Well, after weeks of essentially nothing important happening with the Eagles, something newsworthy finally happened: the release of the 2015 NFL schedules. The Eagles schedule was officially released at 8 p.m. along with the rest of the NFL, although there were a few rumors going around about various matchups that would and would not occur, especially regarding the NFL opening game, which eventually went to the Steelers and Patriots. The highlights of the schedule are that they’ll get five primetime games, including two Monday Night Football games, and another game on Thanksgiving. Here’s my very early analysis on what this schedule means for the team:
The Eagles open the season on Monday Night Football against the Falcons in Atlanta. While everyone is probably already chalking that one up as a win, I would not be surprised to see that be a tight game that ends in a Falcons victory. Matt Ryan continues to win at home more often than not. He did have a losing record at home last year, but that was the first time that happened in his career. Julio Jones and Roddy White should finally both be healthy and are always a dangerous duo when they’re both on the field. They also picked up a pair of solid linebackers in Brooks Reed and Justin Durant. I’m not saying this will be a loss for Philly, but I wouldn’t chalk it up as a guaranteed win.
Philadelphia will also play all three division opponents once before their bye week, which will be in Week 8, right near the middle of the season. The soonest of these will be the team’s home opener against the Cowboys, which is set to be a very interesting one with it being DeMarco Murray‘s first game against his former team.
Three of their games before the bye week will also be night games, including two on Monday Night Football (in addition to the one against the Falcons, they’ll play the Giants too). After the MNF game against the Giants, they’ll play the Panthers on Sunday Night Football, the second consecutive year they’ll play them in a night game. Last year’s game was such a blowout in favor of the Eagles that the announcers took to making smoothies in the press box. Yeah. I expect that to be another win.
After the bye week they’ll have a tough game on the road on SNF against the Cowboys, although it’ll be nice to get two weeks to prepare for that one. The Eagles will also play three of their four AFC East opponents after the bye week after playing the Jets in Week 3. They will also have a Thanksgiving game for the second year in a row, a holiday in which they are undefeated all time. They are one of five active teams to be undefeated on Turkey Day, but their 6-0 record is by far the best among any NFL team. I like their chances.
Week 14 is an important one because it’ll be the return of LeSean McCoy to Philadelphia. While he was one of the most well-liked players on the team during his career in Philly, I have a feeling he might be met with more boos than cheers as he’s had no problem with burning bridges. The Bills game will be the first of three straight home games for the Eagles, followed by a road game against the Giants to end the season. This will be the second year in a row where they end the season against the G-Men.
The fact that they have three home games in the final four games should be favorable, as it will be easier to win at home than on the road when the playoff push is coming. I really have no idea what Giants team we’re going to see by Week 17, but I have a feeling the most likely scenario is them playing the role of the spoiler as the Eagles try to clinch a playoff spot. The Redskins in Week 16 shouldn’t be a very hard game, although really anything can happen at that point in the season. For all we know, Tim Tebow could be the team’s starting quarterback by then. And that’s almost a guaranteed loss.
The bottom line is that this looks like a pretty favorable schedule for them. All the primetime games make it very interesting and exciting for the fans, and as Bleeding Green Nation pointed out, games can now be flexed to primetime as early as Week 5 starting next year, so that number could go up. It’s obviously an easier schedule than last year, although they’ll have to play the reigning Super Bowl champs once again. We’ll see what happens, but I like their chances.