playoffs locked up, for resting some of the starters to prepare for the postseason. Whether that happens or not, the Eagles WIN anyway.
FINAL RECORD: 13-3
While the Eagles’ schedule is far from easy, if they can snag a few difficult road wins — namely, at New Orleans and Los Angeles — this team has a real shot at winning 14, 15 or, heck, 16 games this season. Of course, that’s health dependent — it always is — but the Eagles have the best combination of coaching ability, roster talent and chemistry in the NFL.