Eagles Schedule 2017-18: Game-by-Game Predictions for the Entire Season

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVApril 21, 2017

Eagles Schedule 2017-18: Game-by-Game Predictions for the Entire Season

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    The Philadelphia Eagles' season schedule for 2017 is hot off the presses, and it's never too early to go game-by-game and dissect the team's chances for contention.

    Entering year two of the Carson Wentz and Doug Pederson era, expectations should rise significantly as the team uses its resources in the offseason to shore up holes and formulate a solid roster on both sides of the ball. Wentz underwent his inevitable rookie growing pains amid showing incredible potential, and the team has a better idea of what improvements are needed to get to the next level.

    While the team has made serious ground in filling gaps and improving certain positions in free agency, there remains plenty of work to do in the draft before any distinct judgments on the Eagles' 2017 season can be made. With that said, let's go ahead and make early predictions for the season based on what we know.

Week 1: @ Washington Redskins

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    The Eagles had a tough time against the Washington Redskins last season, and their motivation to exact revenge on them only stretches so far. When they travel to Washington, it will be a different story than the one expected to be told in Philly.

    His receiving corps isn't the same as last season with Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson gone, but Kirk Cousins still has enough with Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson to air it out and put up points. Wentz had his struggles against the Redskins last season and figures to have more in Washington as the physical Redskins defense wears out the Eagles offensively.

    Result: Loss

Week 2: @ Kansas City Chiefs

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    Eagles fans can expect their team to play well in a couple of intense road environments in 2017, but not all of them. A road trip to Kansas City ranks near the top of the list of places you don't want to bring a young quarterback into.

    The Chiefs earn their keep on defense, led by Eric Berry and a formidable pass rush that will only benefit from the arrival of former Eagle Bennie Logan. Kansas City's strength in the secondary will make this a physical, low-scoring affair, and that will make it difficult for the Eagles defense to contain the likes of Tyreek Hill and the Chiefs.

    Result: Loss

Week 3: vs. New York Giants

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    As if the split season series with the New York Giants wasn't intriguing enough last season, more firepower has been injected into the rivalry with both teams fortifying their receiving corps.

    While the Eagles' newly structured receiver's room can stand tall with many in the league, the Giants may be the class of the NFC East with Brandon Marshall now added to Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard. But on the road in Philly, that won't be enough to overcome the Giants' inherent issues up front on offense that make them one-dimensional and put Eli Manning at risk.

    When they step onto Lincoln Financial Field, Fletcher Cox and Timmy Jernigan will be licking their chops and constantly wrecking the interior to prevent Manning from getting comfortable and take over the game.

    Result: Win

Week 4: @ Los Angeles Chargers

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    On the surface, facing a passing attack on the road led by Philip Rivers when you have questions abound regarding your secondary isn't an intriguing thought. But that's about all the Los Angeles Chargers have to offer in terms of strengths.

    On defense, the Chargers don't have many studs outside of Joey Bosa to cause real problems for the Eagles offensively. Wentz should look across the field and see a defense he can make plays against and move the ball methodically to rack up points.

    After a pair of tough losses to start the season, the Eagles right the ship and notch as second straight win.

    Result: Win

Week 5: vs. Arizona Cardinals

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    Unless something unforeseen happens with the roster, the blueprint isn't too complicated for beating the Eagles. A multifaceted passing attack with balance on offense, along with playmakers in the secondary, is the biggest key.

    That sentence almost perfectly describes the Arizona Cardinals. Carson Palmer may be aging, but his bevy of wideouts (Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown and Jaron Brown) and workhorse running back David Johnson make life easy for the 37-year-old veteran and present too many weapons for a front-heavy Eagles defense to contain. 

    The Cardinals' athletic pass rush and game-changers like Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu should make for a long day for Wentz and Co., who will be outmatched by a Cardinals team intent on erasing a woeful 2016.

    Result: Loss

Week 6: @ Carolina Panthers

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    On one hand, the Carolina Panthers are a better team than they showed throughout 2016 and will be intent on proving people wrong this season. On the other, they were exposed in a fashion that the Eagles should be able to exploit.

    The Panthers offense is beginning to look extremely limited, having the most success on the ground where the Eagles dominate. They proved incapable of spreading the ball to the outside when teams stacked the box, which is exactly what the Eagles should do en route to a big road win.

    Result: Win

Week 7: vs. Washington Redskins

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    The Eagles were swept by Washington in 2016, and you could argue the 27-20 defeat in Week 6 was the first poor outing of Wentz's career. Despite losing again 27-22 in Week 14, it's curious that Wentz turned it around with 314 yards on 32-of-46 passing despite being sacked four times.

    Even amid pressure up front, Wentz found exponentially more success in his second bout with the Redskins and appeared to figure out how to produce against the below-average Washington secondary. 

    Washington handed the Eagles their only home loss in the division last season, and that will motivate Philly to set a tone and make a statement that will stretch across the NFC East.

    Result: Win

Week 8: vs. San Francisco 49ers

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    Eagles fans won't get the pleasure of going up against Chip Kelly when they face the San Francisco 49ers this season, but they will get the pleasure of facing one of the worst teams in the NFL at home.

