PHILADELPHIA — Now that the Philadelphia Eagles 2021 regular season schedule has officially been released, it is time for a tradition the entire realm of NFL media participates in this time of year: way too early win-loss prediction for the upcoming season.
After a disappointing 4-11-1 season that resulted in the firing of head coach Doug Pederson and the former franchise quarterback in Carson Wentz being traded, how will a brand new regime do in their first season?
In the past when the Eagles made significant change to the most important roles of the organization, Philadelphia has been able to bounce back quickly. After a 4-12 season in 2012 that ended Andy Reid’s tenure as head coach, Chip Kelly led the Eagles to a 10-6 record, and an NFC East title in his first season.
After Kelly was fired in 2015 going 7-9, Doug Pederson was able to help Philadelphia win their first ever Super Bowl just two seasons later.
Can Nick Sirianni replicate this trend?
Week 1: @ Atlanta Falcons
Although the Eagles have defeated Atlanta in three of their last four matchups, the Falcons have had their number at home. Philadelphia has not defeated the Falcons in Atlanta since 2009.
Matt Ryan has a brand new play-caller in Arthur Smith and loads of talent around him in Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Kyle Pitts. Jalen Hurts and the offense have a favorable matchup as well against Atlanta’s defense, but the Eagles thin secondary will likely be more overwhelmed.
Week 2: vs San Francisco 49ers
This matchup is a tough one to evaluate since we don’t know whether Jimmy Garoppolo or rookie Trey Lance will be starting at quarterback. The Eagles might have a better chance against Garoppolo. But since it is likely Lance is the guy, his rushing ability mixed with Kyle Shanahan’s top-tier play-calling, and a star trio of pass-catchers in Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and Brandon Aiyuk will (like Atlanta’s offense) be too much for Philadelphia to keep up with.
Week 3: @ Dallas Cowboys
The theme of playing teams with 3+ dangerous weapons on offense continues with the division rival Cowboys. Dak Prescott is among the best quarterbacks in football, and he has a supporting cast of Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb to throw to. Not to mention Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield.
Like the Falcons, Dallas has a defense that could allow the Eagles to keep up on offense. Overall however, the Cowboys are the safer bet to be more consistent scoring points in a potential shootout.
Week 4: vs Kansas City Chiefs
The NFL schedule makers really did the Eagles dirty the first month and a half of the season. The amount of elite talent they have to deal with at the skill positions and even play-calling head coaches is rough.
That trend continues against Patrick Mahomes, Andy Reid, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce.
The Chiefs are likely the Super Bowl favorite again in 2021. Hard to predict an upset by the Eagles on paper.
Week 5: @ Carolina Panthers
The Panthers are building something that could be special down the road. On defense, safety Jeremy Chinn, end Brian Burns, defensive tackle Derrick Brown, and cornerback Jaycee Horn make-up a young, promising nucleus. On offense, newly acquired quarterback Sam Darnold has star running back Christian McCaffrey, and an explosive reciever duo in D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson to work with.
But it still feels like the Panthers are a year or two away. The Eagles defensive line should have an advantage, and Hurts might finally be the better quarterback in a game. Philadelphia gets their first win on the road.
Week 6: vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Eagles finish a brutal six-game stretch to start the season with the reigning Super Bowl champion Buccaneers, led by quarterback Tom Brady.
Tampa Bay has stars at almost every position on both sides of the football. With no Nick Foles to save them from Brady’s wrath, this Buccaneers team will likely be too much for the Eagles.
Week 7: @ Las Vegas Raiders
A road trip out west is never easy, but there aren’t many advantages the Raiders have over the Eagles. Their offensive line was picked clean this offseason, their secondary is among the worst in the NFL, their weapons are likely worse than Philadelphia’s, and how much better is Derek Carr than Jalen Hurts in all honesty?
Both wins to start the year come on the road for the Eagles.
