Breaking Down Philadelphia Eagles' Remaining Schedule
All but one of the remaining five teams (the Minnesota Vikings), have a record above .500, but the Eagles should be favored in the majority of the contests. The offense is one of the best in the NFL and the defense has allowed just 16.2 points per game in the last five games.
Barring any significant injuries, the Eagles can expect to finish strong. Here is a breakdown of the remaining teams on their schedule.
December 1: Cardinals at Eagles
The Arizona Cardinals present a very real threat of being a trap game for Philly, having won four straight and posting a respectable 7-4 record.
While Carson Palmer is having one of his worst seasons, with 16 touchdowns to 15 interceptions, he has posted a passer rating above 90 in the past four games.
The Eagles have one of the top five offenses in the NFL and they are coming off a bye week. That gives defensive coordinator Billy Davis an extra week to gameplan for a turnover-prone Palmer.
The Cardinals may have played the Eagles well in recent history, most notably their heartbreaking upset of Philly in the 2009 NFC Championship and the 27-6 loss last season. But that was in the "Andy Reid" era.
Chip Kelly's Eagles are a new team and a new culture.
This could be a sleeper game, but the Eagles have the advantage in having an extra week to prepare.
December 8: Lions at Eagles
The Detroit Lions will present a difficult challenge for the Eagles. Philly's biggest weakness is its secondary and the Lions have the best passing attack in the NFL by yardage.
The Eagles unfortunately don't have anyone who is capable of covering or even slowing down Calvin Johnson. To make matters worse, Detroit also has the fourth best run defense, which will limit LeSean McCoy's effectiveness.
Still, the Eagles have a chance in this game if they can take advantage of opportunities. They will get many this game, since the Lions are one of the more turnover-prone teams in the league. And the Lions have struggled against some very mediocre to poor teams this season, losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
This is a game that could go either way. It may come down to whichever team can better limit mistakes.
December 15: Eagles at Vikings
It's hard to see the Eagles losing this game against Minnesota, the Vikings should not even qualify as a trap game.
The Vikings have the 29th ranked defense and only the 22nd ranked offense. The Eagles are superior to them at almost every single position.
Adrian Peterson is having one of his least dominant seasons in recent memory. He has been held below 100 yards rushing seven times this season and under 70 yards four times. Seven times Peterson has been held under five yards per rush and five times he has been held under four yards per rush.
Without stable play at quarterback or any potency on defense, only a total collapse by Nick Floes (similar to his Dallas performance) and an injury to McCoy would lose this game.
December 22: Bears at Eagles
Despite being 6-5, the Chicago Bears are not having a good season.
They have suffered losses to some mediocre teams, such as Washington and the St. Louis Rams. Their defense, once one of the most feared in the NFL, is ranked a measly 22nd and their run defense is dead last in the league.
Still, the Bears will present a unique challenge. They have been blessed by strong quarterback play, by both Jay Cutler and Josh McCown. Their offense is underrated and the big bodied Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery will pose matchup problems for Philly's corners.
This game will almost certainly be a shootout. It will all come down to how well Nick Foles plays and whether Kelly calls the right plays.
December 29: Eagles at Cowboys
Ultimately, the season will likely come down to this final game. This will ultimately be an unofficial playoff game, with the winner winning the division and advancing to the postseason.
Last time the Eagles played Dallas, they held them to just 17 points. It was a game that may have gone differently if Philly had more competent quarterback play. But Tony Romo is having one of his finest seasons, he has already thrown 24 touchdowns to just seven interceptions.
Both teams have potent offenses, and the Eagles may have the slight disadvantage in that they are the away team.
How Nick Foles performs in this game may dictate how the franchise, the fanbase, and the coaching staff see him as a long-term option at quarterback.
Follow Yueh Ho on Twitter @YuehHo
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