DeSean Jackson will get his first crack at Chip Kelly and the Eagles Week 3 this season when the Eagles take on the Washington Redskins at home at Lincoln Financial Field. He'll get a second crack at them Week 16.
Under Chip Kelly last season, the Eagles' offense broke several NFL and team records, and were often a very fun team to watch. The Eagles will of course try to build on their explosiveness in 2014 sans their best receiving threat in 2013.
Unsurprisingly, the NFL awarded the Eagles with 5 games in prime time. Hope you like your turkey and stuffing with a side Jerry Jones, because the Eagles will be in Dallas this Thanksgiving to take on the Cowboys.
• Week 2: Eagles at Colts, Monday Night Football
• Week 6: Giants at Eagles, Sunday Night Football
• Week 10: Panthers at Eagles, Monday Night Football
• Week 13: Eagles at Cowboys, Thanksgiving Day
• Week 15: Cowboys at Eagles, Sunday Night Football
The teams the Eagles were going to play was already known, based on a predetermined formula. It was only a matter of when they would face each opponent. Here is a quick breakdown of the teams the Eagles will face, and why.
• Six division games: They play their NFC East opponents (Cowboys, Giants, Redskins) twice every year.
• Four games against an AFC division: They play an entire division in the AFC every year, on a rotating basis. This year it is the weak AFC South, which includes the Colts, Titans, Jaguars, and Texans.
• Four games against an NFC division: They play an entire division in the NFC every year, on a rotating basis. This year it is the very difficult NFC West, which includes the Seahawks, 49ers, Cardinals, and Rams.
• Two remaining games: The Eagles play one team in each remaining NFC division that corresponds with their finish the previous year. In 2013, the Eagles finished 1st in the NFC East, so they'll play the teams that finished 1st in the NFC South (Panthers) and NFC North (Packers).
Here is how the NFL ordered them for the Eagles this year.
Looking ahead to NFL schedules is often an exercise in futility, as a lot can change from year to year. Every year there are teams who surprise in good ways (such as the Chiefs in 2013) and in bad ways (Texans, Falcons). However, for the most part, teams are relatively close to what is expected.
There's a feeling among many that on paper, the Eagles will be facing a stacked schedule in 2014. There are certainly a few tough hombres (Seahawks and Niners) on the slate, but on the whole, the schedule is very favorable. Here is the Eagles' schedule, sorted from the best 2013 records to the worst. (Because they tied a game, the Packers are listed as 8.5 - 7.5 for the purpose of winning percentages).
If you'll notice, the Eagles play 5 teams that had at least 10 wins last year, which is contributing to the idea that it's a hard schedule. However, the rest of the teams in the NFC East will each have at least 5 games on their slates in which they're playing teams that had 10 wins in 2013.
Otherwise, the Eagles' schedule is weak. They only face 6 opponents who had a winning record last season, they play 4 games against teams that had at least 12 losses, and they play in one of the worst divisions in the NFL. If you tally up the total wins and losses, the Eagles' 2014 opponents had a 0.479 winning percentage in 2013. They also had a combined point differential of -300.
That's not to say it won't be more difficult than the opponents they faced in 2013. That schedule was very easy.
The Eagles faced opponents last season who had a combined winning percentage of 0.453 and a combined point differential of -363. They also had the fortune of playing the Packers without Aaron Rodgers, and the Cowboys without Tony Romo.
The Eagles are going to have to improve this season just to get back to 10 wins again.