It's not as great as the draft, the start of free agency, or any of the other landmark dates the NFL has throughout the calendar year, but it's all we've got until Thursday to hold us over: the 2010-2011 NFL schedule has been released.
More specifically, the Eagles' schedule is out and it's filled with interesting matchups from Week One to Week 17—which, for the third straight season, is against the Dallas Cowboys.
Week One will see the Eagles open up at Lincoln Financial Field against the Green Bay Packers, which will conjure up terrible memories for anyone who watched the Eagles fumble their way through a season opener against the Packers in 2007.
Hopefully things go differently this year since the Eagles' punt returner is no longer Greg Lewis, J.R. Reed, or anyone else who happened to muff a punt in that disaster of a game.
Then, of course, there's Week Four when Donovan McNabb will make his return to Philadelphia as a member of the Washington Redskins. Will he be booed, will he be cheered, or will there be a healthy mix of love-hate in the Linc?
I think McNabb will be cheered, but we won't delve too deeply into that; There's plenty of time to do that when the time comes.
The next notable game won't come until Week Nine, the week after the Eagles' bye, when they welcome the Indianapolis Colts.
The Colts are always a difficult team to play, but as we always talk about the week after a bye, Andy Reid has never lost following that bye week. There's no way to tell where both of these teams will be at the halfway point in the season, but it could be a pivotal turning point for one, if not both, franchises.
Then there's a hell-stretch for the Birds in the last five weeks of the season:
That is going to be, as I said, absolute hell for the Eagles. If they aren't at least 9-2 or 8-3 heading into that stretch, it is going to be very difficult for them to make the playoffs. There's a good chance they lose three or four of those final games, so coming in with anything less could knock them right out of the playoffs.
Those are the notable games, let's take a peek at the schedule in its entirety.
- Week 1: vs. Packers (4:15PM, FOX)
- Week 2: at Lions (1PM, FOX)
- Week 3: at Jaguars (4:05PM, FOX)
- Week 4: vs. Redskins (4:15PM, FOX)
- Week 5: at 49ers (8:20PM, NBC)
- Week 6: vs. Falcons (1PM, FOX)
- Week 7: at Titans (1PM, FOX)
- Week 8: BYE
- Week 9: vs. Colts (4:15PM, CBS)
- Week 10: at Redskins (8:30PM, ESPN)
- Week 11: vs. Giants (8:20, NBC)
- Week 12: at Bears (1PM, FOX)
- Week 13: vs. Texans (8:20, NFLN)
- Week 14: at Cowboys (8:20, NBC)
- Week 15: at Giants (1PM, FOX)
- Week 16: vs. Vikings (1PM, FOX)
- Week 17: vs. Cowboys (1PM, FOX)
It's going to be an interesting season, to say the least. Be on the lookout for a week-by-week breakdown sometime in early May once the dust from the draft settles.