A closer look at Eagles non-divisional 2017 opponents: Away edition

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Yesterday we covered the five non-divisional opponents the Eagles are set face at home in 2017. With the glimmer of the home field advantage they seemed to be creating, things are looking sunny in Philadelphia again. Although we can expect another rollercoaster year as the Eagles face both the NFC and AFC West divisions. Along with the last place teams In both the NFC North (Chicago) and South (Carolina), three trips to the west coast are in store for the birds. The schedule is tough..but it’s not all doom and gloom. Here’s a closer look at the non NFC East teams they will face on the road.

Los Angeles Rams:
2016 record: 4-12

The move from St. Louis to the City of Angels didn’t go smoothly for now fired head coach Jeff Fisher. After giving up so much for the rights to QB Jared Goff, they kept him in plastic, snuggled away on the bench, while the rest of the team struggled to keep teams from running rampant. 2015 rookie sensation Todd Gurley, couldn’t seem to get it going either and the passing offense left much to be desired.

Despite the many struggles the Rams faced in their first year back on the west coast, it wasn’t all bad. Big wins over division rivals, Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals proved they could contend within the division. With the growth and potential of Jared Goff under the tutelage of new head man Sean McVay partnering a very scary defense, things seem to be looking up.

 

Seattle Seahawks:
2016 record: 10-5-1

The word defense has been used to describe the Seattle Seahawks since head coach Pete Carroll took over. Despite their record, they were less “legion of boom” and more “legion of gloom” as they struggled to keep offenses from moving up and down the field during games. The loss of Earl Thomas stung the team massively..and a playoff charge was cut short because of it.

Without Marshawn Lynch, the Seahawks leaned more on the arm of often injured Russell Wilson. The team had a very different feel to them, losing games they had no business in losing and vice versa. By now, Seattle is used to making noise in the playoffs, but after a 36-20 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, they’re simply resting up.

The good news is that All-Pro Safety Earl Thomas has already confirmed via tweet that he would be back. A glimpse of what could be,as far as a running game showed its face from time to time and of all they have QB Russell Wilson who is surrounded by true weapons on both sides of the ball. So you can expect the yellow brick road to the west, to go through the Emerald City once again.

 

Los Angeles Chargers:
2016 record: 5-11

Confirming just a few weeks ago that they would be leaving San Diego for a fresh start, the Chargers look to rebound from a less than stellar season. Watching the 2016 Chargers was almost confusing at times. With the ability to score points in bunches, led by Veteran QB Philip Rivers and a defense that at times would stifle the best of teams, one could argue the Chargers were the best of the worst. The argument could be made that they were better than some 10 win teams.

Arguments and opinions aside, the chargers left a lot on the bone. Week to week mistakes would kill the momentum of so many promising moments for Rivers and CO. With a fresh start, joining the Rams in Los Angeles, a new Head coach in Anthony Lynn and plenty of talent on both sides of the ball, look for the 2017 Chargers to struggle early, but get it figured out quickly. It’s hard to keep a good QB down.

 

Carolina Panthers:
2016 record: 6-10

An argument can be made that no team in the NFL had a more disappointing season than Carolina. Going 15-1 and earning a Super bowl appearance in 2015, the Panthers seemed like the obvious pick to win the NFC South and maybe repeat as NFC Champs. The shocking move to release CB Josh Norman served as a sign of bad things to come. Needless to say, the Carolina Panthers failed to resemble anything of the same as 2015. Captain and all-pro LB Luke Kuechly was lost towards the end of the season with his 2nd major concussion in as many years, while the rest of the defense struggled to stop anyone.

Offensively, they were a disappointment as well. The return of WR Kelvin Benjamin painted a dangerous picture with such an elusive quarterback at the helm, but a leaky O-line and inconsistencies plagued the team who just couldn’t seem to find a rhythm.

There were times where the power house reputation seemed to return, with big wins over the Chargers and scoring 46 points on the San Francisco 49ers. You could watch the game tape and see how dominant they could be, but much like the Chargers. Mistakes were their undoing in so many games.

Although they struggled in 2016. Its not hard to see why the Panthers are considered a dangerous team. With Cam Newton leading an offense full of weapons, and LB Luke Kuechly healthy again. 2017 could honestly be a rebound year.

 

Kansas City Chiefs:
2016 record: 12-4

The Chiefs were once again an all round threat in 2016. Led by “Big Red” himself, Head Coach Andy Reid, it’s easy to expect nothing less. Coming off  their 3rd trip to the playoffs in four seasons, Reid has the Chiefs trending in the right direction. On the offensive side of the ball QB Alex Smith has become more then just a game manager. With the emergence of WR/KR/PR/RB Tyreek hill added to all-pro WR Jeremy Maclin and All-pro TE Travis Kelce, Smith has plenty of play makers to dish the ball to.

Defensively, they are led by Pro-Bowler CB Marcus Peters And Safety Eric Berry. Violent pass rushers, Justin Houston, Tamba Hali and Dee Ford are scary coming off the edge and have consistently changed the momentum of surging offenses.

Losing in the divisional round to the Pittsburgh Steelers this year was devastating for the Chiefs. But with all this talent coming right back in 2017, the future seems bright In Kansas City.

 

Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

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