2011 NFL Schedule: Breaking Down the Philadelphia Eagles 2011 Opponents
The NFL released the full 2011 NFL Schedule on Wednesday, which is always a cause for great excitement. For the moment, we will leave aside the fact that the NFL announcing its 2011 schedule is a lot like the captain of the Titanic announcing an estimated time of arrival as the water rushes in around him.
Let's dive right in and have a look at how the season breaks down.
Week 1: @ St. Louis Rams
With the St. Louis Rams coming off a near-miss in the weak NFC West division, and with Sam Bradford coming off of one of the finest rookie quarterback seasons ever, there will be a lot of optimism in St. Louis heading into the 2011 season.
Week 2: @ Atlanta (Sunday Night Game)
The Eagles season gets off to a rough start with the Birds hitting the road against two teams that are likely to make noise in the NFC in 2011. The Falcons are coming off a dominant run through the conference, which was ended abruptly by the Green Bay Packers in Atlanta on their way to the Super Bowl.
Only the best teams in football—the Packers, the Saints—have beaten Matt Ryan and Mike Smith in the Georgia Dome, and if the Eagles got a win out of this game, their second in a row on the road, it would be impressive.
Prediction: Falcons by 10.
Week 3: vs. New York Giants
The Giants will be coming off the short week when they come into Philadelphia after a Monday Night Football battle with the Rams in New Jersey. The Eagles have won their last five against the Giants, including the spectacular come-from-behind victory sealed by DeSean Jackson's terrific punt return for a touchdown in Week 15 last season, which was the Eagles last victory of the year.
Look for a road-weary Eagles team to win their home opener against the G-Men.
Prediction: Eagles by 7.5
Week 4: vs. San Francisco 49ers
There is actually some pretty good news on the 2011 docket for the Philadelphia Eagles: the Birds only make one trip to the West Coast this season. Out of four games against the NFC West, the 49ers and Cardinals come to Lincoln Financial Field.
The 49ers were a team with a lot of promise in 2010, and how new coach Jim Harbaugh is able to steer a team high on potential but low payoff is anyone's guess. In Week 4, expect this team to still be figuring it out.
Prediction: Eagles by 6.5
Week 5: @ Buffalo Bills
The Eagles head north in Week 5 to play the Buffalo Bills on the road. Of the Bills, Patriots, Dolphins and Jets, the Eagles have drawn the tall straws, with the Bills and Phins on the road, and the Pats and Jets at home.
The Eagles should, should, be able to handle this Week 5 road contest.
Prediction: Eagles by 3.5.
Week 6: @ Washington Redskins
Year two of the Mike Shanahan Era will probably not feature Donovan McNabb or Albert Haynesworth. In all likelihood, this is a team that will get off to a slow start before doing anything, if they do in fact.
With the Eagles headed for their Bye Week, expect a close game, but ultimately another Eagles victory.
Prediction: Eagles by three.
Week 7: BYE
Please enjoy the music . . .
Prediction: Eagles by 2.5.
Week 8: vs. Dallas Cowboys (Sunday Night)
Andy Reid's teams are impossible to beat coming off of a bye week. Literally.
Since taking over the Philadelphia Eagles, Reid is a preposterous 12-0 coming off of a bye week.
Throw in the fact that the Eagles will have an extra week to get pumped up for the annual clash with the Cowboys in prime time at the Link, and this one could be a laugher.
Prediction: Eagles by 14.
Week 9: Vs. Chicago Bears (Monday Night)
Last season, from Week 9 to Week 15, the Eagles went 6-1, with the lone loss coming at Chicago. The Bears and Eagles rematch in Philly in 2011, in what will likely be a matchup between two teams in the playoff hunt.
By Week 9, the Eagles are usually on cruise control.
Prediction: Eagles by 5.5.
Week 10: vs. Arizona Cardinals
Tough to say, but there is little reason, at this moment, to have lots of confidence in a team that as of right now has no quarterback, and who will be coming across the country to play the Eagles.
At the same time...could this game be a possible Kevin Kolb homecoming?
Prediction: Eagles by eight.
Week 11: @ New York Giants (Sunday Night)
A Week 11 showdown between the Eagles and Giants could have divisional implications.
Like it did last year.
When DeSean Jackson shoved it down the Giants' throats.
Of course, that was the game in which we all realized that the Eagles had run out of steam, so it might be difficult to take encouragement from that performance.
Week 12: vs. New England Patriots
If all goes well, this Week 12 matchup against the best team of the last decade will be a test of the Eagles' mettle.
If all goes poorly, the Eagles will need this game to stay in the division hunt and get run up and down the field.
Prediction: Patriots by 3.5
Week 13: @ Seattle Seahawks (Thursday)
The lone cross-country trip of the season finds the Birds battling the Birds.
This game has disaster written all over it. In fact, the Eagles should probably file a grievance with the league. After playing a tough game against the Patriots at home, the Eagles fly to Seattle on a short week to play the Seahawks.
Prediction: Seahawks by 12.
Week 14: @ Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins might do a lot of things this offseason, and we could be looking at a very different team in 2011.
With the team as it currently stands, though, there is not so much reason to believe that in Week 14, the Dolphins will have fired Tony Sparano, and will be playing out the string.
Prediction: Eagles by 10.
Week 15: vs. New York Jets
Are the New York Jets legitimately an annual contender, or have they crested? That will be the question Rex Ryan gives smarmy, asinine answers to all season.
By the time the Jets make it to Philadelphia, the Eagles will be happy to be home, and ready to play some well-rested ball.
Prediction: Eagles by 6.5.
Week 16: @ Dallas Cowboys
Three years ago, the Eagles creamed the Dallas Cowboys in their late season matchup, 44-6, in the game that propelled the Birds back into the playoffs.
The last two years, though, the Eagles have been flat and listless in their final matchup of the year. Can the Birds break the jinx? In Big D?
Prediction: Cowboys by three.
Week 17: vs. Washington Redskins
It would be hard for me to pretend that I think the Washington Redskins will have anything left for their Week 17 matchup against the Eagles.
Hey Redskins, I dare you to make a liar out of me.
Prediction: Eagles by 13.
Final Record: 10-6
Final Standings: First place, NFC East
Playoffs: Let's burn that bridge when we come to it.