The NFL released its schedule Thursday night and the Eagles and Doug Pederson have a pretty favorable slate in 2016. The Mummers…not so much.
Philadelphia starts the year against the mess known as the Cleveland Browns on September 11, and finish the season at home at 1 p.m. on New Year’s Day against the Cowboys. If people weren’t going to be sloshed already…the city should think about re-routing the Mummers Parade down South Broad and Pattison this year, and no, I’m not even kidding.
In all, it’s a fair schedule, despite a mid-season stretch that will really test the team, and probably decide its playoff fate. Birds finished second in the NFC East in 2015, but start the season against two teams that finished last in their respective divisions, the Browns in Week 1, at home, and a road game at the Chicago Bears on Monday, September 19th on ESPN.
The Steelers are next on the Eagles schedule, a team that should be healthy in Week 3 and will certainly play tougher than their 10-6 record last year. But, at least that game is at home.
An early bye is never good, as teams are relatively healthy at that time of the season, but a Week 4 bye isn’t awful for a new coach looking to install a completely different system on both sides of the ball. This could give Pederson a chance to see what’s working the first three weeks and tweak what needs to be tweaked.
The Eagles get the Lions out of the bye week, who finished third in the NFC North but should be absolutely terrible this season, especially with the loss of Calvin Johnson to retirement. While any road game in the NFL is a challenge, it would be difficult to see the type of result like we had on Thanksgiving this season.
The first division game is on the road on October 16 against the defending champs, followed by a home game against the NFC North champs, Minnesota. Then comes a Sunday night tilt at Dallas the day before Halloween. Circle that one on your calendar if it isn’t already.
The Giants come a week later, on the road—three straight road games to start the division slate—before a really tough stretch against the Falcons on November 13, at Seattle on November 20, home against Green Bay on Monday, November 28 and at the Bengals on December 4. If the Eagles are 4-4 heading into that stretch—a realistic expectation—they will be lucky to be 5-7 coming out of it.
Eh, at least we get Thanksgiving off this year.
The NFL did Birds a solid though, ending the season with three of four games at home with the only road game in the final quarter of the season at Baltimore, the closest possible trip.
Philly ends the year against Washington on December 11, at the Ravens on December 18 then home against the Giants on NBC for Thursday Night Football on December 22, hosting the Giants, before a New Year’s Day tilt against the Cowboys at home to end the season.
No game on Thanksgiving. No game on Christmas—most of the games that week are on Christmas Eve, but Ravens at Steelers and Broncos at Chiefs are both on Christmas—and a game on New Year’s Day, at home, against the arch rival. Not bad. Probably not a 10-6 or better season this year.