The anticipation for the Eagles’ two rookie weapons (Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy) will have fans hungry for more each and every week they touch the ball. The question though is which games look the most promising?
Week 1 @ Carolina Panthers: For Maclin, this may be his first chance to dazzle fans with what he’s made of. Carolina’s secondary is generic at best besides the versatile cornerback Chris Gamble and other starting cornerback Richard Marshall. The offensive line may be thin for this game, so McNabb may want to fire quickly before he gets burned. Expect at best four catches for 60 yards.
For McCoy, I envisioned a hot start for him if his reps during the preseason went well. However, due to injuries on the Eagles’ front line combined with a game against a lethal run attack from Carolina, I don’t see much contribution from McCoy besides trips to the red zone (if the Eagles make it far).
Week 2 versus New Orleans Saints: This game may have the same turnout for both players. Maclin is facing a fragile secondary from the Saints. However, like the Panthers, a strong front seven will become a daunting challenge for McCoy.
Week 3 versus Kansas City Chiefs: McCoy finally steals the show in this game with at least 85 yards. On paper, the Chiefs have a strong presence with Zach Thomas, Mike Vrabel, and their two young defensive lineman from LSU (Tyson Jackson and Glenn Dorsey). However, I believe the Eagles turn the switch on and hit it in high gear come this game. They'll be healthier, which means McCoy may get more touches. Maclin lights it up for his first touchdown off a long pass by McNabb.
Week 5 versus Tampa Bay Bucs: Expect the offense to click once again coming off a bye week. Maclin might be pushed aside from Kevin Curtis and DeSean Jackson to match up well against Eagle killer Ronde Barber at corner. Yet McCoy breaks out possibly with his first 100-yard game with his first touchdown.
Week 6 @ Oakland Raiders: McCoy has his big chance to do some damage. He may break over 100 yards again if Brian Westbrook doesn't. Oakland's front line is paper-thin and a mix of washups. Maclin makes some noise, possibly with a touchdown. No high expectations from him in this one.
Week 7 @ Washington Redskins: The first divisional game will be a tough one. Washington may be a push around in the NFL, but not in this tight matchup. Andy Reid will want the veterans to take care of business in this game. If anything, Maclin might get involved in a trick play.
Week 8 versus NY Giants: Another divisional dog fight will have Maclin mostly warming the bench for the first few quarters. Expect it to get close, as Andy Reid will have a plan to do anything to win. Maclin shows up and might make a game-deciding catch (or drop).
Week 9 versus Dallas Cowboys: The third straight game against an NFC East foe. McCoy might get shut down for this game running-wise. Dallas has a lethal defense on paper, and it will show up to this battle. Maclin makes a few plays here and there, but don't expect anything big.
Week 10 @ San Diego Chargers: With or without Shawne Merriman, the Chargers still posess a formiddable matchup. Reid might go either way here. Light up with the passing game or go for a ground assault. Maclin or McCoy don't shine, but may get used of course.
Week 11 @ Chicago Bears: I don't see a great game running the ball (like last year's Bears game). Yet I do see Reid planning an aerial attack with Maclin being the focus. I believe this will be his highlight game. Mark your calendars. A gut feeling is telling me this that Maclin will score two touchdowns with over 120 yards.
Week 12 versus Washington Redskins: Same result as the first Redskins game in all likelihood. McCoy will touch the ball more than Westbrook may be the only difference.
Week 13 @ Atlanta Falcons: In a dome, McNabb will feel comfortable like in yearspast. He has a fun day with Maclin possibly. Expect over 100 yards and a touchdown. However, the Eagles may lose this game.
Week 14 @ New York Giants: It's December and it's in the Old Meadowlands for the final time (besides any playoff game). Like last year, the Eagles pound the ball with great runs by McCoy and Westbrook.
Week 15 versus San Francisco 49ers: One name stands out—Patrick Willis. He may be a man on a mission if McCoy is running. Look for Maclin to stand out, hopefully.
Week 16 versus Denver Broncos: One name stands out here—Brian Dawkins. Andy Reid will try to irk Dawkins by having an air attack. Maclin will be used, and what better way to electrify the offense by facing off against the vaunted Dawkins.
Week 17 @ Dallas Cowboys: This game might be meaningless if one team is out of the playoff hunt. It's unpredictable. In all likelihood, Maclin will the be starter left standing in this one.
Final Projections: Maclin; 41 receptions, 536 yards, 5 touchdowns.
McCoy; 155 carries, 704 yards, 6 touchdowns.