Training camp is over. The 53-man roster is set. In only a matter of days, the Eagles will kick off the 2017 regular season. But why wait for the opener or four grueling months to find out what will happen? We’ve peered into the crystal ball while reciting “Joe Banner” three times in a row with the lights off, and the mysteries of the year ahead were revealed to us.
Be careful. Using these predictions in Vegas or on offshore sportsbooks could alter future events. For real. You could wind up seriously broke, so please don’t do that.
Week 1 @ Washington
DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon are gone. Su’a Cravens is retiring after one season. Even Nate Sudfeld thought he had a better shot on the Eagles practice squad than in Washington, where the starting quarterback will be a free agent in six months. Kirk Cousins’ departure seems inevitable, too. Cousins’ current team, on the other hand, isn’t going anywhere in 2017. Torrey Smith catches bombs (plural), but the real MVP is Sudfeld for sharing intimate details about Washington’s new-look offense.
WIN: Eagles 20, Washington 10
Week 2 @ Kansas City Chiefs
Doug Pederson vs. Andy Reid is second only to Anakin vs. Obi Wan in highly anticipated clashes between student and teacher. Carson Wentz and Alex Smith probably combine to drop back over 100 times in this one, though the game’s outcome appropriately hinges on a challenge flag. Reid miraculously wins one when replays determine Bennie Logan stopped LeGarrette Blount short of the sticks on fourth down, ending the Eagles’ comeback bid. That’s what Doug gets for calling a running play.
LOSS: Chiefs 23, Eagles 17
Week 3 vs New York Giants
The Eagles won 13 of the last 17 meetings with the Giants, including six of eight at Lincoln Financial Field, where Eli Manning is notoriously awful. Manning has completed 60.0 percent of his passes for 6.2 yards per attempt with 11 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in South Philly since 2009. He’s usually good for at least one comically bad turnover, too, so look for Fletcher Cox to come up with his first career interception and touchdown return in another romp.
WIN: Eagles 27, Giants 10
Week 4 @ Los Angeles Chargers
Do not adjust your television. The Eagles are playing an NFL game in a soccer stadium that holds fewer than 30,000 fans. That kind of environment isn’t likely to offer the Chargers much in the way of a home-field advantage. Caleb Sturgis should feel comfortable anyway. Sturgis’ brother, Nathan, played in the MLS – including parts of two seasons for the LA Galaxy – and can provide a detailed scouting report on the turf conditions. The jetlagged Eagles may need the edge.
WIN: Eagles 18, Chargers 16
Week 5 vs Arizona Cardinals
Will the Eagles go with Malcolm Jenkins, Patrick Robinson or Dexter McDougle in the slot this season? Do you think it’s really going to matter to Larry Fitzgerald? Fitzgerald averages 5.9 receptions for 99.0 yards and has 8 touchdowns in seven career games against the Birds, so no, he probably isn’t overly concerned. This is a homecoming of sorts for Temple product Haason Reddick as well, and the rookie linebacker absolutely terrorizes Carson Wentz, recording a sack and an interception.
LOSS: Cardinals 31, Eagles 28
Week 6 @ Carolina Panthers
With 11 interceptions over the past two seasons, 5-foot-11 Kurt Coleman is truly a remarkable story. Coleman is going to look decidedly unremarkable, however, when he’s trying to prevent 6-3 Alshon Jeffery from winning a jump ball 50 yards down the middle of the field. Coleman may have made a name for himself in Carolina, but after spending four seasons with the Eagles, everybody from these parts knows covering taller, athletic wide receivers deep is not one of his strengths.
WIN: Eagles 30, Panthers 19
Week 7 vs Washington
By this point, Cousins might be pressing, trying to right a sinking ship – the football team and his value across the league. That potentially bodes well for a ball hawk like Ronald Darby, who possesses both the speed to keep up Terrelle Pryor and the acumen to jump an unpolished route. Pryor is Washington’s only weapon on the outside now, and he’s no DeSean or Garcon. Darby comes up with two picks. Cousins’ days are numbered in the NFC East.
WIN: Eagles 33, Washington 17
Week 8 vs San Francisco 49ers
Reuben Foster fans aren’t going to be happy when the rookie linebacker almost single-handedly alters a game against the Eagles. Foster forces two fumbles with devastating hits over the middle, and registers a sack of Wentz for good measure. Passing on Foster looks even worse after 49ers running back Carlos Hyde plows right through Mychal Kendricks on his way into the end zone for the decisive score. Talk radio is ready for Howie Roseman’s resignation at the season’s midway point.
