The Philadelphia Eagles ended a two-year playoff drought during the 2013 campaign, reaching the Wild Card Round before faltering to the New Orleans Saints. The team will be looking to build on that progress in 2014 by not only making it back to the postseason, but also winning a contest while there for the first time since 2008.
With the release of the 2014 NFL schedule, Eagles fans finally have a road map for their team’s path back to the playoffs. The team has a somewhat difficult journey ahead, as there are many strong opponents mixed in with a few winnable matchups.
Keep reading for a complete look at Philadelphia’s schedule for the upcoming campaign, which includes dates, times and television information, plus an in-depth breakdown of the team’s matchups.
|1||Sept. 7||Jaguars||1 p.m.||CBS|
|2||Sept. 15||Colts||8:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|3||Sept. 21||Redskins||1 p.m.||Fox|
|4||Sept. 28||49ers||4:25 p.m.||Fox|
|5||Oct. 5||Rams||1 p.m.||Fox|
|6||Oct. 12||Giants||8:30 p.m.||NBC|
|8||Oct. 26||Cardinals||4:05 p.m.||Fox|
|9||Nov. 2||Texans||1 p.m.||Fox|
|10||Nov. 10||Panthers||8:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|11||Nov. 16||Packers||1 p.m.||Fox|
|12||Nov. 23||Titans||1 p.m.||CBS|
|13||Nov. 27||Cowboys||4:30 p.m.||Fox|
|14||Dec. 7||Seahawks||4:25 p.m.||Fox|
|15||Dec. 14||Cowboys||8:30 p.m.||NBC|
|16||Dec. 20||Redskins||4:30 p.m.||CBS and NFL Network|
|17||Dec. 28||Giants||1 p.m.||Fox|
According to ESPN, the Eagles have the 13th-easiest schedule in the league for the upcoming season, based on the winning percentages of opponents from the 2013 campaign.
While the team will play its usual slate of NFC East matchups, it has some intriguing battles ahead of it against non-division foes too.
Still, Philadelphia’s battles against the Washington Redskins figure to have some added excitement.
Philly controversially cut star wide receiver DeSean Jackson in late March, and Jackson subsequently signed with the Redskins shortly after. The wideout undoubtedly has the two matchups against his former team circled on the calendar, and fans should as well, as they will be extremely interesting and emotional to watch.
Meanwhile, ESPN's Kevin Negandhi pointed out that the underrated losses of Michael Vick and Jason Avant may have a big impact in terms of leadership in the locker room:
Don't disregard the impact of the Eagles parting ways with leadership voices like Vick and Avant this offseason..— Kevin Negandhi (@KNegandhiESPN) March 28, 2014
However, there will be plenty of new faces on the gridiron to help ease the loss of Jackson. Former Saints running back Darren Sproles has joined the mix and will be a dangerous weapon catching passes out of the backfield, while Malcolm Jenkins fills a big hole at the safety spot.
Head coach Chip Kelly spoke about his strategy for building the team to succeed this coming season, as per Chris McPherson of the franchise’s official website: “We’re trying to put the best football team together. You need to be built for the long haul. You better have a lot of tools in your toolbox because you’re going to see a lot of different looks.”
The Eagles feature a dynamic running game, but their offense will rely on the development of Nick Foles under center. Foles had a tremendous season last year, and he'll need to continue his consistent play for Philadelphia to continue improving.
The Eagles will play host to a tough playoff team in the Carolina Panthers and the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks, who have improved their capability of winning on the road dramatically over the past two seasons.
There are also showdowns at Lincoln Financial Field against the St. Louis Rams, Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars, which likely aren’t going to be as easy as they may seem on paper. The Rams have serious postseason aspirations in 2014, while the Titans and Jaguars could become tough to beat depending on how their respective drafts and offseason acquisitions pan out.
It does not get any easier for the Eagles when they leave the City of Brotherly Love. They must fly into the desert to take on the Arizona Cardinals, a 10-win squad in 2013 that will be playing with a chip on its shoulder after missing the playoffs.
Then there are trips to take on the San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts, three teams that made the playoffs last year and have been consistently great over the past few years—especially at home.
How many wins will the Eagles have in 2014?
The Houston Texans also represent a potential roadblock, as the team is looking to bounce back from a dismal season by returning to playoff form, and it certainly possesses the ability to do so.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Eagles fare this coming campaign, especially after losing one of their best players in the offseason. They still have plenty of talented stars all along the roster and project to have consistent quarterback play now that Foles has solidified his status as a starter.
It isn’t unreasonable to predict Philadelphia to once again win 10 games and be right in the thick of the hunt for a second straight NFC East crown. Barring any serious injury or unforeseen circumstances, the Eagles will be a contender in 2014.
Prediction: Eagles finish 10-6.