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Sizing up the Philadelphia Eagles’ 2020 Schedule

Vegas has the Eagles’ current over-under number for season win total set at 9.5. Can the Birds win 10 of the games revealed in the NFL’s release of schedules for the 2020 season? Read on as we break down the Philadelphia Eagles’ Schedule for the 2020 NFL season.

Divisional Matchups

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Weeks 1 and 17: Washington Redskins

Most exciting matchup: WR Terry McLaurin vs. CB Darius Slay

Last year, Terry tortured the Birds to the tune of 10 catches, 255 yards, and 2 touchdowns over just two games. The Eagles solution to the problem of covering wide receivers like “Scary” Terry was acquiring Darius “Big Play” Slay. Assuming Slay follows McLaurin all game, this matchup will be fascinating for our first live look at him in midnight green.

Ron Rivera was a coaching upgrade, but he’s still working with this roster for the first time. Their pass rush has to be one of the best in the league on paper, but the Eagles have weathered that storm before. Dwayne Haskins, McLaurin, and a sneaky good defense will be a challenge, but the Eagles can take two of two from Washington to open and close their season.

Record Prediction Tracker: 2 – 0

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Weeks 7 and 10: New York Giants

Most exciting matchup: NYG Offensive Line vs. PHI Defensive Line

The Giants gained tackles Andrew Thomas and Cameron Fleming on a line that already had Kevin Zeitler, Las Vegas-born Will Hernandez, and Nate Solder. They also added developmental depth in the draft. This is a good positional group. Another good positional group starts with five-time Pro Bowler Fletcher Cox. The Eagles added Javon Hargrave, and will regain Malik Jackson after he suffered a season-ending injury in last year’s first game. Brandon Graham is a force and Derek Barnett is in a contract year. Additionally, prospects like Josh Sweat and Genard Avery will try to make the most of their opportunities as backups. The Giants addressed offensive line needs, but can they execute against one of the best defensive fronts in the league?

The Giants had an impressive offseason, netting them great pieces to both win now and develop for the future. Daniel Jones will benefit from an improved offensive line – oh yeah, and that Saquon guy has to be pretty happy about it too. GM Dave Gettleman did great in improving positions of need and the Giants’ outlook on this upcoming season. I can see the Eagles splitting Home and Away with the G-Men this year.

Record Prediction Tracker: 3 – 1

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Weeks 8 and 16: Dallas Cowboys

Most exciting matchup: Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott vs. a cloudy Philadelphia linebacker corps

The Cowboys have an incredible group of wide receivers while the Eagles only have one premier corner in Darius Slay. I fully expect the Eagles to give up 300 yards through the air in this game and that’s the floor. The Eagles’ defensive linemen will get theirs when it comes to tackles-for-loss, but how will a young, raw, and dynamic group of linebackers help support the rush defense? This group of backers are athletic enough to make an impact in pass coverage, but how they stack against the Cowboys run game will be interesting. T.J. Edwards is the best of the group, but he leads an interesting bunch of late draft picks with a lot to handle in Prescott and Elliott.

The Cowboys might’ve won the draft on Night 1 by adding possibly the best pass catcher in the class, CeeDee Lamb. This only continued by drafting players that always seemed to be on the board for too long in Days 2 and 3.

Unfortunately, the draft was by far the best part of the Cowboys’ offseason, as they saw the departures of mainstays like Travis Frederick, Byron Jones, Jason Witten, Maliek Collins, and Robert Quinn.

In the draft, the Cowboys added a ton of quality developmental depth, but only a WR2/3 in Lamb and a possible starting CB in Trevon Diggs or Reggie Robinson. That’s it as far as guys that can make an impact early and often in 2020. They’ll need those picks and more to perform and make up for their losses. Additionally, an uncertain contract situation with QB Dak Prescott doesn’t help. The Birds can further make up for an embarrassing game one last year by taking both games from the Mike McCarthy led Cowboys.

Record Prediction Tracker: 5 – 1

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Non-Divisional Matchups

Week 2: Los Angeles Rams

Most exciting matchup: DT Aaron Donald vs. C Jason Kelce/G Brandon Brooks

Both Kelce and Brooks are most likely face off with the five-time All-Pro DT Aaron Donald the most. All three of these players are some of the best in the game. It’s always a blast to watch Pro Bowlers face Pro Bowlers, even without the dodgeball.

