The NFL regular season is officially upon us. Thursday night will be opening night with the Dallas Cowboys and the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers taking center stage.
The rest of the NFL games will be played this weekend, with our Philadelphia Eagles traveling down to Atlanta for a 1 o’clock contest against the Falcons.
With the season set to kick off in less than a week, it’s time for our season predictions for the Eagles. Let’s get right into it.
Week 1: Eagles at Falcons
In year’s past, the Falcons have been unbeatable at home, but they’ve posted a .375 winning percentage since 2018. Nevertheless, Atlanta still presents a formidable offense. Matt Ryan is a veteran quarterback who’s starting to get underrated, wideout Calvin Ridley is among the league’s best, and rookie tight end Kyle Pitts should be a matchup nightmare all season.
I expect the Eagles defense to be a strong unit in 2021, especially along the defensive line. Atlanta’s offensive line is one of the worst in the league and they’ll be dealing with some injuries up front as well.
As for Atlanta’s defense, they’re not particularly good. Unlike the Eagles’ D, Atlanta’s defensive line is the weakness of their unit. There will be a handful of games this season where the Eagles win solely because of their superior line play on both sides of the ball, and this Week 1 contest will be one of them.
24-13, WIN (1-0)
Week 2: Eagles vs. 49ers
The 49ers are coming off a disappointing 6-10 record last season, but they dealt with an enormous amount of injuries. They’re just two years removed from a Super Bowl appearance and they’re still one of the better teams in the NFC when fully healthy.
Jimmy Garoppolo will probably be their starter since this game is early in the season, but expect to see some Taysom Hill-esque packages with Trey Lance. From top to bottom, San Fran is a stout team on both sides of the ball. The Eagles defense should be able to slow Kyle Shanahan’s attack a bit, but I don’t expect Nick Sirianni’s offense to be able to put many points up on the board.
The Eagles wind up losing their home opener.
14-20, LOSS (1-1)
Week 3: Eagles at Cowboys
The first divisional game of the season and the first of only two prime time showdowns for the Eagles, Week 3 will be a tough early test for this young Eagles squad.
Dallas presents one of the most explosive offenses in the league. With a fully healthy Dak Prescott, Mike McCarthy’s offense should be firing on all cylinders. This will be a tough matchup for Jonathan Gannon’s defense. Dallas’ offensive line isn’t the dominant unit it once was, but they’re by no means weak. Fletcher Cox and Co. will need to show up for the Eagles to have a chance in this one.
On the opposite side of the ball, Dallas still has one of the weakest defenses in football entering the 2021 season. New defensive coordinator Dan Quinn may change that, but they still lack the pieces to be a formidable unit. Jalen Hurts should have a nice day against Dallas in this one, and I expect DeVonta Smith to be very active. This may be his breakout performance.
But, I don’t see Sirianni’s offense being able to keep up with Dallas. Eagles lose a tight one in a North Texas shoot out.
27-31, LOSS (1-2)
Week 4: Eagles vs. Chiefs
The toughest matchup of the year, Andy Reid will travel back to Philly for the second time since he’s become the head coach in Kansas City. This time, he’ll be accompanied by the best quarterback in the league, the best tight end in the league, and the best deep threat in the league. Should be a good time!
Since Patrick Mahomes took the reigns as the starting quarterback, Kansas City is a ridiculous 38-10 with two Super Bowl appearances and one Super Bowl win. And they’re 20-4 on the road in that time. Just insane consistency.
The Eagles crowd will surely get up for this one, but this young Eagles team just isn’t ready to pull off this kind of upset so early in the season. Chiefs win pretty handedly.
20-34, LOSS (1-3)
Week 5: Eagles at Panthers
Carolina is certainly trending in the right direction as an organization, but I see this as a big bounce back game for the Eagles. Gannon’s defense should be able to hold Sam Darnold and Co. in check for most of the game, while Hurts and Miles Sanders lead the way on the ground for a gutsy victory. Not to mention, Carolina has only won nine home games over the past three years.
19-10, WIN (2-3)
Week 6: Eagles vs. Buccaneers
Tampa Bay is returning every starter from their Super Bowl team a year ago. They’re not unbeatable, but they found a groove at the end of last year that will probably carry over into this year. Some of the top tier teams will have their chances to knock Tampa Bay off their pedestal, but Philly won’t be one of them.
Tampa is better at nearly every position except for defensive line. This could be an ugly loss for Sirianni’s group, but one that should serve as a learning experience for this young team.
24-35 LOSS (2-4)
Week 7: Eagles at Raiders
While traveling all the way across the country is never ideal, the Eagles will be coming off a Thursday night game, giving them an extra few days to get acclimated. And they’ll be facing a Las Vegas team that isn’t very good. Their defense is horrible and Jalen Hurts should feast against it. Everyone should get in on the action in this game offensively.
Philly’s defense should also be able to hold Derek Carr in check. They don’t have many electrifying weapons outside of Darren Waller and Henry Ruggs. I expect the defensive line to wreak havoc and stymie their rushing attack.
