WinThere was a lot of speculation about the opponent for the season kickoff game. I didn't hear anyone mention the Falcons, the team that came closest to beating the Eagles in the playoffs. Welcome back to Lincoln Financial Field, Julio Jones and Matt Ryan. Tough opponent, but a big night for Philadelphia, and I still like the Eagles in this matchup.
LossFor the third time in the last 14 seasons, the Eagles open against the Falcons. This meeting has a different flavor than the previous two – both losses. No. 1, the Eagles are the hosts. And No. 2, they're the defending Super Bowl champions. The big question is whether Carson Wentz will be ready by Week 1. Even if he isn't, Atlanta may have payback on its mind after narrowly losing in January's divisional playoff.
WinThe home crowd will be electric celebrating the defending Super Bowl champions, which should give an advantage to a team that is 15-3 at home under Doug Pederson. I'm guessing Carson Wentz returns, although he might not be the same Wentz to open the season.
WinVinny Curry and Beau Allen don't have to wait too long to get their Super Bowl rings. The former Eagles were signed in the offseason and join Jason Pierre-Paul on Tampa's new-look defensive line. Will their inside knowledge help against an offensive line that was among the NFL's best last season?
WinThe Bucs were a disappointment in 2017. They should be better in 2018, but the Eagles will have extra time to prepare for this one – and Wentz should benefit from game experience in Week 1 after he sits out the preseason.
WinThe Colts descended into the NFL's basement without Andrew Luck last season as GM Chris Ballard started his post-Ryan Grigson makeover of the roster. New coach Frank Reich's institutional knowledge of the Eagles could aid Indy's cause.
LossAre the Titans a team on the rise or was last season's playoff appearance a product of the weak AFC? Either way, winning in Nashville, where Tennessee has won 11 of its last 16 games, is difficult. Over the next five weeks, the Eagles face four playoff teams from last year.
WinKirk Cousins fared reasonably well against the Eagles when he was with Washington, but Mike Zimmer's defense had no answers for the Birds in the NFC title game and I'm gonna say that trend continues.
WinMany wanted the Eagles to kick off the season with the Vikings, but the NFL schedule makers set up an early October tilt between last season's top two teams in the NFC. Former Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFillippo takes over the Minnesota offense with former Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins at the controls.
WinFinally, an NFC East game, against none other than Pat Shurmur, the Giants coach who has spent much of his career at NovaCare. The Giants played the Eagles tough last year. The Eagles might have even cinched Eli Manning's return to the starting job, but at this point, I'm not picking them in a prime-time matchup against the champs.
WinPat Shurmur's lone game as the Eagles' head coach came at MetLife Stadium – a 35-30 win over the Giants. The former Vikings offensive coordinator is now in charge in North Jersey. The Eagles shut down Shurmur's offense in the NFC title game, but Minnesota had no one nearly as talented as Odell Beckham, Jr. – provided he's still with the Giants.
LossYeah, I know. The Giants were 3-13 last year. But the Eagles’ two wins over them were by a total of eight points. And it’s a short-week game on the heels of what probably is going to be a knockdown-drag out game against the Vikings.
WinThe Eagles became legitimate Super Bowl contenders, in many eyes, after they toppled the Panthers on the road last October. They get Cam Newton and company at home this time around, and the result here could signal whether Doug Pederson's group is poised to repeat.
WinI’m going to use the Sam Bradford ACL timetable here with Carson Wentz. It was just about Week 7 or 8 in 2015 that he finally regained full confidence in his knee. This will be the game when you say, “he’s back.’’
LossThe Jaguars were a few Doug Marrone blunders from meeting the Eagles in the Super Bowl. Blake Bortles is still at quarterback, and Marrone defended his passive play-calling in the AFC championship game, but Jacksonville is stacked on defense and it has won three straight in London.
WinThe Eagles were clearly on another level than the Cowboys last season. The reverse was the case the year before. Could Dallas possibly flip the script back to 2016? The recent history of the NFC East suggests it's more than possible. But Dak Prescott's struggles looked like more than a sophmore slump.
WinIf it weren't for the Miracle in Minneapolis, the Eagles would have had the Saints to contend with in the NFC championship. Some thought New Orleans would have been a tougher test. Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram are a formidable 1-2 running back punch, particularly on the Superdome's fast track.
WinSome mock drafts have Penn State's Saquon Barkley heading to the Giants at No. 2. The Eagles won't focus on one player, but they would surely rather not have to contend with the freakishly-gifted tailback for the next decade.
WinThis matchup ends a five-game stretch against four divisional opponents. It also starts a four-game finish with three on the road. The Eagles have had success at Jerry World winning six of their last eight.
LossCarson Wentz returns to the L.A. Coliseum, where his 2017 season ended, and eerily, just one week later in the season than that game. Wentz ought to be 100 percent and have all his mobility back. But the Rams really loaded up in the offseason. In their building with Eagles flying across the continent, I think I might give the Rams the edge.
LossIf there's a candidate for most likely loss for the Eagles, it's the Rams. Sean McVay's squad turtled up in the postseason, but there's plenty of returning talent and several key positions were upgraded in the postseason. Of course, Wentz will have extra motivation returning to the scene of his knee injury.
WinCarson Wentz returns to the scene of his season-ending ACL injury. He’ll be facing an imposing defense that has added Ndamukong Suh and cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aquib Talib. And he’ll throw a game-winning touchdown in the final minute.
Win Watson was on a 43-touchdown pace when he tore his ACL last October. He’s probably the most dangerous of the mobile quarterbacks on the Eagles’ 2018 slate. The good news is the game is at the Linc.
WinThe Eagles opened 2017 in Landover. They close in the worst NFL stadium a year later. Who knows what will be at stake in the finale, but one thing is likely for certain: If Wentz has played in the majority of games and if he is healthy by season's end, the Eagles should be in position for another title run.
WinA Week 17 trip down I-95 to FedEx Field always is dangerous. But this game will mean a lot to the Eagles who still will be battling for playoff seeding and a first-round bye. And it will mean nothing to the Redskins, who will be sitting out the playoffs for the 21st time in the last 26 years.