Week 8: @ Detroit Lions
This is around the time the Eagles can start to get back into the hunt. Philadelphia might not be favored in any of their first six games, but they should be favored in back to back weeks against the Raiders and Lions.
Detroit is in rebuild mode which has resulted in quarterback Jared Goff having one of the weakest receiving cores in the NFL. The Lions might be the worst team in the NFL. On paper, it is hard to argue a lot of other teams deserve that title over them.
Third win on the road for the Birds.
Week 9: vs Los Angeles Chargers
Back to the tough matchups against star signal-callers and deep offenses. Second-year quarterback Justin Herbert is expected to take an even bigger jump after his historic rookie season. With Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Austin Eekler at his disposal, Herbert and the Chargers shouldn’t have a problem putting points on the scoreboard.
Their defense has a ton of talent on all three levels too. Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram up front, Derwin James, Chris Harris Jr., Nasir Adderly, and Asante Samuel Jr. in the secondary.
The Eagles winning streak ends at two games.
Week 10: @ Denver Broncos
The Broncos have been tied to Aaron Rodgers lately as the 2020 MVP seemingly wants to be traded from the Green Bay Packers. If they get Rodgers to go along with Jerry Jeudy, Cortland Sutton, KJ Hamler, and Noah Fant on offense? This is a Super Bowl contender.
Even if Drew Lock or Teddy Bridgewater starts at QB, the Broncos get a win vs Philadelphia at home.
Week 11: vs New Orleans Saints
The Eagles and Jalen Hurts making his starting debut took down a red hot Saints team in 2020 that had won 9-straight games. With Drew Brees retiring and Jameis Winston the new starting QB, Philadelphia isn’t as outmatched as they would be against the Saints in years past.
Philadelphia gets their first win at Lincoln Financial Field in Week 11!
Week 12: @ New York Giants
This rivalry is heating up. After potentially tanking a game away in Week 17 against Washington, the Eagles cost the Giants a playoff spot in 2020.
Then in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Eagles moved one spot in front of New York to steal away Alabama receiver DeVonta Smith in the 1st round.
The Giants probably want this win at home bad. But the Eagles hand them another L instead.
Week 13: @ New York Jets
This game is interesting. Jalen Hurts goes up against the quarterback the Eagles may have wanted to make their franchise guy over him in Jets rookie Zach Wilson.
Philadelphia is 11-0 all-time against the Jets but Wilson breaks that record for New York and gets people in the city of brotherly love talking about the future at QB.
Week 14: BYE
Week 15: vs Washington
Washington’s roster looks really impressive on offense and defense. Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, and Dyami Brown is an explosive, dangerous trio at wide receiver. Antonio Gibson proved in his rookie season he was the multi-dimensional weapon at running back he was at Memphis. Head coach Ron Rivera’s defensive line is as deep as anyone’s in the NFL.
Although quarterback is their one question mark with Ryan Fitzparick starting, Fitzmagic has been able to put up some huge performances against the Eagles throughout his career.
That continues in 2021.
Week 16: vs New York Giants
How great would it be if the Eagles swept the Giants in 2021? At 5-9, the Eagles might not be out of the division race just yet. They try to stay alive or play spoiler, sweeping New York.
Week 17: @ Washington
The Eagles make it two wins in a row against NFC East rivals, but at 7-9….is it too little too late? The last two years it wouldn’t be, but it is hard to imagine the division winner once again has single-digit victories.
If anything these wins might only hurt Philadelphia as they play their way out of a higher draft pick.
Week 18: vs Dallas Cowboys
It is never fun to predict being swept by the Cowboys. However, Dallas likely needs this game, while the Eagles would probably prefer to lose it.
A 7-10 record isn’t ideal. The Eagles miss the playoffs and miss out on a top five draft pick. Hopefully even in a middling season, much like in a 7-9 season in 2016, the organization still feels like they have found long-term building blocks. Especially with Nick Sirianni and Jalen Hurts.