Philadelphia Eagles 2011 Schedule: Way Too Early Game-by-Game Predictions
The National Football League released its official 2011 schedule at 7:00 p.m. today, despite the lockout that threatens to delay or even destroy the 2011 season.
Although it's way too early to make truly accurate predictions, I am going to analyze the schedule for the Philadelphia Eagles.
I will include a final game prediction and the updated record as I go through each week.
Week 1: Sunday, September 11, at St. Louis, 1:00
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The Rams are coached by Steve Spagnuolo, who served as a defensive coach on the Eagles from 1999 to 2007. It will be interesting to see how well Spagnuolo's prior knowledge of the Eagles helps in this matchup, as well as whether or not Spagnuolo's defense can stop Michael Vick.
The Eagles are the better team, although the Rams are up and coming. It won't be 38-3 like the Eagles' season-opening victory against the Rams in 2008, but Philly will win.
Eagles 27, Rams 17
Week 2: Sunday, September 18, at Atlanta, 8:20
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This game is highlighted by one thing: Quarterback Michael Vick returns to Atlanta as a starter for the first time since he left the team following the 2006 season.
Yes, the Eagles did play at Atlanta late in the 2009 season, and Vick contributed two touchdowns (one passing, one rushing), but he didn't start and he really didn't have any impact on the game.
He missed the Eagles' game against the Falcons in 2010, which was played in Philadelphia.
Throughout Andy Reid's tenure as head coach, the Eagles have always had the Falcons' number, winning eight of nine contests, including twice in the postseason.
But the Falcons game is the Eagles' second straight game to begin the season on the road. They'll probably suffer a costly injury in Week 1 and it'll affect them against Matt Ryan and the Falcons in Week 2.
Falcons 27, Eagles 17
Week 3: Sunday, September 25, vs. New York Giants, 1:00
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The last time the Eagles played the Giants, they pulled off the most incredible regular season win in franchise history. They've won six straight against the G-Men, including the 2008 divisional playoff game on the road.
It will be interesting to see how this game plays out.
I don't think the Eagles will sweep the Giants next season, but since they're the home team here, I'll go with them.
Eagles 23, Giants 20
Week 4: Sunday, October 2, vs. San Francisco, 1:00
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The Niners will have a new head coach next season. Jim Harbaugh, the brother of former Eagles special teams coordinator and current Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, will take over for an NFC West team that should have easily won the division last year.
The 49ers need to figure out their quarterback situation, and until they do, they won't be a scary football team, especially against a defense that grabs interceptions like the Eagles.
Eagles 34, 49ers 17
Week 5: Sunday, October 9, at Buffalo, 1:00
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This one has upset written all over it. The Eagles are clearly the better team and the Bills are, well, they're the Bills.
Ryan Fitzpatrick could be the quarterback, one year older and more talented, and who knows about CJ Spiller. He could be the next Jamaal Charles.
But let's be realistic. The Bills are still the Bills. They might make it close, but they'll lose.
Eagles 27, Bills 20
Week 6: Sunday, October 16, at Washington, 1:00
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One of the biggest storylines of the offseason should be whether or not Donovan McNabb returns to the Washington Redskins, but surprisingly the McNabb saga isn't receiving as much hype as I've expected.
I don't think he'll return. However, I'm not sure who the Redskins will draft at quarterback (or sign).
I'll say one thing though. Almost every year, the Eagles lose a game to the inferior Washington Redskins. 2011 won't be any different.
Redskins 23, Eagles 21
Week 7: Bye
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Andy Reid's bunch will enter the bye week with a 4-2 record, but annoyed at blowing an easy win against the Redskins.
They'll probably be banged up also, as they always are.
The bye week comes at a convenient time in the 2011 season.
Week 8: Sunday, October 30, Dallas, 8:20
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Tony Romo had a lot of time to work on his golf swing last year due to an injured clavicle. (Actually it's hard to hit a golf ball with a broken clavicle. I admit that I just liked the picture.)
Anyway, the Eagles will face Romo for the first time since 2009, when the Cowboys handed the Eagles three embarrassing losses.
But Andy Reid has never lost after the bye week. He's 12-0.
Make that 13-0, as the fired-up Eagles pound on the 'Boys.
Eagles 44, Cowboys 24
Week 9: Monday, November 7, Chicago, 8:30
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The Eagles have played the Bears in each of the last four seasons. Each one has been extremely close, as the Birds lost 19-16 and 24-20, won 24-20, and lost 31-26.
This one will be just as close, as last year's second-best NFC team will give the Eagles a heck of a fight in Philadelphia.
