*Photo Credit: RentPhilly.com
2016 Record: 7-9
NFL Draft: Rd 1- CB, Derek Barnett; Rd 2- CB, Sidney Jones; Rd 3- CB, Rasul Douglas; Rd 4- WR, Mack Hollins; Rd 4- RB, Donnel Pumphrey; Rd 5- WR, Shelton Gibson; Rd 5- S, Nate Gerry; Rd 6- DT, Elijah Qualls
Pitt Players: None
2016 marked the Philadelphia Eagles’ first season with Doug Pederson as head coach, and overall it was a relatively successful year. After the dumpster fire that was 2015, the Eagles fired Chip Kelly (who lost his job after the 2016 season as well after one season in San Francisco). Now, a year after Pederson’s hiring, the Eagles look ready to make strides at becoming a more competitive team.
Carson Wentz is entering his sophomore NFL season, and he is already looking like a far better quarterback than the guy who was picked in front of him, Jared Goff (Rams). Wentz started all last season and improved throughout the year, and this year he has a far better receiving core, aided by the arrival of former Bears’ receiver Alshon Jeffery. To help Wentz even more, the Eagles drafted two wide receivers, and running back Donnel Pumphrey from San Diego State University. I think this offense has the potential to be one of the better groups in the league by the end of this year, and it will definitely be the strength of this team.
The Eagles’ defense looks like they’ll be an average group this year. There are no real standouts in this group besides Fletcher Cox, but the group as a whole is pretty solid. The team went heavy on defense in this year’s draft, dedicating five of their eight picks to that side of the ball. Like the offense, I expect this group to improve over the course of the season, but I’m not expecting as much from them.
Game by Game Predictions:
Week 1: Away at the Washington Redskins
Week 1 divisional games can be a tough way to begin the season. Right out of the gates the Eagles have an important game, and to me it is a must win. Later on in the year, they play the Cowboys and Giants, the two best teams in the NFC East, so they have to beat the Redskins to have a shot at contention. That said, I think the Redskins are a mess, and the Eagles have too many weapons for their defense to keep up with.
Predicted Score: 24-21 Eagles (Current Record: 1-0)
Week 2: Away at the Kansas City Chiefs
This game will prove to be a tough one, as the Eagles play the Kansas City Chiefs with their former coach, Andy Reid, at the helm. The Chiefs are a better team in every way, so I expect the Eagles to lose by at least ten points here.
Predicted Score: 28-17 Chiefs (Current Record: 1-1)
Week 3: Home vs the New York Giants
Another important early-season divisional game here for the Eagles, this time against the Giants. This one is at home, so you know the crowd is gonna be rowdy and loud all day. I think the Giants are a better overall team than Philly, but the Eagles beat this team in Philadelphia last year. New York always seems to find it hard to win in Philadelphia, and I think that trend is going to continue in Week 3.
Predicted Score: 27-24 Eagles (Current Record: 2-1)
Week 4: Away at the Los Angeles Chargers
The Eagles will play their third away game in four weeks when they visit the Chargers, which is always a tough way to begin the season. I think this will be a fun matchup due to the offenses involved, so I think this has potential to be a shootout. Philip Rivers is a better quarterback than Carson Wentz, but I think the Eagles have a better overall offense. The Eagles take this one in a close game.
Predicted Score: 31-27 Eagles (Current Record: 3-1)
Week 5: Home vs the Arizona Cardinals
Like I said in my column about the Texans, I don’t really know who the Cardinals are this year. However, I am betting that the Cardinals are going to be a better team than they were last year, and David Johnson is unreal. I think the Cardinals will win this one handily.
Predicted Score: 21-10 Cardinals (Current Record: 3-2)
Week 6: Away at the Carolina Panthers
I think this one could get ugly. The Panthers are just a better team than the Eagles, and I think they’re going to return to form this year. This defense won’t be able to stop an offense lead by Cam Newton, Christian McCaffrey, and Kelvin Benjamin. On the other side, I can’t see the Eagles offense causing damage to a Luke Kuechly lead defense. A humbling Week 6 loss for the Eagles here on Thursday Night.
Predicted Score: 21-7 Panthers (Current Record: 3-3)
Week 7: Home vs the Washington Redskins
This Monday Night matchup against the Redskins is bound to be a fun one, especially with the Redskins looking to avenge their Week 1 loss at home. That said, I still think the Redskins aren’t as good a team as the Eagles, so I’m going to give Philly the win in a close one.