Salary cap casualties seem to be pressing the Rams, as even their new logo is having a tough offseason. They lost far too many good players, but head coach Sean McVay is a solid competitor with a roster of high-ceiling guys. I just don’t think they have enough juice to beat the Birds in Week 2.

Record Prediction Tracker: 6 – 1

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Week 3: Cincinnati Bengals

Most exciting matchup: QB Joe Burrow vs the Eagles new Secondary

Joe Burrow is a lot of fun to watch, seeing his career play out will be interesting. The Philly front four will get to crash his party, but Burrow has a prolific group of pass catchers that can challenge Philly’s new-look secondary. Let’s see what pick 1.1 has as a pro, given his exceptional supporting cast.

The Cincinnati Bengals always seem to draft really well on paper. This class, led by true Tiger King Joe Burrow, did not disappoint. The Bengals got a lot better via free agency and the draft, but that’s to be expected for a team drafting first overall. The Eagles can win this one. Eagles fans will find another win or loss in the box score bout of Jalen Reagor and Tee Higgins.

Record Prediction Tracker: 7 – 1

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Week 4: San Francisco 49ers

Most exciting matchup: RB Raheem Mostert vs. WR Marquise Goodwin

Remember undrafted free agent Raheem Mostert? Mostert was a member of the Eagles practice squad after they cut him during the DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews era (Sproles was on the roster too, no slight). Just like Mostert, Goodwin has had his best years as a 49er. Let’s see which bargain bin addition adds more value to this game. Early edge goes to Mostert.

If you read my draft recap, you saw some John Lynch and 49ers love – and unfortunately that doesn’t stop here. This is a GOOD roster and an early favorite for the NFC West after their most recent Super Bowl loss. These similar teams can easily get into a shoot out, but I trust the 49ers secondary a bit more than the Eagles’, so this one goes to San Francisco.

Record Prediction Tracker: 7 – 2

Week 5: Pittsburgh Steelers

Most exciting matchup: PIT Offensive Line vs. PHI Defensive Line

Continuing the revenge tour vibe, it will be cool to see former Steeler Javon Hargrave and former Eagle Alejandro Villanueva square up against their old teammates. The more prominent reason this is the most exciting matchup is because this is where the Eagles can really separate and win the game.

Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers don’t get enough credit for how they’ve done despite the challenges presented recently by Le’Veon Bell and whatever you can make of Antonio Brown. This roster is surprisingly solid for losing two superstars in exchange for next to nothing. A luxury pick that’s hard not to love in Chase Claypool adds to this team’s 2020 promise. All this to say that Philly will win the battle of Pennsylvania here.

Record Prediction Tracker: 8 – 2

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Week 6: Baltimore Ravens

Most exciting matchup: BAL Offensive Line vs. PHI Defensive Line

The Ravens still have a pretty solid offensive line led by Ronnie Stanley, despite losing long time guard Marshal Yanda to retirement. It’ll be intriguing to see how losing the stability Yanda offered affects the play of talented runners Mark Ingram, rookie J.K. Dobbins, and MVP Lamar Jackson. That stability will be missed most against defensive fronts like Philly’s.

This is a similar matchup to the 49ers in that both teams have such solid and explosive rosters. While I could see a shootout against San Francisco, this matchup could be much lower scoring. It’s hard to have a ton of confidence in any defense against Madden cover athlete Lamar Jackson, so the Eagles will need to bring it defensively for their best chance. I’m going to give this one to the Ravens, but expect a great game that the Eagles stay in late.

Record Prediction Tracker: 8 – 3

Week 9: BYE

All I have to say here is that a midseason bye week is the absolute least the NFL can do after schedule-ly screwing the Birds for the last decade.

Week 11: Cleveland Browns

Most exciting matchup: Philadelphia’s own, Head Coach Kevin Stefanski vs. the Eagles

The Browns have a much higher trajectory under Stefanski than former coach Freddie Kitchens and Stefanski has a more complete roster to work with. It’ll serve for a bigger challenge against an improved Eagles defense. By Week 11, the Eagles should have a ton of tape and insight on Stefanksi, but he’s still a first-year coach, so it’ll be exciting to see how he deploys his talent.