Eagles get their most convincing win of the season in this one.
38-17 WIN (3-4)
Week 8: Eagles at Lions
By all accounts, the Lions are one of the worst teams in the NFL. But they’ve given the Eagles trouble over the past few seasons. In their last three matchups, the Lions have gone 3-0. The Eagles haven’t defeated Detroit since 2013 with Michael Vick under center.
I wouldn’t be shocked if the Lions gave Philly some trouble in this contest as well, especially when you consider the Eagles are coming off a huge victory out in Vegas. This has trap game written all over it, but I think this young group is mentally strong enough to overcome that.
After being down early, Philly comes from behind to win a tight one in Detroit.
24-21 WIN (4-4)
Week 9: Eagles vs. Chargers
The Chargers have all the makings of a playoff team entering the 2021 season. Justin Herbert is coming off an outstanding rookie season and he has a plethora of weapons to work with on the offensive side of the ball. With new head coach Brandon Staley at the helm, the coaching deficiency that plagued LA over the past few years shouldn’t be an issue.
Coming off two straight wins, I think the Eagles come back to Earth a bit in this one. Regardless of the fact that it’ll be at home, LA has a lot of fire power and a very underrated defense. Eagles fall below .500 with a loss.
17-27 LOSS (4-5)
Week 10: Eagles at Broncos
Mile High is never an easy trip, and Denver boasts one of the better defenses in football entering the 2021 season. Teddy Bridgewater should bring more stability to Denver’s offense, and they have a several nice weapons on that side of the ball. Ultimately, Gannon’s defense will decide the outcome of this game. If they can get after Bridgewater and make him uncomfortable then the Eagles should be able to create turnovers and give Hurts short fields to work with.
This one will likely be a low scoring affair with the Eagles coming out on top.
20-13, WIN (5-5)
Week 11: Eagles vs. Saints
It seems like the Saints are being completely overlooked heading into this year. Without Drew Brees and with Michael Thomas entering the year injured, it’s not hard to see why. But Sean Payton is still one of the smartest offensive minds in the game and he should be able get the most out of Jameis Winston.
Payton will also have his team ready to play in this one, coming off a terrible loss to the Eagles last season in The Linc. Because of that, I don’t envision the Eagles coming out of this one victorious. Payton will out-coach Sirianni in this one by a landslide.
18-26, LOSS (5-6)
Week 12: Eagles at Giants
Now we’re getting into the thick of things with five divisional games remaining on the schedule. The first one will be up in New York against Joe Judge’s Giants. The Giants are not a good football team and I don’t expect them to be in playoff contention at this point in the season, whereas the Eagles still have a fighting chance.
I’m also not a believer in Judge as a head coach. His style just doesn’t work in today’s NFL and his players will probably be mentally/physically exhausted this late in the season. Eagles win big in this one.
28-13, WIN (6-6)
Week 13: Eagles at Jets
Two straight games in New York, two straight wins. The Jets have some promise heading into this season, but there are still way too many holes across the board. The Eagles should win this one without much of an issue. And with this win, the Eagles will go over .500 for the first time since Week 1.
24-10, WIN (7-6)
Week 14: BYE
Having the bye week this late in the season is nice, and it’ll give the Eagles some much needed rest before making a playoff push.
Week 15: Eagles vs. Washington
Washington will be a decent team this season. Ron Rivera is a good coach, Ryan Fitzpatrick is a solid veteran option who always seems to give the Eagles fits, and their defense is as good as any in the NFL. But I like the Eagles defense just as much as Washington’s, so this could end up being a defensive affair with a few turnovers for both teams.
This will be the first matchup between these two teams in a three-week span. At home, I like the Eagles to take the first one.
16-13, WIN (8-6)
Week 16: Eagles vs. Giants
At this point, the Giants will be completely checked out. I expect the Eagles to win this one handedly yet again.
31-17 WIN (9-6)
Week 17: Eagles vs. Washington
The Eagles are on a four-game winning streak at this point. After a slow start to the season, Hurts and Sirianni have found a groove, and their defense has been playing well all year.
This game will likely have playoff implications for both teams. I picked the Eagles to win their first matchup, but I expect Washington to return the favor in Week 17. Washington wins a close one against Philly.
20-27, LOSS (9-7)
Week 18: Eagles vs. Cowboys
This is it. This could very well be a playoff game in itself. The Eagles will be the hotter team entering this contest and in front of the Philly crowd, they’ll be firing on all cylinders.
Dallas still has their impressive crop of offensive weapons, but it won’t be enough to overcome the Eagles defensive attack. I expect the Eagles to win this one and get to double-digit wins for the first time since 2017.
23-16 WIN (10-7)
I pegged the Eagles as a potential 10-win team when the schedule first came out, and my confidence in that hasn’t wavered much. They have great players along their lines, and young, budding potential all over the field. Nick Sirianni has grown on me as well — his team seems to have bought into what he’s selling.
After a slow start against a handful of playoff teams, the Eagles take advantage of a weak second-half schedule and close out the year 5-1. Onto the playoffs!
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