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September 12, 2021

Week 1 non-Eagles rooting guide

In past seasons, Philadelphia Eagles fans generally rooted for their own team, and kept an eye on the rest of the NFC, with a focus on the NFC East. They'll still do that in 2021, but there are even more peripheral rooting interests for Birds fans this season because they own 2022 draft picks from other teams.

And so, each week we'll lay out a rooting guide for non-Eagles games on the NFL schedule, and yes, I'm aware that most of the below is obvious. Ideal winners bolded.

Early Sunday games

Seahawks at Colts: Obligatory explanation: At a minimum, the Eagles own the Colts' second-round pick, which can become a first-round pick if at least one of the following two conditions are met:

  1. Carson Wentz plays at least 75 percent of Indianapolis' offensive snaps.
  2. Wentz plays at least 70 percent of Indy's snaps, and the Colts make the playoffs.

The rooting interest for the Eagles is more complex than if they simply owned one of the Colts' picks, unconditionally. Ideally, Wentz would stay healthy, and the Colts will be just good enough not to bench him, but also not so good that the pick lands near the end of the first round. Wentz will somewhat surprisingly start Week 1 after undergoing foot surgery five weeks ago, which is a fantastic development for the Eagles.

Chargers at Washington: We don't need to explain this, right?

• 49ers at Lions: The Lions are the ideal winner here on two fronts:

  1. The Niners are the more likely playoff contender, so a loss for them would benefit the Eagles, if the Eagles aren't horrible this year.
  2. The Lions are early 2022 pick contenders, so a win for them would benefit the Eagles, if the Eagles are horrible this year.

• And then there are a few AFC-NFC games of mild interest that are ideally won by the AFC teams:

  1. Vikings at Bengals
  2. Cardinals at Titans
  3. Jets at Panthers

Late afternoon games

• Dolphins at Patriots: The Eagles own the Dolphins' first-round pick in 2022, so the more they lose the better it is for the Eagles. Hold your nose and root for the cheaters.

Broncos at Giants: Again, we don't need to explain this, right?

Packers at Saints: It's going to be fun watching Sean Payton and the Saints' regression into mediocrity. That aside, the Saints feel more like wildcard contenders while the Packers feel like divisional favorites. Wildcard contenders affect the Eagles' playoff chances more than divisional favorites. 

Sunday Night Football

Bears at Rams: The Eagles tanked their Week 17 game against Washington last season, as and a result the 6-10 Giants did not win the division. The moron Giants bitched about it, hard, seemingly unaware that the Eagles did them a huge favor. In the 2021 NFL Draft, the Bears traded up from pick No. 20 to pick No. 11 with the Giants to select Justin Fields, with the Giants landing Chicago's first round pick in 2022. That was a far better outcome than losing in the first round of the playoffs and picking 19th in the draft, like Washington did.

Anyway, the Giants now have themselves a nice asset in that Bears pick, and they'll be rooting hard for the Bears to suck this season. Eagles, Cowboys, and Washington fans should be rooting for the Bears to be good.

Irrelevant to the Eagles:

  1. Steelers at Bills
  2. Ravens at Raiders
  3. Jaguars at Texans
  4. Browns at Chiefs

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