The Browns had a wildly successful offseason from replacing Freddie Kitchens with Kevin Stefanski to adding prime time free agents and blue chip draft prospects. All of this is great, but I see a loss to the Eagles in Week 11 for this young team.

Record Prediction Tracker: 9 – 3

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Week 12: Seattle Seahawks

Most exciting matchup: WR D.K. Metcalf vs. WR JJ Arcega-Whitside (These two don’t matchup though)

For the record, the issue with Arcega-Whitside seems to have a lot more to do with Doug Pederson and the staff’s difficulty with integrating him (a la Golden Tate) than his actual ability. With that said, nothing caps off his disappointing freshman season quite like watching the dude picked seven picks after you do this to put the nail in your team’s coffin. That catch put Metcalf at 160 yards for the night, 95% of Arcega-Whiteside’s yardage for the season.

This team wins and loses based on the performance of Russell Wilson. The important thing outside of Wilson is who will step up at edge rusher and corner on the other side of the ball for Seattle. They haven’t re-signed Jadeveon Clowney yet, and their best attempt to add corner help recently got arrested.

You can’t ever cast doubt on Russ, but I don’t think the Seahawks got much better this offseason. The Eagles, however, certainly did. And in that last matchup, Josh McCown battled until the end. This is a winnable game for the Eagles.

Record Prediction Tracker: 10 – 3

Week 13: Green Bay Packers

Most exciting matchup: WR Davante Adams vs. CB Darius Slay

This is a showdown of two of the game’s best. Slay is used to squaring off with Davante Adams in the NFC North. It’ll be interesting to see how the change of scenery affects Slay, and if Adams pops off again after catching 10 passes for 180 yards in last year’s face off.

The Packers lost leaders in Bryan Bulaga (LAC) and Blake Martinez (NYG), and didn’t do nearly enough to replace those holes and more. The Birds barely grabbed a victory last year. That was when Green Bay was more talented across the board, while Philly was less. I’m giving this one to Philadelphia as well.

Record Prediction Tracker: 11 – 3

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Week 14: New Orleans Saints

Most exciting matchup: Malcolm Jenkins vs. Eagles WRs

Eagles fans can’t be too excited to see Jenkins back on the Saints, but it is exciting to see the Philly faithful welcome “Jenk” back. The disagreements between Malcom and the front office on his contract pale in comparison to the impact he had on the city and its franchise.

The Saints seem like they’ve been in “win now” mode for a decade. With a roster stocked and ready for their annual playoff run, they definitely provide some difficulty in Philadelphia’s schedule. They have an offensive line that will challenge and win snaps against even the toughest defensive fronts, like Philly’s. With a number of the league’s best skill players, I could see one of them taking over this game and winning it for the Saints.

Record Prediction Tracker: 11 – 4

Week 15: Arizona Cardinals

Most exciting matchup: LB Isaiah Simmons vs. TE Zach Ertz

Simmons was the talk of the combine and one of the more intriguing prospects as an uber-dynamic new era linebacker.

Read more around how Simmons could and should be utilized here.

If Simmons is tasked with covering Ertz, or even Dallas Goedert, it will be a big test for him. On the other side of the coin, for Ertz and Goedert, the hyper-athletic Simmons will be a unique matchup for them. Looking forward in hopes of seeing this matchup play out.

The Arizona Cardinals have an offense that will demand respect early next year. Kyler Murray showed nice development late into his rookie season last year. Adding possibly the league’s best wideout in DeAndre Hopkins helps that development continue. Look for a stereotypical slow start game for the Eagles, but a dominant performance by their defensive line keeps them in it and ending on top.

Record Prediction Tracker: 12 – 4

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Conclusion

So there you have it, smart money is on the Birds to beat that season win total prediction of 9.5. I try to be as objective as possible in these breakdowns. But I still clearly show up as a fan of the Eagles’ offseason improvements. The 2020 Philadelphia Eagles schedule is split evenly by their bye week and a fair distribution of their opponents’ skill level. Moving through the year with an intense focus on staying healthy and fresh can net the Birds 12 wins realistically.

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