Looking at the Eagles' 2019 opponents, it was tempting to pick them to go 16-0 in the regular season. They're not quite that good - even if a trip to the Super Bowl is well within reach this year - it's just the schedule sets up very nicely.
Almost all of the Eagles' toughest games are at home (New England, Chicago, Seattle and one against Dallas), and between the AFC and NFC East, there's probably seven that would be automatic wins in most projections.
Ultimately, I have the Eagles going 13-3. I don't think they win fewer than 11 as long as a certain somebody manages to stay off the injury report, and I can see a path to 14. After much careful consideration though, 13 seems like a reasonable win total.
Here's how they get there.
Week 1 vs. Washington
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Trent Williams and Jordan Reed: probably out for Washington. Case Keenum, Ereck Flowers and Wendell Smallwood: in! This is almost akin to a prestigious college opening its schedule with Little Sisters of the Poor – which is nice, because Carson Wentz could use the warm-up after skipping the entire preseason.
Week 2 @ Falcons
Matt Ryan dreads playing his "hometown" team. No non-division opponent has sacked Atlanta's quarterback more, and the Eagles hit him 25 times between the last two meetings alone ('17 playoffs, '18 opener). This is the one game of the year you know Jim Schwartz is going to blitz, and by the fourth quarter, Ryan doesn't want to hang in the pocket.
Week 3 vs. Lions
Miles Sanders might be well on his way to earning Rookie of the Year honors with his rushing, but his ability in pass protection will be put to the test against a Detroit defense that's better than advertised. Fortunately for the Eagles, the Penn State product has demonstrated he's capable of handling his assignments thus far.
Week 4 @ Green Bay
Hard to complain about a schedule that has the Eagles traveling no farther west than Dallas, but a Thursday road trip to Lambeau is a tough spot. Aaron Rodgers wins 78 percent of the time at home and throws one interception per every 2.5 games there, which doesn't bode well for a tired and sluggish defense.
Week 5 vs. Jets
Fact that will be beaten to death the week of the game: the Jets have never beaten the Eagles in 10 previous regular season meetings. Make it 11. Derek Barnett offers a reminder of why he was a first-round pick with a sack and a forced fumble.
Week 6 @ Vikings
Minnesota was kind to the city of Philadelphia in 2018, laying down in the NFC Championship game, hosting the Eagles' Super Bowl championship, folding again in Week 17 last season – even sending Jimmy Butler to the Sixers. Kirk Cousins promises to be the gift that keeps on giving in '19, throwing a pivotal interception to Sidney Jones.
Week 7 @ Cowboys
The Eagles were doomed by slow starts against Dallas last season, but not this time. Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert impose their will on the supposed strength of the Cowboys' defense in the linebackers and don't relent. The tight end duo combines for almost 200 yards receiving and a couple of scores in a game that isn't as close as the final suggests.
Week 8 @ Bills
Trap game? The Eagles have to beware they don't come out flat off an emotional win, especially against a former assistant out to prove his old team gave up on him too quick in Sean McDermott. In the end, Buffalo simply doesn't have the talent to complete the upset, and Alshon Jeffery pulls down a highlight-reel, game-winner in the fourth quarter.
Week 9 vs. Bears
Special teams bites Chicago again. This time it's a Darren Sproles punt return for a touchdown to snap the Eagles out of their early sleepwalk. With Nigel Bradham spying Mitch Trubisky, the defense provides more than enough of a cushion to overcome the sluggish start.
Week 10 BYE
Week 11 vs. Patriots
It's heresy to suggest Tom Brady is declining, but Tom Brady is declining. He's not built for shootouts anymore, nor is New England's offense, so when it's time to put the ball in the air to play catch-up and he has to throw to somebody other than James White, Malcolm Jenkins is there to pounce with a couple picks.
Week 12 vs. Seahawks
The Eagles haven't fared well against Russell Wilson in the past – winless in three meetings. Granted, the last two were in Seattle, but he always seems to confound their pass rush. There's a fun back and forth between two great quarterbacks, only without the desired result.
Week 13 @ Dolphins
The league's least talented roster hosts possibly its most talented, to comedic results. Jordan Howard enjoys his best game as an Eagle, rushing for 150 and ripping off a couple of long touchdown runs, and Ronald Darby records a pair of interceptions.
Week 14 vs. Giants
New York is a couple games under .500, but still technically in the playoff picture, so you can be sure Eli Manning is starting. Good news for the Eagles, who have won nine of the last 10 in the series – plus, Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham are always happy to visit an old friend.
Week 15 @ Washington
By this point, Dwayne Haskins is the starting QB, provided he's survived this long behind Washington's O-line. But with little talent around the rookie, the offense isn't much better. DeSean Jackson burns his former team with a pair of long catches and a TD in another romp.
Week 16 vs. Cowboys
The Eagles are coasting toward the playoffs, and while they're not resting their starters against Dallas, Doug Pederson isn't exactly throwing the kitchen sink at them, either. A desperate Cowboys squad rides Ezekiel Elliott to the tune of 30 touches to escape the Linc with a win, though the workload will take its toll on the running back in January.
Week 17 @ Giants
With either a first or second seed locked up, it's Nate Sudfeld time in the Meadowlands. Sudfeld quickly builds a nice a rapport with J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, who goes over 100 yards with a TD, while Daeshon Hall and Shareef Miller terrorize Daniel Jones on the other side of the ball.
Following the bye, the Eagles could draw one of a handful of teams they've already played in the divisional round – Dallas, Green Bay or Seattle are all logical bets. They lost to all three this season, which will no doubt be the source of much anxiety, but get eventually get their revenge and advance to the NFC Championship, where the Saints await.
At that point, the talent levels are so close, anything could happen. With any kind of reasonably good health though, the Eagles look like one of the best four teams in football and have a shot at not only reaching the Super Bowl, but winning for the second time in three years.
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