May 12, 2023
Is it a semi-pointless exercise to predict each regular season game's outcome as early as May, a day after the schedule was released? Yes, yes it is. Because I'm a hack sellout, let's just go ahead and do it anyway.
• Week 1: Eagles at Patriots: The Pats will be honoring Tom Brady during their 2023 home opener in what they are calling the "Thank You Tom Game."
12 is coming home.@TomBrady will be honored at our home opener at @GilletteStadium.— New England Patriots (@Patriots) May 11, 2023
Full game info tonight at 8:00 PM on @nflnetwork. pic.twitter.com/ot2iEO7EDa
The Pats are 25-25 in the three seasons since Brady left for Tampa, which proves to some degree that Brady — not Bill Belichick — was the driving force behind New England's dynasty.
There were some murmurs earlier this offseason that current Pats starter Mac Jones was available for a trade after a disappointing 2022 season. He'll have to watch as Pats fans fawn over Brady, which will no doubt be a distraction.
• Week 2: Vikings at Eagles: The Eagles obliterated the Vikings in a primetime Week 2 game last season. The 2022 Vikes went 13-4 but had a -6 point differential. Regression is coming for them in 2023, with lame duck Kirk Cousins probably playing his last season as Minny's starter.
• Week 3: Eagles at Buccaneers: The Eagles played an early season game in Tampa in 2018 that was so hot that people in the stands were dropping from heat exhaustion. On the field, the heavily favored Eagles got beaten by Ryan Fitzpatrick and DeSean Jackson. The 2023 Bucs could be in for a rough season after Brady's retirement, with the likely replacement at quarterback being (checks notes) Baker Mayfield. Yuck. Still, this is a tricky game that could be affected by very hot temperatures.
• Week 4: Commanders at Eagles: If it feels like the Eagles usually play Washington early in the season, well, they do. They have been the Eagles' first NFC East opponent in seven of the last 10 seasons, and their Week 1 opponent four times during that span. The Eagles split with Washington last season, pummeling Carson Wentz in the first matchup, and losing an oddball game in the second.
The Commanders will have a competition for the starting quarterback job between Jacoby Brissett and Sam Howell, neither of whom give Washington a realistic chance of competing for anything more than a 9-8 season and a first-round exit in the playoffs.
• Week 5: Eagles at Rams: Remember when Jerry Jones commented that the Eagles and Rams sold their futures for a chance at a Super Bowl? It may not have been true about the Eagles, but it certainly was for the Rams. Take a quick peek at the Rams' depth chart. They're going to have like 20 rookies make this team. As long as the Eagles can slow down Cooper Kupp and get a couple of bodies on Aaron Donald, they should cruise against this team that is going to experience a trough before they really begin to rebuild again.
• Week 6: Eagles at Jets: Interestingly, the Eagles will not play the Jets in the preseason for the first time in a looooong time. Maybe Nick Sirianni and Robert Saleh don't like each other?
First half highlights..— Marc Farzetta (@MarcFarzetta) August 13, 2022
-Jalen Hurts 6/6 80yds 1 TD
-Jordan Davis blowing up the Oline
-Nakobe Dean's 5 tackles (4 solo)
-Cam Jurgens totally looking like a guy who would be scouted and recruited by Jason Kelce
-Nick Sirianni wanting to choke out Robert Saleh pic.twitter.com/ZWBDdNBZCH
Anyway, this could be a sneaky-tough game after traveling back from a west coast road trip. The Jets' roster looks intriguing on paper, but the Eagles have literally never lost to the Jets. (Yes, I realize that games played decades ago have no bearing whatsoever on this matchup, but shut up.)
• Week 7: Dolphins at Eagles: The Dolphins have a very good roster, highlighted by explosive playmakers on offense in Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, as well as a cornerback tandem of Jalen Ramsey and Xavien Howard. It's just hard to trust Tua Tagovailoa's ability to stay upright.
• Week 8: Eagles at Commanders: The Eagles always have some wonky loss to an inferior team. As noted above, last year that came against the Commanders. Let's pencil them in for that distinction again in 2023.
