They went 10-6 in Rich Kotite’s first season. They went 10-6 and made the playoffs in Ray Rhodes’ first season. They went 10-6 and won the NFC East in Chip Kelly’s first season.
It took Andy Reid and Doug Pederson two years to record double-digit wins, and in Pederson’s case lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl championship.
But the point remains: When you fire your coach in the NFL, you can turn things around quickly ... if you hire the right coach, find the right quarterback, build a decent defense and stay healthy (and have the easiest schedule in the league).
Have the Eagles done those things? And can Nick Sirianni’s unique training camp style lead to a healthy season?
Ultimately, the Eagles will go as far as Jalen Hurts and Sirianni take them, and since they’re both huge unknowns, it’s tough to predict much of anything.
But we're going to do it anyway.
Here’s our week-by-week Eagles 2021 predictions!
Week 1, at Falcons (Sunday, Sept. 12): A manageable opener. The Falcons used to be unbeatable at home, but they’re just 9-15 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium the last three years for a .375 home winning percentage since 2018. The Falcons are also led by a rookie coach, and Matt Ryan is still pretty good but nowhere near the QB he used to be. Eagles open the Sirianni Era with a dub. WIN (1-0)
Week 2, vs. 49ers (Sunday, Sept. 19): The 49ers are coming off a disappointing 6-10 season, but they had more injuries than the Eagles a year ago and are still one of the three or four best teams in the NFC when healthy. Kyle Shanahan is a little overrated as a brilliant offensive mind. The Niners have only been ranked in the top 20 in scoring once in his four years as head coach, but their defense is formidable and will be a little too much for Hurts and the Eagles’ young WRs. LOSS (1-1)
Week 3, at Cowboys (Monday, Sept. 27): The Eagles have lost their last three at AT&T Stadium, and that’s a tough place to play for a young QB. It doesn’t hurt that Hurts got a start in Dallas last year, but I don’t think this is a game the Eagles are quite ready to win early in the season in Arlington. LOSS (1-2)
Week 4, vs. Chiefs (Sunday, Oct. 3): A tall task against Reid and a Chiefs team that’s 38-10 the last three years with two Super Bowl appearances. The Chiefs are an NFL-best 44-20 (.688) on the road in eight years under Big Red and a ridiculous 20-4 the last three years. Another tough early-season challenge. LOSS (1-3)
Week 5, at Panthers (Sunday, Oct. 10): Trying to find some wins early in the season isn’t easy, but the Panthers don’t scare me, even in Charlotte, where they’ve won just nine home games the last three years. If it comes down to Sam Darnold vs. Hurts, I’ll take Hurts in any stadium. WIN (2-3)
Week 6, vs. Buccaneers (Thursday, Oct. 14): This Tampa game ends a rough opening six-game stretch. I don’t think the Bucs are unbeatable and there are things to consider other than the QB matchup, but Tom Brady is 15-1 since 2014 against opposing quarterbacks who are 23 and younger, with the one loss coming in 2019 to Lamar Jackson, who was on his way to MVP honors. Never count the Eagles out at home, but this is a tough one. LOSS (2-4)
Week 7, at Raiders (Sunday, Oct. 24): Hard to believe, but the Raiders haven’t been ranked in the top 20 in scoring defense since 2003. That’s 17 consecutive years ranked 20th or worse in points allowed. That’s not going to change this year either. Oh and by the way, they’re also the 24th-ranked offense in the NFL since offensive genius Jon Gruden returned as head coach in 2018. This isn’t a good football team, and I think this is where DeVonta Smith has his first monster game. WIN (3-4)
Week 8, at Lions (Sunday, Oct. 31): Another road game immediately after a West Coast trip is not easy. I’m not the world’s biggest Jared Goff fan, but he’s played well against the Eagles — his 101.1 passer rating is sixth-highest all-time — and the Lions always seem to give the Eagles trouble. Can’t believe I’m saying this, but … LOSS (3-5)
Week 9, vs. Chargers (Sunday, Nov. 7): The Eagles get their first look at Justin Herbert and another rookie head coach in Brandon Staley. Herbert’s going to be a stud, but this will be the Chargers’ third cross-country road trip of the year, and getting back home to the cozy confines of the Linc gives the Eagles the edge. WIN (4-5)
Week 10, at Broncos (Sunday, Nov. 14): I’m not sure where to go with this one. The Broncos won’t be very good, but it’s a tough trip, tough place to play, altitude is always a factor in Denver, and it’s the Eagles’ third road game and second trip across the country in four weeks, and that’s a lot. LOSS (4-6)
Week 11, vs. Saints (Sunday, Nov. 21): I kept going back and forth on the Saints. Drew Brees is retired, the game is at the Linc and Hurts has already beaten the Saints once. But the Saints are still really talented on both sides of the ball, and I’m going to go against the grain here and pick New Orleans. LOSS (4-7)
Week 12, at Giants (Sunday, Nov. 28): Now the fun begins. The Giants will be coming off a short week after a Monday night game against the Buccaneers in Tampa, which tilts the scale in the Eagles’ favor in their first NFC East game in two months. Big road division win gets the Eagles rolling. WIN (5-7)
Week 13, at Jets (Sunday, Dec. 5): The Jets have never beaten the Eagles. They’re 0-11 all-time, including 0-5 at home. That ain’t changing, and the Eagles have their first winning streak of the year. WIN (6-7)
Week 14, bye week
Week 15, vs. Washington (TBD): The first of two games against Washington in a three-week span. Washington is going to be decent. Ron Rivera is a solid coach, their defense is legit and Ryan Fitzpatrick always seems to play well against the Eagles, no matter what team he’s with. Tough matchup, but I like the Eagles at home. WIN (7-7)
Week 16, vs. Giants (Sunday, Dec. 26): The Eagles have swept the Giants seven of the last 12 seasons, and they’re 20-5 vs. the Giants in their last 25 meetings. New coach, new quarterback, new everything, but I just don’t see the Giants beating the Eagles this year. I’m going sweep and the late-season winning streak reaches four. WIN (8-7)
Week 17, at Washington (Sunday, Jan. 2): The winning streak ends in Landover, but after a slow start the Eagles are at .500 going into the season finale against the Cowboys at the Linc, and with a rookie coach and new quarterback that's not a bad place to be. LOSS (8-8)
Week 18, vs. Cowboys (Sunday, Jan. 9): The Eagles finish on a strong note with their third straight home win over the Cowboys to lock up a nine-win season and an increase of five wins over their nightmarish 2020 season. The Eagles take advantage of a soft second-half schedule and increasingly impactful performances from their young offensive weapons to go 5-1 in their last nine games after a 4-7 start and win the NFC East for the third time in five years. See you in the playoffs! WIN (9-8)