In the end, the Eagles win on David Akers' first-ever come-from-behind walk-off field goal (a 49-yarder).
Eagles 20, Bears 18
Week 10: Sunday, November 13, Arizona, 1:00
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The last time the Eagles played the Cardinals, it was on Thanksgiving night. Quarterback Donovan McNabb had just been benched the week before in a brutal 36-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens and the Eagles, as well as McNabb, didn't know what would happen with the quarterback situation for the rest of 2008 (McNabb threw four touchdowns and the Eagles throttled the Cardinals 48-20).
The Cardinals are a decent football team, but until they figure out what to do with their quarterback situation, they're not going to scare a team like the Eagles, who are better offensively and defensively.
Eagles 17, Cardinals 10
Week 11: Sunday, November 20, at New York Giants, 8:20
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Including the 2011 season, the Eagles will have played 14 of their last 29 November games on prime-time television.
And regardless of what month it is, the Eagles always seem to play the Giants in prime-time football.
The Eagles beat the Giants 27-17 on Sunday Night Football in 2010. They won a shootout 45-38 on Monday Night Football in 2009. They lost a heartbreaker, 36-31, on Sunday Night Football in 2008. And they lost a blowout, 16-3, on Sunday Night Football in 2007. You have to go back to 2006 to find the last time the Eagles didn't play the Giants on prime-time at least once.
By the way, the seven-game winning streak against the Giants stops here. Warning: It got ugly.
Giants 38, Eagles 14
Week 12: Sunday, November 27, New England, 4:15
The Eagles will never beat Tom Brady and the Patriots. The last time the two teams met, the 5-5 Eagles, with backup quarterback AJ Feeley starting, lost 31-28 to the soon-to-be 16-0 Patriots on Sunday Night Football. Before that, it was Super Bowl XXXIX. And there was a 31-10 blowout in 2003.
Reid isn't going to outcoach Belichick. And Brady isn't going to be scared of the Eagles' pass defense which allowed 31 passing touchdowns in 2010.
Oh, and look for Woodhead and Green-Ellis to have a big day as well.
Patriots 34, Eagles 13
Week 13: Thursday, December 1, at Seattle, 8:20
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Nobody wants to have to play at Qwest field. Just ask the New Orleans Saints.
But following the Eagles' most brutal two-game stretch since the first two weeks of the 2003 season, they won't care who they're playing or where the game is.
Or if they have to play on half a week's rest.
They're going to win.
Eagles 31, Seahawks 21
Week 14: Sunday, December 11, at Miami, 4:15
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At 8-4, the Eagles will be right in the thick of the playoff hunt. This will be their last reasonably easy contest of the season.
They'll handle the Dolphins.
But things will get tougher in the next few weeks.
Eagles 25, Dolphins 15
Week 15: Sunday, December 18, New York Jets, 4:15
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Don't get used to that statistic, because it won't last.
Jets 23, Eagles 3
Week 16: Saturday, December 24, at Dallas, 4:15
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With a 9-5 record, this game will probably make or break the playoff chances for the Philadelphia Eagles. Nobody would like to hurt those chances more than the Dallas Cowboys, who will likely be right in the middle of the hunt themselves.
And they'll succeed, winning a shootout and putting a big blow in the Eagles' once-bright playoff hopes.
Cowboys 38, Eagles 34
Week 17: Sunday, January 1, Washington, 1:00
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The last time the Eagles played the Redskins in the season finale, it was in 2005 and the 9-6 Redskins needed a victory to clinch a playoff spot. They got it, winning 31-20.
The Eagles will likely need to win this game to clinch a playoff spot.
It won't be 44-6, but the Eagles will avenge their defeat from a few months ago. Expect a solid victory, putting the Eagles at 10-6 for the season.
Eagles 31, Redskins 17
Postseason Week 1: Saturday/Sunday, January 7/8, at New York Giants
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I won't beat around the bush. I think the Eagles will qualify for the postseason as the first Wild Card team, and the fifth overall seed in the NFC playoffs. The Giants will finish 11-5 and win the division.
And they'll knock the Eagles out of the playoffs in dramatic fashion, avenging postseason losses to the Eagles in 2008 and 2006.
For the second time in his career, Eli Manning will win a game in the postseason. (He did win four games in the 2007 postseason but that's the only postseason where he's ever won a game.)
The Giants will advance to the NFC divisional playoffs against the top-seeded Green Bay Packers, a rematch of the 2007 NFC championship game.
Giants 23, Eagles 17 OT
* Author's note: Look for a revised article before the season starts.