Eagles Have Tough Road Ahead
By Scott Daniels
The Philadelphia Eagles do not start their inaugural season under Chip Kelly until September but, as always, in an endless attempt to stay relevant at all times, the NFL released the 2013 schedules for all 32 teams last week.
The Eagles are somewhat of an anomaly heading into their 2013 season. Kelly is a virtual tourist in the NFL, and Mike Vick is one hit away from retirement. The secondary has been revitalized, but will the free agent signings gel? There’s also the alleged switch on defense from a 4-3 to a 3-4.
Without even looking at their schedule, uncertainty looms.
After reviewing the upcoming schedule, I have a few initial thoughts. First, the starting five weeks resemble a treacherous trek filled with danger, booby traps and drama. Welcome to the NFL, Chip Kelly. Second, there are only two primetime games on the schedule thus far, so it appears that even the NFL doesn’t view a promising season for the Birds. And third, outside of home games against Arizona in Week 13 and Detroit in Week 14, this schedule is brutal.
The Eagles begin their hazardous journey on Monday, Sept. 9 with a primetime showdown against the Redskins. Hoping for a triumphant return, Robert Griffin III could spoil Kelly’s first NFL experience. After what is sure to be an emotional start in D.C., the Eagles face Phillip Rivers and the Chargers at home on a short week. No cupcake here.
OK, so after the short week, the Eagles have some time to regroup, right? Wrong. Four days later, Andy Reid comes home with his new team, the Kansas City Chiefs. There’s going to be more drama surrounding this matchup than a Floyd Mayweather fight.
After their home showdown with the Chiefs (did I really just say that?), the Eagles get a double dose of the Mannings in back-to-back weeks. First, they head to Denver to face Peyton and the Broncos, then off to New York where the Eagles will hope to stop Eli and the Giants in hostile territory.
As for their additional away games this season, the Eagles travel to Tampa in Week 6, Oakland in Week 9, Green Bay in Week 10, Minnesota in Week 15 and finish up the season with Dallas in Week 17. None of these games are locks. In fact, they’ll most likely start the season as underdogs in Green Bay, Minnesota and Dallas.
Before their bye in Week 12, the Eagles will have to survive a perilous schedule if they hope to make the playoffs. Kelly’s initiation into the NFL will be a challenge of epic proportions. If he can remain in the playoff hunt by Week 12, he’ll have escaped myriad dangers.
Following the bye week, the Eagles have their easiest stretch of games. They face Arizona, Detroit and Chicago at home, with Minnesota and Dallas on the road. Kelly’s legacy in the NFL will be defined by wins and losses, so he has his work cut out for him.