Quick Note- Yes, I understand the confusion, but this is SlayBurner. Just decided that I wanted to go by my actual name for a change. You can still find me on twitter @alexschlerf and I will be writing articles all the same!
When the Eagles schedule was released in May, I made a way-to-early prediction on what I thought the Eagles record would be. Back then, I had the Eagles slated at 6-11. How much has changed since then?
Well, a lot. The Eagles signed Steven Nelson, Ryan Kerrigan and traded for Gardner Minshew among other things.
I'm going to go week-by-week and predict what I think will happen with the Eagles this season. This will no doubt age poorly 3 weeks into the year, but we'll do it anyway.
Week 1: Eagles @ Falcons(1 PM EST, FOX)
I feel like the signing of Steven Nelson and the trade of Julio Jones significantly changed the outcome of this game. Although Calvin Ridley will be a tough test for Darius Slay, Russell Gage does not worry me as much at WR2. Considering Kyle Pitts is basically a wideout, there is a chance the Eagles put Nelson or Slay on him like they did against George Kittle last year. This game may start slow, with both teams having new coaching staffs, but I think it will end up being a shootout. And in that scenario, I like the Eagles defense more to get a stop late in the game. Look for Jalen Hurts to try to form a connection with his young wide receivers early, especially with him having his full starting offensive line in front of him. This could go ether way, but again I like the Eagles to slip away late.
Prediction: 31-24 Eagles Record: 1-0, 0-0 in Division
Week 2: 49ers @ Eagles(1 PM EST, FOX)
The 49ers are a somewhat difficult team to predict this season, with the starting QB still in question as I am writing this. Jimmy Garoppolo is the projected starter, but Trey Lance was the #3 pick in the draft and impressed all preseason. Ether way, this 49ers roster is dangerous when healthy. The defense gets Nick Bosa back and returns guys like Fred Warner, Jimmie Ward and Javon Kinlaw. This is a game where the Eagles will need Jalen Hurts to put points on the board, with the Eagles facing another strong offense. Keep an eye on Dallas Goedert/Zach Ertz, with Ertz playing his first home game back after a crazy offseason. This is a really tough game to predict, but I think the home fans will give the Eagles the slight edge and get them the win.
Prediction: 24-20 Eagles
Record: 2-0, 0-0 in Division
Week 3: Eagles @ Cowboys(8:15 PM EST, ESPN)
An early primetime game against Dallas? Count me in. As much as the Cowboys are promoted as a high powered offense, I think this game will be won in the trenches, specifically the Eagles D Line vs. the Cowboys O Line. By now we should know how healthy Dak Prescott really is, and he'll need to be on his game. Dallas didn't really improve their secondary as much as I thought they would, so Diggs will have to take a step to keep up with DeVonta Smith. I see a big game from Smith, but it is gonna be tough to win away in Jerry World. I see it being close for most of the game however, and it could obviously go very different if Dak is not 100%.
Prediction: 21-10 Cowboys
Record: 2-1, 0-1 in Division
Week 4: Chiefs @ Eagles(1 PM EST, CBS)
Being at the Linc in front of full capacity helps, but it is always tough when Patrick Mahomes and co. come into town. After that crushing loss last year, the Chiefs only improved their weakest spot, adding Joe Thuney and Orlando Brown to their O Line. Sure, the Eagles could get ahead early behind the home crowd, but Kansas City is just a better team in almost every way. Big Red gets another one on the Birds.
Prediction: 32-14 Chiefs
Record: 2-2, 0-1 in Division
Week 5: Eagles @ Panthers(1 PM EST, FOX)
Do you know how much these teams have changed since they played in Week 6 of the 2017 season? Unfortunately, it's been a turn for the worse for both. The Panthers will trot out Sam Darnold at QB this season, in the hope that he taps into that potential he had when he was drafted out of college. I actually think he'll surprise some people this season, based off the horrible systems he was playing in while on New York. But, the Eagles are still more talented then Carolina on paper, so if they can slow down CMC this game they should come out on top.
Prediction: 24-14 Eagles
Record: 3-2, 0-1 in Division
Week 6: Buccaneers @ Eagles(8:20 PM EST, FOX)
Although the Eagles have played Brady since the Super Bowl win, the fans obviously still remember. Maybe this matchup won't mean as much to the Buccaneers squad, but the Eagles always have some certain edge whenever they face the QB who lost to Nick Foles in the Super Bowl. The Buccaneers are considered ether the best or second best team in the NFL this season, fresh off a championship win. They have retained all 22 starters from that team, and have shown no signs of slowing down. I think since it's Brady and its on a short week, the Eagles will keep it close, but I can't pick them to win.
Prediction: 35-29 Buccaneers
Record: 3-3, 0-1 in Division
Week 7: Eagles @ Raiders(4:05 PM EST, FOX)
One positive of fans being back in 2021 will definitely be the fans of the teams who revealed new stadiums last season. Las Vegas is one of those teams, and I'm sure they'll have a great number of fans all season. The actual Raiders team didn't change much since last year, and the defense is counting on a lot of players to take big steps. The Eagles defense is good enough to hold Josh Jacobs and co., and they'll take the road win.
Prediction: 20-6 Eagles
Record: 4-3, 0-1 in Division
Week 8: Eagles @ Lions(1 PM EST, FOX)
The Lions reshaped their franchise this offseason, trading longtime QB Matthew Stafford with really nothing to show for his career there. Jared Goff comes in as the new QB1, and Dan Campbell comes in as the new coach. I like that the Lions are fully embracing their rebuild, and didn't try to mask it with some crazy signing or necessary draft pick. It's a good start, but simply Detroit is not good. I think Goff struggles in his first season as well.