• Week 9: Cowboys at Eagles: The 49ers are not the Eagles' biggest threat in the NFC this season, in my opinion. It's the Cowboys, who actually have a legitimate starting quarterback with a very good supporting roster. In each of the last three matchups, we have not gotten to see Dak Prescott vs. Jalen Hurts. Hopefully both quarterbacks are healthy for this one. On a side note, Dak turns 30 in July. 👴
• Week 10: BYE
• Week 11: Eagles at Chiefs: As you can see, the Eagles will be coming off their bye for their rematch of the Super Bowl. Unfortunately for the Birds, so will Andy Reid and the Chiefs. Remember when Reid used to always win games coming off his bye week in Philly? Yeah, well, that hasn't stopped in Kansas City. According to this article published just before the Chiefs' divisional round win over the Jaguars in the playoffs last year, Reid was 27-4 in games after a bye week, including the playoffs. He is now 29-4 if you include their win over the Jags and their Super Bowl win over the Eagles.
• Week 12: Bills at Eagles: As the Eagles were navigating their way through the NFC playoffs last year, we would occasionally take a peek over at the AFC and wonder who might be the most ideal opponent in the Super Bowl, should the Birds get that far. In my opinion, the Bills would have been a more favorable opponent than the Bengals or Chiefs, since Joe Burrow and Patrick Mahomes are quarterbacks who will patiently pick apart opposing defenses, depending on what looks they are facing, while Josh Allen is more of a wildcard gunslinger.
I felt that with the Eagles' elite pass rush, they could force Allen into turnovers and believe they can do that in this matchup.
• Week 13: 49ers at Eagles: It's pretty unbelievable that these losers are STILL delusional about what happened in the NFC Championship Game.
Kyle Shanahan last night on 49ers' Week 13 game at PHI:— David Lombardi (@LombardiHimself) May 11, 2023
"I am glad we’re not playing Philly Week 1. I want to play them at a better time. I want to make sure our whole team is right there. ... We feel like we didn’t get to do it last time, and I’m ready to go back again."
Lol, it's May!
It's pretty easy to see why 49ers players like Deebo Samuel, Christian McCaffrey, Jimmie Ward (before he left in free agency), and others have acted like "Uncle Rico" losers about what could have been if only 30 things went differently in that game. It's because their head coach has set that loser tone and his players have followed his lead.
The 49ers couldn't block the Eagles' defensive front that day, and their offensive line has actually taken a step back this offseason.
• Week 14: Eagles at Cowboys: The Eagles haven't won in Dallas since the 2017 season.
• Week 15: Eagles at Seahawks: The Seahawks have beaten the Eagles in each of their last seven matchups, and this is a really tough two-game road stretch coming off a five-game stretch during which the Eagles will have played games against teams that all won at least 12 games in 2022.
I do think it's worth noting that Jalen Hurts has gotten injured right around this part of the season in each of the last two years. With his new contract, the Eagles are going to want Hurts to tone down his aggressiveness as a runner to some degree as he tries to navigate a full 17-game season.
• Week 16: Giants at Eagles: The Giants simply could cover the Eagles' receivers in 2022, and as long as A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith stay healthy I'm not sure why that will change. They also couldn't block their defensive front.
• Week 17: Cardinals at Eagles: Jonathan Gannon is a fraud and the Cardinals are in for a long, awful season.
• Week 18: Eagles at Giants: At 12-4, this game will likely have some kind of meaning, and I expect that they'll handle the Giants, as they always do. The Eagles earn the 1 seed in the NFC with this win.
• Divisional round: Lions at Eagles: The Lions seem to want to be a run-first team on offense, and a "stop the run first" team on defense. That approach usually doesn't play in the playoffs. You have to be able to throw it, and I wouldn't trust Jared Goff in the cold.
• Conference Championship: Cowboys at Eagles: For the first time in over a quarter century the Cowboys play in a conference championship game, but they are blown out in front of a liquored-up home Eagles crowd.
• Super Bowl: Eagles vs. Bengals: Sorry.
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