The best sign that the NFL owns the sports world is the day the regular-season schedule is released. ESPN has a three-hour show discussing the schedule and the biggest games of the season. The NHL struggles to get people across the country to watch a playoff game that is no longer than two and a half hours but ESPN can get millions of people to watch a three-hour show just about the NFL schedule.
The Philadelphia Eagles lucked out by finishing second in the NFC East. They miss out on the Green Bay Packers, the San Francisco 49ers and the Chicago Bears who seem to have the Eagles number lately. Instead the Eagles NFC opponents will be the entire NFC South along with the Detroit Lions and the Arizona Cardinals.
The Eagles AFC opponents, all from the North, are the Baltimore Ravens, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns. The last time the Eagles played the AFC North, in 2008, they beat the Steelers, got blown out by the Ravens, edged the Browns and tied the Bengals.
This time around the North division is even stronger. Three of the four teams made the playoffs last season with the Browns the lone team to miss the playoffs, who have two first-round picks to get better this year.
The Eagles are in prime position to win 12 or 13 games this season. That may sound insane for most teams that missed the playoffs last season, but the Eagles showed in the final four weeks just how good they are capable of playing.
DeSean Jackson is happy, Micheal Vick is healthy and the offensive line should be even better this season with a full year under Howard Mudd. Even without Jason Peters, this should be an elite group. The defense should also be better with an elite middle linebacker, DeMeco Ryans, and a more experienced Juan Castillo.