LOSS: 49ers 19, Eagles 11
Week 9 vs Denver Broncos
The Eagles are probably hoping Allen Barbre is in the lineup for the Broncos at this stage of the season. Barbre is almost an unintentional double agent. Sure, he’s serviceable, but once wave after wave of Cox and Tim Jernigan are coming at him, how will the 33-year-old journeyman hold up? Cox and Jernigan saw plenty of Barbre in practice and know his tendencies. Sounds like there could be a pathway to Trevor Siemian, or whoever’s under center in Denver.
WIN: Eagles 13, Broncos 6
Week 10 BYE
The Eagles have amassed a 6-3 record so far, for those of you who aren’t keeping score at home.
Week 11 @ Dallas Cowboys
Unfortunately for the Eagles, most Cowboys players will be back from their suspensions – though not all, and only provided more don’t break the law or take drugs. That’s clearly a lot to ask of this crew. Furthermore, nobody knows what will become of Ezekiel Elliott, so for all we know, the reigning NFL rushing champion’s inevitable suspension starts this week. More likely, the court case will drag on, much like how Elliott will drag Rodney McLeod across the goal line.
LOSS: Cowboys 40, Eagles 31
Week 12 vs Chicago Bears
Mark Sanchez resurfaces in Chicago, where the Bears have already exhausted their other quarterback options. That’s music to the Eagles’ ears. Sanchez’s arm is no match for Darby’s speed, while Sanchez’s penchant for hilarious decision making is no match for Jordan Hicks’ ability to be in the right place at the right time. Think Jeffery is missing any of this? Nah. He makes his former squad pay with two acrobatic touchdown grabs that can go straight to the highlight reel.
WIN: Eagles 35, Bears 13
Week 13 @ Seattle Seahawks
Eagles castoffs Marcus Smith and Matt Tobin are in Seattle now, but let’s not pretend either one is going to have anything meaningful to do with the outcome of this contest. More likely, the always stout Seahawks defense, insanely loud home crowd and nearly 3,000-mile flight will take full responsibility here. You simply don’t pick the away team to win at CenturyLink Field under any circumstances, not even for a highly imaginative blog post. That’s just inviting ridicule and scorn.
LOSS: Seahawks 24, Eagles 9
Week 14 @ Los Angeles Rams
Jared Goff enjoyed a shockingly efficient preseason, offering the Rams organization some hope passing on Wentz in the same draft wasn’t as ridiculous as it looked. Granted, this isn’t exactly Peyton Manning vs. Ryan Leaf, though it might’ve felt that way at times last season. Preseason aside, Wentz still appears to be well ahead of the curve compared to his Class of ’16 counterpart. Since the Eagles never bothered returning home from Seattle, Wentz and company should be well rested.
WIN: Eagles 26, Rams 21
Week 15 @ New York Giants
Manning is still smarting from the last time Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett put a licking on him. He learned, and is getting the ball out quickly, into the hands of Odell Beckham. Jenkins and Jalen Mills try to get physical with Beckham, but he’s simply in the zone, catching everything that comes his way. The Eagles just got back from a long trip on the west coast, and simply don’t have the legs to keep up in this one.
LOSS: Giants 21, Eagles 14
Week 16 vs Oakland Raiders
By now, Zach Ertz is on his usual December tear, and it just so happens Oakland doesn’t have anybody who can cover a tight end. Ertz goes off for double-digit catches and nearly 200 yards, making short work of a team that looks plain uninterested. After all, the game is being played on Christmas night, and the Raiders are on the opposite end of the country. Darren Sproles puts the cherry on top, returning a punt for a late touchdown.
WIN: Eagles 33, Raiders 24
Week 17 vs Dallas Cowboys
The Eagles enter the week with a 9-6 record. That probably puts them in playoff contention, possibly vying for the NFC East championship. Only Dallas stands in their way now. Elliott or no Elliott, the Cowboys aren’t as good as they were last year. The offensive line had 17 weeks to jell, but simply isn’t as good after the changes at left guard and right tackle, while the secondary is an absolute mess. Nolan Carroll falls down a couple times in coverage, allowing long touchdowns to Jeffery and Mack Hollins.
WIN: Eagles 38, Cowboys 20
Whether a 10-6 record means division title, playoffs, or narrowly missing the postseason is tough to say. It’s also not difficult to envision the Eagles losing one more and going 9-7 instead, which would really complicate the playoff picture. That being said, if the schedule plays out anything at all like this, the Eagles should be in the mix, regardless of the competition. Either way, there hasn’t been this much enthusiasm around here during the holidays in quite some time.