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Predicting the Eagles 2017 record

By: Jesse Larch, Sports Talk Philly Staff

A season ago the Eagles set the world on fire after beginning the season with three straight wins before the league caught up to Carson Wentz and Doug Pederson. The Lane Johnson suspension did no favors either as the team finished with a 7-9 record.

In 2017 the Eagles have the 11th toughest schedule in the league based on their opponents combined record from the previous season, and we will take a crack at predicting the team's record for the upcoming season. 

Week 1: Eagles @ Redskins

Lane Johnson made a strongly worded prediction in his Players' Tribune article that the Eagles will march into Washington and win in week one, but the Redskins will not take this lying down, as linebacker Zach Brown has noted. 

The Eagles lost both games to the Redskins last season, but their roster has undergone some changes with Desean Jackson and Pierre Garcon both leaving in free agency and only Terrelle Pryor coming in through free agency. The Eagles biggest test in this game will be stopping Rob Kelley. Kelley's power run style was extremely successful against the Eagles last season and it will be interesting to see if the Eagles have figured out how to stop him. 

Josh Norman struggles with larger receivers, so I expect Alshon Jeffery to have a good day against him and Baushad Breeland was picked on constantly last season so Torrey Smith will also be a factor. The Eagles' will struggle to pressure Kirk Cousins behind the Redskins' elite offensive line so this game will come to down to which defense can get the stop when they need it. 

I think the Eagles upgraded more than the Redskins did from last season, and the Eagles additions will be the deciding factor in the first meeting.

Result: Eagles Win

Week 2: Eagles @ Chiefs

Andy Reid and Doug Pederson will clash in their first teacher vs. student matchup. With the two spending so much of their careers together it will be hard for either one to trick the other one, especially when they run very similar offensive concepts. 

The Eagles have the better offense, but the Chiefs defense is and has been elite throughout Reid's tenure. The limited film on rookie Kareem Hunt will be a big factor in gameplanning for this one. Ronald Darby will be able to run with Tyreek Hill, but blocking schemes will likely disguise Hill and open up lanes for him to wreak havoc. 

Marcus Peters has been as good as they come at corner over the past two seasons, and I expect him to be draped over Alshon Jeffery all game. Eric Berry will be all over the field as usual also. Between how much the Eagles' struggled on the road with communication and execution, and the noise factor at Arrowhead stadium, I have the Chiefs taking this one behind a big day from their defense. 

Result: Eagles Lose

Week 3: Eagles vs Giants

Eli Manning has every reason to turn in an MVP caliber season with Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepherd, and the addition of Brandon Marshall at receiver. They also drafted Evan Engram to come in provide much needed help at tight end. 

The bad news is Eli was supposed to have a great season last year and could not meet his expectations because of a lackluster running game and extremely poor protection from their offensive line. 

The Eagles front seven is among the best in the league, and they will put Eli on his back often in week 3. No matter how good the giants defense was last season, the Eagles will be able to limit the Giants offense more than the giants can limit theirs

Result: Eagles Win

Week 4: Eagles @ Chargers

Traveling to LA will be tough, but playing the Chargers will not. Keenan Allen is a great receiver, but there's a very real chance that he is already hurt by week 4, and Mike Williams status is very much up in the air for this season. 

Melvin Gordon was a stud last year until a season ending injury and Phillip Rivers is still an upper-tier quarterback, but he is the quintessential gunslinger and very prone to throwing interceptions.

Joey Bosa played at an elite level once he got on the field last season, but he has not been tested with a tackle duo quite like Jason Peters and Lane Johnson. This should be an easy week for the Eagles.

Result: Eagles Win

Week5: Eagles vs Cardinals

The Eagles have not played well against the Cardinals in a very long time. David Johnson is a machine, Larry Fitzgerald does not age, and their defense is legit. 

I am expecting the Cardinals to be much improved this season, and I just do not feel like a win is in the cards for the Eagles in this one.

Result: Eagles Lose

Week 6: Eagles @ Panthers

On a short week the Eagles will travel to play the Panthers on Thursday night football. 

The Panthers had a down year after playing in the Super Bowl the year prior, and I am not convinced that they will be much improved this season. Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel will give the Panthers a lot of toys to play with, but what will happen when Jonathan Stewart inevitably gets hurt and McCaffrey is asked to run between the tackles? 

