A look at what lies ahead: Five takeaways from the Eagles regular season schedule

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The NFL officially unveiled the regular season schedules for the upcoming season, which means we’re one step closer to Football! Here’s how the road ahead looks for the Philadelphia Eagles:

While a lot can change between now and the first snaps of 2017, here are some instant takeaways from the schedule itself.

A tough start:
The Eagles open their 2017 campaign with a road game against Washington, before traveling to Kansas City in week 2 and hosting the Giants in week 3. In 2016, the Birds were 2-4 in the Division, with both of their wins coming in the last two games of the season. A big victory over the New York Giants that demonstrated the character of Carson Wentz was followed with a “meaningless” win over a “resting” Cowboys team in week 17.

Since then, the Birds’ roster has been overhauled. With the additions of Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, Chris Long and Timmy Jernigan among others, the Birds look set to contend for the NFC East crown next season. If they are to do so however, they simply have to be stronger against divisional opponents.

Not to mention that in the middle of the NFC East Sandwich, lies the Kansas City Chiefs. Jedi meets Padwan as Andy Reid faces his old offensive coordinator..and it’s safe to say that the Chiefs have emerged as one of the most consistent teams in the league, something Pederson and the Eagles are looking to emulate. Defense may be the deciding factor on the day..but this could be the biggest challenge that the Eagles face in the first half of the season.

While it’s not the ideal start to the year, we will see just what the Eagles are made of in the opening three games of the season, as they look to assert themselves as a true contender and gain a psychological edge over their rivals with the season still in its early days.

It will be gritty..and it may not be the dream 3-0 start that we saw in 2016, but the first three games will tell a lot about the Eagles genetic makeup and just how much progress they have made since the final snap of the 2016 season.

 

IT’S CHRRRISSSSTTMAAASSS:
The Eagles are set to face the Oakland Raiders on Christmas Day..AT THE LINC. A home game in Philadelphia against arguably the most exciting young team in the AFC. What’s intriguing about this matchup is that it may actually play into the Eagles favor.

The Raiders on the road..in the cold..on Christmas Day..in a hostile environment..against THAT defense?! Suddenly, the game doesn’t seem as intimidating.

Although the situation could not be anymore opposite, it’s worth noting that the last time the two teams met in the regular season was back in 2013, when Nick Foles threw a record setting 7 touchdowns in the 49-20 demolition of the Oakland outfit.

The two have met 12 times in total, with the series tied at 6-6. Derek Carr vs Carson Wentz, two of the most exciting young quarterbacks in the league with two of the most dynamic offenses, going toe-to-toe at the Linc? It almost feels like Christmas..oh wait. If one thing is for sure, it promises to be one of the most important and explosive games of the year.

 

Week 17 just got spicier:
The regular season will end on the same stage it did one year ago, at Lincoln Financial Field, hosting the Dallas Cowboys. After the Christmas Day game against Oakland, this fixture could be one that ultimately decides the Eagles playoff fate..and potentially the NFC East.

Both of the Eagles matchups against Dallas come after the Bye-week, meaning the two teams face-off twice in seven weeks. As if the rivalry couldn’t get any more intense, the postseason fate of both teams could well be on the line..and the Eagles will have a bitter taste in their mouths after having to watch Dallas run away with the division one year ago. These two games could prove to be the fiercest of the season, with the budding rivalry between Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz entering year two..and the stakes higher than ever.

 

Back-to-back on the west coast:
It’s not quite the L.A back to back that the Eagles wanted, but facing the Seahawks and Rams back-to-back certainly works in their favor, with a two-hour flight separating the two locations.

The Eagles played Seattle last season and fell to a tough 26-15 loss. Defense ruled the day as Carson Wentz hit a wall of elite talent in the way of the Seahawks Secondary. But one year later, the team have some big additions to their roster..and as Jordan Matthews said in the first issue of “- = +.”, if there is a team that the Eagles COULD be growing in the mold of with regards to a rookie quarterback and surrounding him with talent, it could be the Seahawks. The question is, can they beat them for the first time since 2011?

After that, sophomore quarterbacks Jared Goff and Carson Wentz will square off for the first time. For this reason alone, the matchup becomes one of the more intriguing of the schedule. The first and second overall picks in the 2016 NFL Draft will meet in week 14. The Rams have a tenacious defense, much like the Eagles..but their offense has been lacking in recent years. The Eagles have won their last four regular season games against the Rams, and will be looking to make it a perfect five as the race for the playoffs heats up.

 

Bye bye!
Well, it’s gone from one extreme to the other. Last season, the Eagles had the setback of enduring a Bye-week just three games into the regular season. This year, they won’t have a week off until week 10.

The good news is that the three games leading up to the Bye could be three of the easiest on the schedule. A three-game home stand sees the Eagles host the Redskins, the Niners and the Denver Broncos. Depending on how the seasons of each team are progressing, a tired Eagles team may actually have a fighting chance in all three of these games, there is certainly no reason why they couldn’t end red-hot. After all, the Linc did almost become a fortress once again last year.

The Eagles were 6-2 at home in 2016, with the Linc seeing the return of player entrances along with some other minor tweaks to help get that extra roar out of fans on game day. A late Bye may seem like a setback..but the Eagles are in prime position to rest up before two of their toughest games of the year..and two meetings with the Dallas Cowboys.

 

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

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