    The future could be bright for head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch, but it's no secret that the rebuild will take some time. The Niners will only truly compete in defensive slugfests this season, and the Eagles have an offense capable of avoiding those types of affairs against inferior teams.

    Unless the 49ers find a rookie sensation at quarterback and plug half a dozen holes in the draft, the Eagles should take this one easily.

    Result: Win

Week 9: vs. Denver Broncos

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    While the Denver Broncos regressed from Super Bowl champion to missing the playoffs in 2016, their defense still remains one of the league's best and will be a huge test to the development of Wentz and his offense.

    The Broncos' pass-rushing stable led by Von Miller is elite, but the Eagles have the strength at their tackle spots to negate that a bit. Having Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith to pair against the Broncos' aging cornerbacks will be a huge key and open up the West Coast offense enough to churn out some scoring drives.

    If this Broncos team had a trustworthy signal-caller to utilize the team's receiving weapons, this would be a different game, but the Eagles have more going on offense and that should lead them to a hard-earned victory.

    Result: Win

Week 11: @ Dallas Cowboys

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    No team gave the Dallas Cowboys more trouble in 2016 than the Eagles. While that bodes well for Philly in some respects, it also ensures they'll get the Cowboys' best fight when they battle in Dallas in the upcoming season.

    The last time these two faced off in AT&T Stadium, it took some late Dallas heroics to avoid stumbling. The Cowboys will be intent on starting strong this time around, utilizing their advantages with Dez Bryant's playmaking and Dak Prescott's elusiveness to attack the Eagles' weakness in the secondary.

    Result: Loss

Week 12: vs. Chicago Bears

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    The Eagles crushed the Chicago Bears early on in the 2016 season, winning a 29-14 affair at Soldier Field that wasn't as close as the 15-point differential indicates. In the time since, Jeffery has switched teams and the Bears have seemingly fallen further from relevance.

    This time around, Philly welcomes Chicago to Lincoln Financial Field. Mike Glennon may have success as a Bear, but early on, it won't come against a team like the Eagles who wreak havoc on the interior. Wentz picked apart the Bears last season and will have more weapons this time around.

    Result: Win

Week 13: @ Seattle Seahawks

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    One of the Eagles' gut-check games in 2016 came on the road in Seattle, a game they ultimately lost, 26-15. But Philly should be more battle-tested and will be a better team than the one that strolled into CenturyLink Field last year.

    It will be the same setting, but a different result for the Eagles, who will benefit from Wentz being more prepared to face the Seahawks' unique defense. On the other side of things, don't expect the Seahawks' limited passing resources to cause many problems for the Philly secondary.

    Oh, and don't expect another touchdown catch from Russell Wilson. That should help.

    Result: Win

Week 14: @ Los Angeles Rams

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    Wentz and Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff will be forever connected due to the 2016 NFL draft, but it's no secret that Wentz is on a much faster track to success. That should show when Wentz and Co. showcase their West Coast offense on, well, the West Coast.

    As much as Wentz looks like a superior quarterback individually, he also benefits from having a much stronger team. Even if Goff takes massive strides in year two, he doesn't have the supporting cast capable of topping a high-caliber squad like the Eagles and will struggle to remain upright behind his shaky offensive line.

    Result: Win

Week 15: @ New York Giants

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    While the Eagles have reason to believe they can sweep the Giants in 2017, a split is the most realistic outcome, and it's likely that Philly's trip to MetLife Stadium will be a tough one.

    Against a Giants defense that looked much-improved across the board last season, Wentz should struggle to remain comfortable and will have at least one target shut down by Janoris Jenkins. On the other side of the ball, Beckham Jr. and Marshall are matchup nightmares for an Eagles secondary that currently doesn't have a whole lot going.

    Result: Loss

Week 16: vs. Oakland Raiders

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    The AFC West is not the first division that teams would want to take a tour of in the upcoming season, and the Oakland Raiders are the biggest reason why. 

    Not only are the Raiders the best team in the AFC West, but they present the biggest mismatches for the Eagles. Oakland's passing attack looked lethal in 2016 and should be primed for more success with Derek Carr emerging as a superstar, and he should pick apart the hapless Eagles cornerbacks. He's backed by a defense that lacks real holes, led by game-changing linebacker Khalil Mack.

    The Eagles will find some success against the AFC West, but it won't come against the Raiders, who will hand Philly one of its few home losses.

    Result: Loss

Week 17: vs. Dallas Cowboys

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    Among the developments of last season that the Eagles would wish to have back, letting a 10-point, fourth-quarter lead slip away in Dallas to the Cowboys probably ranks at the top. The regular-season finale is a bit of a wash since Dallas sat a lot of starters, but the Eagles were still dangerously close to sweeping the NFC's No. 1 seed.

    The Cowboys are undeniably a force again in 2017, but the Eagles will be a better team than the one that went toe-to-toe twice with Dallas a season ago. Improvements on the perimeter will loom large against the Cowboys' weakness in the secondary, allowing Wentz to pick apart the Dallas defense like he did a season ago and utilize the deep-field weapons he didn't have last season.

    Result: Win

    The Eagles are a projected 10-6 team in 2017.


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