Predicted Score: 13-10 Eagles (Current Record 4-3)
Week 8: Home vs the San Francisco 49ers
This one isn’t going to be close. Eagles get a comfortable win here.
Predicted Score: 28-10 Eagles (Current Record: 5-3)
Week 9: Home vs the Denver Broncos
On the Locker Room Podcast Episode 13, I called this one for the Broncos. I think the Broncos defense is going to rank in the top three in the league this year. Denver’s defensive backfield will shut down this Eagles’ pass attack, and I don’t expect their running game to get going, either. Denver wins this one with comfort.
Predicted Score: 17-3 Broncos (Current Record: 5-4)
Week 10: Bye-Week
As I said last time, I like these late bye-weeks. I think this will be incredibly helpful for the Eagles heading into a tumultuous second half of the year.
Current Predicted Record: 5-4
Week 11: Away at the Dallas Cowboys
Right off their bye-week the Eagles fly to Dallas for a Sunday Night matchup against their bitter rivals. I think this will be a fun game to watch, especially since both of these offenses are so good. That said, the Cowboys are a better team than the Eagles and will win this game comfortably.
Predicted Score: 28-21 Cowboys (Current Record: 5-5)
Week 12: Home vs the Chicago Bears
As we all agreed on the Locker Room Podcast Episode 10, the Bears are in a race to the bottom with the New York Jets this year. The Eagles will recover from two straight losses with a big win over the Bears.
Predicted Score: 28-7 Eagles (Current Record: 6-5)
Week 13: Away at the Seattle Seahawks
I said last time that I’m not afraid of the Seahawks, but that’s when I was talking about the Texans. The Eagles SHOULD be afraid of the Seahawks, especially since they have to fly all the way to Seattle for this prime time game. The Texans are a better team than the Eagles, so they shouldn’t go to Seattle with the same type of confidence that Houston should. The Seahawks win this one with ease.
Predicted Score: 24-14 Seahawks (Current Record: 6-6)
Week 14: Away at the Los Angeles Rams
Week 14 marks the second time the Eagles will visit LA this year, but instead they play the Rams. This game marks the first time that the top two 2016 NFL Drafts Picks, Goff and Wentz, will play one another. The Rams are not a good team, but expect Pitt man Aaron Donald to hurt the Eagles’ run game. That said, the Eagles are going to win big in LA against a sad(!) Rams team.
Predicted Score: 35-14 Eagles (Current Record: 7-6)
Week 15: Away at the New York Giants
In a rematch of their Week 3 loss, the Giants will look to win this one on their way to the playoffs. This one is going to be close, but I think the Giants sneak out with a win in OT.
Predicted Score: 17-14 (OT) Giants (Current Record: 7-7)
Week 16: Home vs the Oakland Raiders
A tough stretch to end the season here for the Eagles. In the last three weeks of their season, the Eagles will play the Giants, Raiders, and Cowboys, all of whom made the playoffs last season. In a late season Monday Night matchup, I see no way the Eagles beat the Raiders. To put it simply, the Raiders are a surging, young team that ranks within the top 10 teams in the league. The Eagles? Mid-tier at best. Philly gets eliminated from playoff contention here.
Predicted Score: 28-10 Raiders (Current Record: 7-8)
Week 17: Home vs the Dallas Cowboys
The outcome of this games depends on the Cowboys’ record at this point. If Dallas and New York are vying for the top spot in the NFC East, I would expect the Cowboys to play starters. If either New York or Dallas have secured the division, expect backups. I think the Giants will win the NFC East this year, but I expect that race will come down to the wire. Too bad the two top teams in this division won’t play each other here. All that said, since I’m assuming the Cowboys play their starters, I see the Eagles losing.
Predicted Score: 14-10 Cowboys (Current Record: 7-9)
The Philadelphia Eagles are an up-and-coming team. They made good moves this offseason, but it won’t be enough for their tough schedule. They have difficult road stretches this year, and playing in Arrowhead Stadium, CenturyLink Stadium, and Bank of America Field are demanding tasks for this team. Out of the 13 teams they play, I can see 8 of those teams being playoff contenders this year (Raiders, Broncos, Cowboys, Giants, Cardinals, Panthers, Chiefs, and Seahawks). That said, they round out the year just one game under .500 and have a lot to build on.
Predicted Record: 7-9