They did not do a whole lot to improve their defense that was a far cry from their NFC Championship defense a year ago. 

I've got the Eagles taking this one.

Result: Eagles Win

Week 7: Eagles vs Redskins

By week 7 the Redskins will have found their groove. There has been a trend in the Kirk Cousins era for the Redskins to start slow and then become one of the hottest teams in football. 

The Eagles meet the Skins right as Cousins and Pryor are clicking and the defense has found its groove. 

The Eagles split the season series with the Redskins.

Result: Eagles Lose

Week 8: Eagles vs 49ers

It is just so hard to see the Niners doing anything other than securing a top-three draft pick this season. 

Kyle Shanahan is an offensive genius, but after Carlos Hyde he has nothing to work with. 

The Eagles should have a cakewalk in week 8.

Result: Eagles Win

Week 9: Eagles vs Broncos

As long as Von Miller is around the Broncos will never be easy to beat. Trevor Siemian is a game manager, and that is all that he needs to be for the Broncos to contend behind their defense. 

I hate that the Eagles play the AFC West this season, and games like this are why. The Eagles fall to Denver.

Result: Eagles Lose

Week 11: Eagles @ Cowboys

The Eagles finally meet with the Cowboys in week 11. Between how well the Eagles player against the Cowboys a year ago, and that the Eagles are coming off of a bye, I think the Eagles will have the upper hand. I also see no world in which our old friend Nolan Carroll makes the Cowboys better by replacing Morris Claiborne. Alshon and Torrey should have a field day against the Cowboys secondary. 

Result: Eagles Win

Week 12: Eagles vs Bears

The Bears are a very young team with some very nice pieces to build around in Jordan Howard, Cody Whitehair, and Leonard Floyd but they appear to be a lock for a top-10 pick in the 2018 draft at this time. They lost Alshon Jeffery to the Eagles, and their top wide receiver suffered a season ending injury in preseason. Whether it is Glennon or Trubisky under center, something will have to go seriously wrong for the Eagles to lose this one. 

Result: Eagles Win

Week 13: Eagles @ Seahawks

There is no reason for the Eagles to be playing in Seattle in back-to-back regular seasons. The Seahawks will be a legitimate super bowl threat once again after acquiring Sheldon Richardson from the New York Jets to add to their already stacked defense. The defense, noise of the 12s, and the ability of Russel Wilson to escape a pass rush will doom the Eagles in week 13. 

Result: Eagles Lose

Week 14: Eagles @ Rams

We finally get to see Carson Wentz versus Jared Goff, and by going off of last year's samples, the Eagles will have the edge in the quarterback department. The Rams defense is legit if Aaron Donald ever comes back from his holdout, but their offensive line doomed them last season. They did make a major upgrade by signing Andrew Whitworth, but he cannot stop the Eagles front seven on his own. It should be easy work in southern California for the Eagles. 

Result: Eagles Win

Week 15: Eagles @ Giants

I think it will be the same as in week three. The Cowboys have a tough time with the Giants because the Cowboys are really bad at getting after the quarterback. The Eagles boast one of the best front sevens in the league, and Eli Manning will struggle just as much in week 15 as he did in week three.

Result: Eagles Win

Week 16: Eagles vs Raiders

The Raiders were one of the best team on the road in the NFL before Derek Carr's injury a season ago. With the addition of Marshawn Lynch to go with their hard hitting defense the Eagles will be in for a fight on Christmas day. The Eagles have struggled with powerful running backs, and I think Marshawn Lynch will be the deciding factor in this one. 

Result: Eagles Lose

Week 17: Eagles vs Cowboys

The Eagles are 9-6 entering week 17, and the Cowboys will be fighting for their playoff lives just like the Eagles will. I think the Eagles blend of speed and strength at the receiver position will be very tough for the Cowboys to overcome, but the Cowboys and Eagles have been very evenly matched over the past couple seasons. I also cannot visualize the Eagles going 5-1 in the division with how tightly contested it will be. 

Result: Eagles Lose

Final Record: 9-7

If the Eagles had last season's schedule again they would easily have double-digit wins with the improvements that they made on both sides of the ball, but the Eagles have to face some much tougher competition in 2017. Improvement upon last year's record should be considered a huge accomplishment considering how much more talented the Eagles' opponents are this season. 

 

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