Nobody will be throwing around terms like "Dream Team" in Philadelphia this year; that's for certain.
After an offseason last year that saw the team land players like Nnamdi Asomugha, Jason Babin, Cullen Jenkins, Vince Young, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Steve Smith, expectations were sky-high. But the Eagles started slow, never gelled and finished a disappointing 8-8.
This year should be different. With another year to come together as a team—and with a full offseason for last year's much-maligned defensive coordinator, Juan Castillo, to build a scheme suiting his players—the Eagles should be a far more dangerous squad in 2012.
If Michael Vick and the speedy offensive playmakers on Philly's offense can stay healthy, the Eagles will be a team to be reckoned with this season. It won't be easy—the schedule looks quite difficult, indeed—but the talent is there for a potential Super Bowl run.
Schedule According to NFL.com:
Week 1 9/9: Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns 1 p.m. EST, FOX
Week 2 9/16: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Baltimore Ravens 1 p.m. EST, CBS
Week 3 9/23: Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals 4:05 p.m. EST, FOX
Week 4 9/30: Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants 8:20 p.m. EST, NBC
Week 5 10/7: Philadelphia Eagles at Pittsburgh Steelers 1 p.m. EST, FOX
Week 6 10/14: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Detroit Lions 1 p.m. EST, FOX
Week 7 BYE
Week 8 10/28: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Atlanta Falcons 1 p.m. EST, FOX
Week 9 11/5: Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints 8:30 p.m. EST, ESPN
Week 10 11/11: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys 4:15 p.m. EST, FOX
Week 11 11/18: Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins 1 p.m. EST, FOX
Week 12 11/26: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Carolina Panthers 8:30 p.m. EST, ESPN
Week 13 12/2: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys 8:20 p.m. EST, NBC
Week 14 12/9: Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1 p.m. EST, FOX
Week 15 12/13: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Cincinnati Bengals 8:20 p.m. EST, NFL Network
Week 16 12/23: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Redskins 1 p.m. EST, FOX
Week 17 12/30: Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants 1 p.m. EST, FOX
According to TheRedZone.org, the Eagles have the sixth-most difficult schedule based on last year's results. The team's opponents last year were good for 132 wins last season.
That comes as little surprise—the Eagles already do battle in the tough NFC East, and they also have the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints and Detroit Lions to deal with.
With a few additions in the draft and a clean bill of health, the Eagles should be able to compete against any opponent they face. They'll need both—the schedule won't do them any favors.
Most Pivotal Matchup
Without question, it's the two games against the New York Giants in Week 17. While the Dallas Cowboys will be good, I'm not convinced they are a threat to win the NFC East next season.
But both the Giants and Eagles are a threat to take the NFC East, and the traditional rivalry will have a ton at stake next season. The Giants, of course, are the defending Super Bowl champions, and the Eagles have never missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons under coach Andy Reid.
Look for these squads to battle for NFC East supremacy once more next year.
Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets are growing a playoff beard.