By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor
Despite all the precautions being taken to prevent further spread of the coronavirus, the NFL has stuck to it's planned schedules.
Another one of those landmarks came on Thursday night as the league announced their 2020 schedule.
The league has made some changes already, including the lack of any international games as the leagues hopes to keep it's players healthy and may not be able to have fans in the stands anyway - making an international flight all but pointless.
While the Eagles already knew their opponents, they now know when they'll face each and on how much rest.
In total, the schedule features four Sunday 4 o'clock games, two Sunday Night Football appearances and one each of Thursday and Monday Night Football match-ups.
Just one team will have extra rest for their games against Philadelphia. The Bengals, who play Thursday night the week before the Eagles come to town, will have that rest advantage of a few extra days.
The Eagles will play no team coming off of their bye in 2020.
The Eagles, of course, will play the Redskins in DC. That is where the Birds figure to start the 2020 season off. Eagles fans have been taking over stadiums, especially in in recent years and it might end up being another home game for the Birds despite being in a division-rival city. That assumes any fans are allowed to attend, which could easily not be the case. They have built on their defensive line featuring already good players with room to improve, but still figure to bring up the rear in the NFC East.
For week two, the Eagles host the Rams in their home opener. A departure from the last two times the teams played in LA.
The Eagles have won the last six match-ups with the Rams, dating back to 2005, including two wins over the team in 2017 and 2018 when the team was at it's peak. Doug Pederson has game planned well for them in California, hopefully he can do the same in Philly.
Continuing the homestand, the Birds will host the Eagles.
The Bengals are not as bad as they were in 2019 with AJ Green and Andy Daulton sidelined, but they benefited greatly from a down season to have one of the best drafts this offseason, adding Pro-Ready players in Joe Burrow, Tee Higgins, Logan Wilson and Akeem Davis-Gaither. The Bengals haven't recorded eight or more wins since 2015, but they could certainly make a push to change that in 2020.
Week four represents the Birds' first primetime game if the season as they are set for Sunday Night football for the away game.
Perhaps the most difficult road game on the Eagles schedule, the team will need to take on the defending NFC Champions on their home turf. The Birds have shown the ability to win these types of games, but it should be fully expected that they enter the game as underdogs.
The next week sees the Eagles take on the only other NFL team in PA.
The East half versus the West half of Pennsylvania will take place in Pittsburgh this season. The Steelers are not in the greatest shape the past couple of seasons, but you can be sure the Pittsburgh crowd will show out for this game. An interesting note to the rivalry is that the Steelers are actually the team the Eagles have the best record against with a minimum of 12 games played between the two. The Birds lead the series 47-28-3 despite the Steel City's long history of success in the NFL.
Week six is set to be one of the biggest tests for the Eagles, when Baltimore comes to town. It is a match-up that Philly will be happy to have at home. Lamar Jackson and his high-powered offense as well as a secondary that thrived on turnovers creates one well-rounded opponent that could beat you any way you may slip up, but remains a beatable opponent otherwise.
Week seven brings another primetime game, but one that will mess with the schedule. The Eagles will play in yet another NFC East showdown on Thursday Night Football.
The Birds host the Giants in Philadelphia and might get to see the teams' young offensive line that they focused on building during this year's draft.
Primetime for Philly continues as the Eagles stay in the NFC East but have more time to prepare for their most hated rivals coming to town.
The Cowboys have a talent-laden roster and could be a real threat if the Eagles are not prepared. All the trash talk in the world has not helped the Birds the past few seasons, so it might be a good idea to instead focus on playing football rather than posting newsworthy quotes in the week leading up to the game.
Exactly halfway through the regular season, the Eagles take their bye week during week nine.
Upon returning from their break, the team will stay in the NFC East, playing the Giants for the second time in four weeks.
While a more hostile environment than Washington, New York has not been too big for the Eagles in recent history and the team should stand a good chance at a sweep of the team, particularly if their new additions are not ready to contribute.
The Birds will then head from New York to Cleveland.
The Eagles and Browns have met up just five times since the turn of the century and the Eagles have won every single game, including three of those games in Cleveland. The Browns should be better than they were during those previous games, but even Browns fans wouldn't be surprised if the Browns fell well short of their expectations as the franchise has a long history of doing so.
Entering a period of five straight non-1 p.m. games, the Eagles head home to take on the Seahawks on Monday Night Football.
One of their toughest opponents, the Seahawks will return to Philadelphia for the third time in two years. The Seahawks won both games at the Linc with a score of 9-17, once with no running backs (after the Howard injury, but before the Scott emergence) and no receivers (JJAW and Jordan Matthews were two of the top three receivers for the Birds) and once when they purposefully crippled Carson Wentz during the team's second drive. If the Seahawks decide to play a clean game, the Eagles should have the offensive firepower to give them a chance at a win this time around.
Entering a stretch of four 4 p.m. games on one day less rest, the Eagles head back out to Lambeau Field again in 2020.
The Packers at Lambeau Field are no joke, but it's also a fact that the Eagles beat them there last season with no receivers or corners. It was a game where Mack Hollins was the team's second-most effective receiver, safety Andrew Sendejo was busy targeting his teammates and Craig James ended the game as one of the teams top two corners. Sure, the Packers lost their top receiver partway through the game, but if both teams head into the game healthy, the Eagles figure to have the more improved roster and should be able to repeat.
The next Sunday afternoon, the Birds host the Saints.
The Saints will come to Philadelphia with their last two wins over the city of Brotherly Love being tough to swallow. The last two games were a 48-7 decimation of a team without any corners in the middle of the 2018 season and then a tough loss to the Saints on a drop by Alshon Jeffery from a play he makes 95% of the time. The beaten Eagles were nearly able to overtake the Saints in the 2018 playoffs. Have they improved enough to beat them in 2020? Will home-field advantage give them the edge in the game?
A trip to Arizona follows that match-up with the rebuilt Cardinals next on deck.
The Cardinals were in the same division as the Eagles once upon a time, but the two teams have played just 10 times since 2001. Their last meeting was when the Eagles trounced them in 2017, but the Cardinals figure to be better in 2020 with Kyler Murray in his second season and an improved receiving corps still featuring Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald. Despite their likely improvement, Arizona is one that the Eagles are likely happy to have on the road so that they can keep home field for when they really need it.
With just two games left, the Eagles head to Jerry's World to close out their 4 o'clock streak in what could be a game to decide the division.
The only NFC East team that the Eagles didn't sweep, the Cowboys present a problem in Dallas. Unlike the other two teams in the NFC East, Dallas has a clear-cut home-field advantage and the talent on the field to really utilize it.
They then host the Redskins for their second match-up - the last of the regular season. The question may be how important this game is for either team at this point in the schedule to determine who plays, but rivalry games can always be expected to show some level of fire. The Eagles have beaten the Redskins over their past six meetings.
For the preseason, the Eagles will start on the road by visiting Indianapolis, then Miami the following week.
They will host the Patriots and host their annual pre-season meeting with the Jets to close out the preseason schedule.