The 2013 Philadelphia Eagles will look a whole lot different than the team that took the field in 2012.
After finishing 4-12 last season, longtime coach Andy Reid was fired—and later hired by the Kansas City Chiefs—and replaced by ex-Oregon coach Chip Kelly, who will bring his exciting, fast-paced spread offense to the NFL.
Reid's departure and Kelly's arrival will lead to big changes in Philly, especially on offense, but the defense will look dramatically different as well.
New defensive coordinator Bill Davis will institute a hybrid 3-4 scheme, while previous starters Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson were either cut or not re-signed this offseason.
To replace them, the Eagles were busy in free agency, signing Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher, Patrick Chung, Kenny Phillips, Isaac Sopoaga, Connor Barwin and Jason Phillips.
So, which teams will this new-look Eagles squad face in 2013? Let's break down the full 2013 schedule for the Birds, complete with dates and times.
|2013 Philadelphia Eagles Schedule|
|1||Mon, Sept. 9 ||@ Washington Redskins||7:10 p.m.||ESPN|
|2||Sept. 15 ||vs. San Diego Chargers||1 p.m.||FOX|
|3||Thurs, Sept. 22 ||vs. Kansas City Chiefs||8:25 p.m.||NFLN|
|4||Sept. 29||@ Denver Broncos||4:25 p.m.||CBS|
|5||Oct. 6||@ New York Giants||1 p.m.||FOX|
|6||Oct. 13||@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers||1 p.m.||FOX|
|7||Oct. 20||vs. Dallas Cowboys||1 p.m.||FOX|
|8||Oct. 27||vs. New York Giants||1 p.m.||FOX|
|9||Nov. 3||@ Oakland Raiders||4:05 p.m.||CBS|
|10||Nov. 10||@ Green Bay Packers||1 p.m.||FOX|
|11||Nov. 17||vs. Washington Redskins||1 p.m.||FOX|
|12||Nov. 24||BYE WEEK||N/A||N/A|
|13||Dec. 1||vs. Arizona Cardinals||1 p.m.||FOX|
|14||Dec. 8||vs. Detroit Lions||1 p.m.||FOX|
|15||Dec. 15||@ Minnesota Vikings||1 p.m.||FOX|
|16||Dec. 22 ||vs. Chicago Bears||1 p.m.||FOX|
|17||Dec. 29 ||@ Dallas Cowboys||1 p.m.||FOX|
Note: For a complete look at Philadelphia's 2013 schedule, check out NFL.com.
Obviously, the six games against NFC East opponents are always challenging. All four teams are bitter rivals, and those contests are always competitive, no matter where each team ends up in the standings.
Which team will be the toughest test for the Eagles this season?
Road games against the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings and Denver Broncos will be major challenges, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should be improved from last year. Despite traveling to face the Oakland Raiders and their rowdy crowd, the Eagles will certainly mark down that game as a potential win.
Games against the San Diego Chargers and Arizona Cardinals at home should be winnable, though contests against the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions and Kansas City Chiefs will be tests. Each team should be better than it was a year ago.
Still, this isn't a terribly brutal schedule, and it falls right in the middle of the pack in this year's strength of schedule rankings.
The Eagles only have five games against 2012 playoff teams, though four of them are on the road. Given this slate of games, the Eagles could feasibly finish 8-8.
Most Pivotal Matchup
Normally I would put one of the NFC East rivalry matchups in this slot, but we all know the most meaningful game for many of the Eagles' players and fans will be the one against Andy Reid and the Chiefs.
Reid spent 14 seasons in Philadelphia, finishing his tenure with a 130-93-1 record. Under Reid, the Eagles won the NFC East seven times, made the playoffs nine times, reached five NFC Championship games and reached one Super Bowl. It was the longest run of success in the history of the Eagles.
It will be a truly emotional afternoon when Reid returns to Philadelphia to coach against his former team, and you can bet both Reid and his former players still on the Eagles will badly want the win.
In a season where the Birds aren't expected to reach the playoffs, no game will be bigger.