After my predictions for Weeks 1-4 yesterday, I decided that they’d go 2-2 to start out the season. This isn’t the greatest start for a division champion from last year, but their two losses were to two other division champs, so it wouldn’t worry me too much if they lost to the Colts and 49ers. This stretch of the season should be a little bit better for the Eagles though.
After starting 2-2, they will get a bit of a break with the St. Louis Rams in Week 5. The Rams did ok last year, especially after losing starting QB Sam Bradford for the season early on. Well, not that Bradford is the greatest option at QB, but it’s still rough. Either way, the Rams might possibly win the award for the quietest offseason this year. The only real move that they made was re-signing OT Roger Saffold, who they would’ve lost anyway had he not failed a physical with the Raiders. What I’m basically saying is that the Rams shouldn’t stand much of a chance in this one. I can see the Eagles starting out flat and struggling to win, but in the end, they need to win. They can’t afford to lose easy games this year. Verdict: win (3-2).
The Eagles then get their second division matchup of the season, and it appears on Sunday Night Football. This should also be an awesome game as the Eagles take on the Giants. Like the Rams, the Giants also finished 7-9 and struggled at the QB position. The problem with the Giants is that they still have the same overrated QB. The positive side for them is that they quietly built up a solid group of guys to add to their roster this offseason, such as CBs Walter Thurmond and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, DE Robert Ayers, and KR Trindon Holliday. The Giants could be a lot better next year, but I don’t see it being enough to take down the Eagles in this one. Verdict: win (4-2)
Bye Week. This is a good timing for a bye week. If they lose to the Giants, it will give them a week to recover in time for their next opponent, which will be an important game for NFC record if the Eagles are unable to win the NFC East.
Next the Eagles have the Cardinals, who were arguably the best team to miss the playoffs last year. They finished 10-6 and had impressive wins over Carolina, Indianapolis, and Seattle. How did they not make the playoffs? Simple, they were in the NFC West, arguably the best division in the NFL. Their weak point is their offense, which only had one 100-yard rusher last season and only 4 100-yard receivers. Plus, they lost their top RB in Rashard Mendenhall to retirement. They signed guys like Ted Ginn Jr. and Antonio Cromartie in free agency, but those guys are more just “names” than actual play-makers at this stage of their careers. I think the Eagles can win this game solely because they have a week to rest beforehand. Verdict: win (5-2)
The Eagles finish this stretch with a game against the worst team in the NFL last season, the Houston Texans. I don’t think any amount of free agents would be enough to fix the Texans, who are looking bad in many positions. And luckily for the Eagles, the best guy they signed in free agency was Garrett Graham. Oh boy, now they’re scary! And they already had him anyway. Obviously they’ll be able to improve through the draft, but I don’t think any group of rookies will make enough of an impact to help them win. This one should be pretty easy. Verdict: win (6-2)
So, after another four games, the Eagles move from 2-2 to 6-2, or an average team to one of the best teams in the conference. At this point they’d likely be leading the division, and they’ll have two division wins under their belt already. The next stretch of games will be a lot more challenging, so picking up wins here is imperative. The Eagles are on track to improve their team more than most teams, but because of their very challenging schedule, they likely won’t finish much better than last year.
Of course, I’m just a random Eagles fan, check out what some beat writers have to say:
— Eliot Shorr-Parks (@EliotShorrParks) April 24, 2014
A week-by-week look at the Eagles' 2014 schedule with some initial thoughts and early predictions: http://t.co/Ih6ETt3U87
— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) April 24, 2014