The NFL released their full schedule for the 2021 season last night, and Eagles fans are eagerly pouring over each of the team’s 17 slated games—as is tradition this time of year. With Vegas setting their win total at a measly 6.5 (tied third-lowest in the league), it’s fair to say this season carries lower expectations than the past few for the Eagles.
With that, let’s breakdown each matchup and offer our way-too-early predictions for the season.
@ Atlanta Falcons — Sunday, 1 pm, FOX/WIP
Matt Ryan has a QB rating of 83.2 in 8 career games vs the Eagles—the lowest mark he owns against any NFL team. A stat like that is obviously meaningless, but it’s worth noting. I’ll be curious to see whether or not Julio is still a Falcon by Week 1, but even if he’s gone they have too many weapons for this secondary to deal with on that fast turf. Arthur Smith wins this battle of rookie head coaches.
Ryan: L (0-1) — Brian: W (1-0)
Vs. San Francisco 49ers — Sunday, 1 pm, FOX/WIP
San Fran is just a year removed from a Super Bowl appearance, and a new quarterback and healthy roster should put them right back in that conversation. It’s hard to pick against the Eagles in a home-opener, but outside of the QB position (toss-up) the 49ers have the advantage at every spot on the field.
Ryan: L (0-2) — Brian: L (1-1)
@ Dallas Cowboys — Monday, 8:15 pm, ESPN/WIP
Dallas and freshly paid Dak Prescott have a top-10 offense on paper, but their defense still leaves plenty to be desired. If the Eagles enter this matchup 0-2—which is how I have them starting here—they’ll be the more desperate team. Making his second career start in Dallas, I think Hurts avenges a tough home-state debut from last season.
Ryan: W (1-2) — Brian: W (2-1)
Vs. Kansas City Chiefs — Sunday, 1 pm, CBS/WIP
Andy makes his second return to Philly and barring a surprise he’ll walk out of here with another win. Even if the Eagles secondary is better than what I expect it to be, they won’t be up to the task of slowing down Mahomes and this offense.
Ryan: L (1-3) — Brian: L (2-2)
@ Carolina Panthers — Sunday, 1 pm, FOX/WIP
Matt Rhule and the Panthers are building something nice in Carolina in the post-Cam era, and I’m a big fan of the Darnold trade. With that said, I have the Eagles at 1-3 here and staring down a matchup with Brady the following week—the hungrier team wins in this one.
Ryan: W (2-3) — Brian: W (3-2)
vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Thursday, 8:20 pm, FOX/NFLN/WIP
The defending Super Bowl champions and Tom Brady come to Philly for what could be his final time—though who can really say for sure. While he’s no longer a Patriot and the Eagles won’t be led by Nick Foles, I promise you Tom is still stewing on that 2017 SB loss a whole four years and two rings later. Expect him to exact revenge here, and on national television no less.
Ryan: L (2-4) — Brian: L (3-3)
vs. Las Vegas Raiders — Sunday, 4:05 pm, FOX/WIP
The Raiders 8-8 record last season felt like a mirage. This is a bad football team that continues to make puzzling draft decisions. Sooner or later those poor decisions manifest on-field, and in a suddenly tough division I think we’ll see Vegas go belly up this season. A big win for the Eagles here coming off a few extra days rest.
Ryan: W (3-4) — Brian: W (4-3)
vs. Detroit Lions — Sunday, 1 pm, FOX/WIP
The Lions are poised to be one of the worst teams in football if not the worst. While I won’t guarantee the Eagles are going to be much better, they shouldn’t have a problem taking care of business at home here. Give me the Sirianni-Hurts combo over Dan Campbell-Jared Goff any day.
Ryan: W (4-4) — Brian: W (5-3)
vs. Los Angeles Chargers — Sunday, 4:05 pm, CBS/WIP
The Chargers have a fun roster and arguably the best quarterback under the age of 25 in all of football. I flirted with the idea of an Eagles-win given LA’s cross-country trip for a 1 o’clock kick-off, but I ultimately can’t see Hurts out-dueling Herbert and the better roster—the Eagles two-game win streak comes to an end here.
Ryan: L (4-5) — Brian: L (5-4)
vs. Denver Broncos — Sunday, 4:25 pm, CBS/WIP
Denver hopes Teddy Bridgewater can be the steady hand to keep their offense afloat for what figures to be a strong defense in 2021. If this matchup was at home I’d be chalking up an Eagles victory, but given the altitude advantage in Mile High amplifying their already strong defense in this matchup, I can’t see Hurts and company putting up many points here. Denver may not score much either, but I think they’ll score enough.
Ryan: L (4-6) — Brian: W (6-4)
vs. New Orleans Saints — Sunday, 1 pm, FOX/WIP
Despite the fact that Drew Brees is no longer under center the Saints have one of the most complete teams in football. You could convince me that NOLA is better off with Jamies than late-career Brees, and even though this game comes at the Linc, it should still be a pretty lopsided affair.
Ryan: L (4-7) — Brian: L (6-5)
vs. New York Giants — Sunday, 1 pm, FOX/WIP
The Giants (or at least their fan base) are making something out of the Eagles role in allowing Washington to win the division in Week 17 last season, and leaping them for DeVonta Smith in the draft seems to have only fueled that fire. While on one hand I can’t blame them, it’s hard to take this sort of beef seriously when it comes from a six-win team toward a four-win team—the NFC East is a mess and any of these teams calling each other out just feels pathetic.
Ryan: W (5-7) — Brian: W (7-5)
vs. New York Jets — Sunday, 1 pm, CBS/WIP
Another opponent with a new HC/QB combination, I like what the Jets have there, but the roster is a mess. After getting a win in the Meadowlands last week, the Eagles return a week later for seconds.
Ryan: W (6-7) — Brian: W (8-5)
It’s always nice to have a bye late in the season.
vs. Washington Football Team — Saturday/Sunday, TBD
The Birds won’t face the defending NFC East champs until week 15, so at this point the divisional race will be pretty clear. While I don’t expect the Eagles to be involved, I think Washington is the most complete roster in the division outside of QB, and if Fitzpatrick is their starter for a season then they’re a shoo-in to win at least 9 games. I realize we’re at home, coming of the bye week, and fighting for our season here, but I see them dropping this matchup to the better team.
Ryan: L (6-8) — Brian: L (8-6)
vs. New York Giants — Sunday, 1 pm, FOX/WIP
Another date with the salty Giants. I think the Eagles win in a blowout as New York realizes Daniel Jones isn’t the answer at quarterback.
Ryan: W (7-8) — Brian: W (9-6)
vs. Washington Football Team — Sunday, 1 pm, FOX/WIP
Two wins in three weeks against the same opponent is no small task, but with the Eagles gladly tanking for draft position and Washington fighting for the NFC East crown, this feels like another loss.
Ryan: L (7-9) — Brian: W (10-6)
vs. Dallas Cowboys — Sunday, 1 pm, FOX/WIP
I actually have the Eagles picking up the W and sweeping Dallas in 2021. While the Cowboys should have an explosive offense, the defense still leaves a lot to be desired, and Hurts will have his best performances in these matchups. Also Dallas sucks.
Ryan: W (8-9) — Brian: L (10-7)
Ultimately the Eagles schedule isn’t all that difficult relative to the past few seasons. If the team stays healthy and things break their way then a 10-win season isn’t out of the question. If anything, we should expect the unexpected in the NFC East. Nonetheless, this roster feels more like a 7 or 8-win group.