Wild Predictions For Every Eagles Game
By Frank Irving
It's about to get real. The Philadelphia Eagles kick off their 2013 NFL season versus the defending NFC East champion Washington Redskins at FedEx Field on Sept. 9 before a national TV audience.
The Eagles' 17-week excursion through eight cities will bring considerable challenges for a team looking to quickly improve from an often unwatchable 2012 campaign. Primary among those tests will be three consecutive road games in the first six weeks of the season.
Throughout the upcoming season, the Eagles' fortunes will rise and fall with the effectiveness of coach Chip Kelly's new offense. If the line can protect QB Michael Vick and he can avoid mental mistakes, opponents will have a hard time accounting for Philadelphia's multiple-weapon, fast-paced attack.
At the same time, the Bird's defense, in transition from a 4-3 to a 3-4 alignment, looked every bit as bad in the preseason as last year's unit. They remain particularly vulnerable at linebacker and safety. So it comes down to whether the potentially prolific offense can offset team's defensive shortcomings. That's likely to happen on a number of occasions, which should make the Eagles a highly entertaining, if not yet playoff-caliber squad.
Here's how I see the wins and losses shaking out week-to-week.
Week 1 @ Washington: Robert Griffin III shows some rust in his first live action of the 2013 season. The Eagles new-look offense enlivens Monday Night Football’s early shift and keeps relentless pressure on the ‘Skins defense.
Result: Eagles win (1-0)
Week 2 vs. San Diego: The Eagles roll out enough new looks on offense to keep the Chargers off balance, and the defense applies heat to Chargers QB Phillip Rivers.
Result: Eagles win (2-0)
Week 3 vs. Kansas City: The hometown crowd gives a respectful nod to Big Red in a Thursday night special and the Birds' third game in 11 days. Leave it to Andy Reid to coach his best game in five years on his old home turf.
Result: Eagles lose (2-1)
Week 4 @ Denver: Denver is a tough place to play, especially against a team picked by 10-of-12 experts to go to the Super Bowl. Peyton picks apart the Eagles' secondary as reality begins to set in regarding Philly's defensive deficiencies.
Result: Eagles lose (2-2)
Week 5 @ New York Giants: The Eagles battle hard, but struggle to contain Giants RB David Wilson. The offense turns the ball over in key spots to seal the Eagles' fate.
Result: Eagles lose (2-3)
Week 6 @ Tampa Bay: Their third straight road game takes its toll as the Eagles defense again fails to stop the run, and the Buccaneers control the clock in what becomes a lopsided contest.
Result: Eagles lose (2-4)
Week 7 vs. Dallas: Jason Witten continues his career-long torment of the Eagles' linebackers, while Dez Bryant torches the secondary. Nonetheless, a late rally fueled by Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy brings the Birds back.
Result: Eagles win in OT (3-4)
Week 8 vs. New York Giants: It will be good to get New York off the schedule before the end of October. Revived by the previous week's upset, the Eagles play well on both sides of the ball.
Result: Eagles win (4-4)
Week 9 @ Oakland: The Raiders can't corral Philly's backs and tight ends, and Vick limits his miscues in an uncharacteristically conservative game plan.
Result: Eagles win (5-4).
Week 10 @ Green Bay: It's November at Lambeau, and the league has taken notice of the Birds' recent rebound. However, this is a game the Packers can't afford to drop.
Result: Eagles lose (5-5)
Week 11 vs. Washington: This will be a revenge game for Washington, with RGIII back in Superman mode.
Result: Eagles lose (5-6)
Week 12: A late bye week brings a chance to heal and regroup after a punishing string of games.
Week 13 vs. Arizona: New wrinkles in the offensive scheme emerge with rotating running backs causing problems for the Cardinals. A cross-country trek for the Cards doesn't bode well.
Result: Eagles win (6-6)
Week 14 vs. Lions: This may be one of the most entertaining games of the year, as the two teams trade scores in NBA-style fashion. A late punt return by DeSean Jackson sets up the Eagles for a go-ahead score, and David Akers misses a potential dagger in the final seconds.
Result: Eagles win (7-6)
Week 15 @ Minnesota: The Eagles get a break as Adrian Peterson sees limited action due to wear and tear. The Birds fail to take advantage, however, in an inconsistent performance marred by dropped passes and poor protection.
Result: Eagles lose (7-7)
Week 16 vs. Chicago: Three days before Christmas, visions of a playoff slot still dance in the Eagles' heads. The Birds take an early lead, but let Jay Cutler and the Bears recover while field conditions deteriorate at the Linc.
Result: Eagles lose (7-8)
Week 17 @ Dallas. The Cowboys have already clinched the division and rest Romo, Bryant and Murray. Eagles fans, having endured 13 straight weeks of Fox broadcasts, take solace in solid performances by Nick Foles and Matt Barkley.
Result: Eagles win (8-8)