One of the fun offseason rituals for a football fan is the "Ws and Ls" game. It typically starts the day the schedule is revealed and is tweaked throughout training camp and preseason.
It's pretty simple. Pull out the schedule. Grab a pen. Write "W" or "L" next to the games on the schedule.
This early in the year, it is as much about the team's talent as it is about the way the schedule lays out and a few general assumptions made about the team in general.
Being An Elitist
On most "Power Rankings" or early prediction sheets, the Eagles show up as a top tier team in the NFL. There are also a handful of teams that are generally considered to be bottom tier teams which the NFL's elite automatically get credited with a "W" when playing the game.
2009 Philadelphia Eagles (2-0)
Time Zone Troubles
And West Coast teams delivered a 3-12 record when travelling to the East Coast.
Personally, I don't remember such travel troubling the dominant 49ers teams of the '80s and '90s but the Eagles do draw the 49ers at home this year in Week 15 and this 49ers team doesn't have Joe Montana, Jerry Rice or Steve Young. Chalk this one up as a win for the Eagles, too.
2009 Philadelphia Eagles (3-0)
Last year, the Eagles finished with a 2-4 record in the NFC East. With only a losing record against the Giants (9-11) during his tenure, the Eagles have only been swept seven times in their 30 home-and-home series against the Giants, Cowboys and Redskins.
With Philadelphia drawing Dallas on the road in December (a bad month for Tony Romo to play football), the Eagles get a sweep over the Cowboys for now and home-and-home splits with the Redskins and Giants.
Remember, we're talking general assumptions here.
2009 Philadelphia Eagles (7-2)
On The Road Again
One of the tougher things to do in football is win back-to-back road games. The Eagles are unfortunate enough to play back-to-back road games three times in 2009.
With Ws and Ls penciled in for Week Six (at Oakland) and Week Seven (at Washington), the other two back-to-back road games become the focus.
In Week 10 and 11, the Eagles travel to San Diego and Chicago. Due to Reid's dominance of current NFC North teams (13-3), the L should land in Week 10 and the Eagles should bounce back and win the Bears game.
Also, there's already an L against the Giants when they travel to New York in Week 14 after they play the Falcons in Atlanta in Week 13. For now, let's credit them with a win against the Falcons for another split.
2009 Philadelphia Eagles (9-3)
Let's Not Forget Opening Week
How could I forget Week One? Well, maybe because the Eagles haven't been great in Week One of the Reid Era.
In the last 10 years, the Eagles have not won in Week One in back-to-back seasons. They won last year so let's give them a loss this year at Carolina.
2009 Philadelphia Eagles (9-4)
Bye, Bye Birdies
There's nothing automatic in football. That's why they play the games.
There is something pretty close to it, though. The Eagles are a perfect 10-0 in the Reid Era following a bye week.
Until there's a reversal of fortune here, sorry Tampa Bay, Eagles win in Week Four.
2009 Philadelphia Eagles (10-4)
Every year there is that game on the schedule that you mark down as a "W" that ultimately becomes an "L". With two games remaining, there's the New Orleans game in Week Two and Denver game in Week 16.
The Denver game is a home game for the Eagles and sandwiched in between two division games for the Broncos. It's hard to picture the Broncos coming into Philly and winning but it will be the return of Brian Dawkins to Lincoln Financial Field. So, I wouldn't rule it out.
For that very reason, that's not the loss that would surprise me. Hence, they get a "W" there. (Confused yet?)
What would be more shocking than a team often tapped as the team-to-beat in the NFC losing their opening two games? Maybe the Eagles tying the 1-8 Cincinnati Bengals in Week Nine of the 2008 season? Or starting out 0-2 in the 2007 season? Or losing to the 2-7 Tennessee Titans in 2006 despite having a winning record at the time?
You get the drift. Chalk up a loss in Week Two to the Saints.
2009 Philadelphia Eagles (11-5)
Book Me A Flight To Vegas
What do we know? The Eagles are expected to be good. Like every schedule, this year's has its twists that generally help or hurt a team no matter how good or bad they are. (Unless you are last year's Lions or 2007's Patriots, of course.)
Right now, Philadelphia's over/under is 9.5. With a 1.5 win cushion based on this early "Ws and Ls" exercise, I'm ready to put a few bucks on this year's Eagles to surpass the 9.5 win threshold.
Who's with me? Anybody up for a trip to Vegas?