Having the toughest schedule in the NFL going into a new season is never easy. For the Philadelphia Eagles, traversing through the hardest schedule in football will be the first goal that should culminate in the team trying to get back to the Super Bowl for the second straight year.
But just because a team has the league’s toughest schedule doesn’t mean that will be the case throughout the regular season.
In today’s NFL landscape, playoff teams are replaced with up-and-coming franchises every single year. In the last two seasons, seven teams have made the playoffs and missed the playoffs from year to year. So while the Eagles are set to take on nine playoff teams from last year, that doesn’t mean all nine are going to be playing the same type of good football that got them to that point.
The Eagles are scheduled to face off this season against the AFC East and NFC West along with their usual NFC East opponents. Add in games against Minnesota, Kansas City, and Tampa Bay as part of winning the division last year and you have a schedule full of marquee matchups.
But injuries and luck can turn on any team throughout the season. Minnesota went 11-0 in one-score games last season. New York and Dallas finished a combined 13-6-1 in one-score games. Luck plays a part in one-score games and clutch performance can be cruel at the worst possible times.
In short, there’s no guarantee the same teams that were good last year are going to be good this year when they take on the Eagles.
Will the Eagles be as dominant in 2023?
Of course, the same argument could be made for Philadelphia. They were one of the healthiest teams last season due to their training regimen and went 7-1 in one-score games. Is there a guarantee that the team will be as healthy as they were last season, or play the same kind of clutch football that they played last season?
Inevitably, it will come down to Jalen Hurts and Nick Sirianni. Sirianni’s coaching staff has done an excellent job of keeping players healthy and prepared for the gruesome season that is the NFL. Hurts on the other hand is the franchise quarterback and could be the deciding factor in several games this year.
If both are on their game, the toughest schedule may not be residing in Philly, but whoever ends up having them on their schedule.
AP Photo/Chris Szagola, file