Catching up on the weekend of Eagles odds and ends:
A one-time Daily News staple was the annual strength of schedule rankings in the NFL. Thanks to the folks at the Fifth Down blog from the New York Times, we don't have to type it in this year.
The Eagles have the ninth most difficult schedule in the league based on the 2008 winning percentage of their opponents. Eagles opponents won at a 53.5 percent rate.
Miami has the toughest schedule at 59.4 percent, followed by Carolina at 59.2 percent, New England at 59.0 percent, Atlanta at 58.8 percent and Tampa Bay at 58.0 percent.
The other NFC East teams are the Giants, 10th, 52.7; Dallas, tied for 11th, 51.6; and Washington, 16th, 49.2.
The Giants play 14 teams that were .500 or better last season, tied with Atlanta for second most. Carolina plays 15 teams that were .500 or better.
We agree with the folks at the New York Times that this is an overrated stat. After all, there is so much turnover among coaches and players and you see bad teams become good and good teams become bad awfully quickly.
It is an interesting starting point, though.
In case you missed it, Fox Sports says the Eagles have the third best organization in the NFL. Fox used eight criteria and judged them on a scale of 1 to 10 for a total score. The Eagles' final tally was 71.0
"The Eagles didn't get a grade in any category under 8.5. This is a great organization, from owner Jeff Lurie , to the PR staff to the talent and good guys on the playing roster. Andy Reid and his outstanding coaching staff proved to be the difference between the Eagles and rival Giants."
New England was No. 1 at 74.5, followed by the Steelers at 71.5.
Eagles president Joe Banner told the team's Web site that the process of signing the Eagles' draft picks is underway, but won't pick up steam until they get a lot closer to training camp, as is usually the case. Banner was confident that all the picks will be signed by the July 26 start of training camp at Lehigh. The Eagles have more than $4 million in the rookie pool to sign their draftees.
The folks at Bodog.com have come up with their latest odds to win the Super Bowl. The Eagles opened at 12-1 and remain there, tied for eighth-best in the NFL. The Giants are the 8-1 choice, tops among NFC teams, with the Cowboys at 9-1 and the Vikings also are 12-1 after opening at 22-1. The Patriots are the 4-1 favorite to win the big game in Miami, with the Steelers a 7-1 choice to repeat.
Nate Ilaoa, the fullback shaped like a bowling ball who was drafted by the Eagles in the seventh round in 2007, will return to the University of Hawaii as a student manager, coach Greg McMackin told reporters this weekend. Ilaoa has to complete one class for his bachelor's degree.