Prediction: 30-10 Eagles
Record: 5-3, 0-1 in Division
Week 9: Chargers @ Eagles(4:05 PM EST, CBS)
Justin Hebert is a boarderline MVP candidate after shining all last season, and the surrounding cast isn't bad ether. Keenan Allen, Austin Ekler, Jared Cook and the Offensive Line is much improved. Added onto that, I thought the Chargers had one of the best drafts in the entire league, adding Rashawn Slater and Asante Samuel Jr. So, you can probably tell were this is going. The Eagles can stay in this game, but Herbert and that offense may just overwhelm them.
Prediction: 34-20 Chargers
Record: 5-4, 0-1 in Division
Week 10: Eagles @ Broncos(4:25 PM EST, CBS)
Two AFC West opponents in a row is a bit strange, but this matchup is really hard to predict. Mainly because Teddy Bridgewater will start at QB to start the season for Denver, but who knows who will be the starter by this game? Deshaun Watson, Drew Lock, Bridgewater, Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton??? Any of those options are entirely possible. Let's just assume it's Lock or Bridgewater, which leads to an Eagles win for me.
Prediction: 27-14 Eagles
Record: 6-4, 0-1 in Division
Week 11: Saints @ Eagles(1 PM EST, FOX)
The last time the Eagles played the Saints it was Jalen Hurts' debut, and he looked very impressive against the best defense in the league(at the time). To be fair, Taysom Hill was the starter that game, but the Eagles still impressed on both sides of the ball. Even with Jameis Winston set to slightly improve at QB, I don't think New Orleans has enough weapons on offense to stay in this game.
Prediction: 23-6 Eagles
Record: 7-4, 0-1 in Division
Week 12: Eagles @ Giants(1 PM EST, FOX)
A 2 game winning streak heading into the Meadowlands? Seems like smooth sailing for the Eagles, but I have an odd feeling that the Birds will drop this game. Similar to the game last year in New York, the Eagles are probably a more talented team, but I just can't see this team winning 3 straight games. Maybe Boston Scott will drop 3 touchdowns and prove me wrong, but this is just what I think.
Prediction: 16-12 Giants
Record: 7-5, 0-2 in Division
Week 13: Eagles @ Jets(1 PM EST, CBS)
Now here is an easy one. The Eagles have never lost to the Jets in their history, 11-0 all time, and the Jets have not gotten significantly better this year. I think Zach Wilson will be good, but the team around him is not great.
Prediction: 30-10 Eagles
Record: 8-5, 0-2 in Division
Week 15: Washington @ Eagles(TBD)
This is where the real season begins. The Eagles have their bye week in Week 14 and then will play 4 straight division games. Honestly, Washington is my surprise breakout team for this year. Their defense is one of the best in the NFL, and Fitzpatrick showed in Miami that he can stabilize a team with good weapons. Those weapons are Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, Antonio Gibson, Logan Thomas and more. So even at home, I have the "Football Team" coming out on top.
Prediction: 20-17 Washington
Record: 8-6, 0-3 in Division
Week 16: Giants @ Eagles(1 PM EST, FOX)
No bold predictions this time. At home, in a must win game, I would be shocked if the Eagles dropped this one. An 0-4 division record going into Week 17 would basically be a season ender, so the Eagles will be desperate. Expect a big game from Jalen Hurts.
Prediction: 23-13 Eagles
Record: 9-6, 1-3 in Division
Week 17: Eagles @ Washington(1 PM EST, FOX)
This is the game that will decide the Eagles season. I think if Washington wins this game, they will be in the drivers seat to clinch the division going into Week 18. The game being in Washington really does not make a difference, since Eagles fans already travel well there. It'll come down to the wire, and I'm sorry, but I do not see the Eagles winning. Washington's defense is just so tough, and I think I trust them more to make a play late in the game.
Prediction: 17-14 Washington
Record: 9-7, 1-4 in Division
Week 18: Cowboys @ Eagles(1 PM EST, FOX)
The scenario I am thinking here is that if Washington beats the Giants, they will clinch the division. But if they lose, the winner of this game will clinch the division. Both teams at 9-7 with something on the line, starters will be played. I'm not convinced that Dallas' roster is better then the Birds roster, but I think the Cowboys are more experienced in order to make plays late. That may seem like a cop out answer, but this late in the season, it is hard to see what ether of these teams will look like. I think Washington blows out New York anyway, and nether Dallas or Philadelphia reaches the postseason for a second straight season.
Prediction: 34-30 Cowboys
Final Record: 9-8, 1-5 in Division
So in my predictions, what hurts the Eagles in the end is their record in the NFC East. The thing is, I had them being in a lot of close games. This division is definitely up for the taking, even if I think Washington will be really good. I doubt they will be in heavy contention for the Wild Card, with the 2nd/3rd/4th teams in the NFC West being tough to beat. Here is my final NFC East Standings if you were wondering:
Washington: 11-6(L's to Chargers, Bills, Chiefs, Packers, Buccaneers, @ Cowboys)
Cowboys: 10-7(L's to Buccaneers, Chargers, Vikings, Chiefs, @ Washington, @ Giants, Saints)
Giants: 6-11(L's to @ Washington, Saints, @ Cowboys, Rams, Chiefs, Buccaneers, Dolphins, Chargers, @ Eagles, Bears, Washington)