This summer, the Last Word On Sports NFL department will be reviewing each NFL team’s schedule and grading their hardest games to their easiest games. The Philadelphia Eagles have one of the toughest schedules in all of the NFL next season for a variety of reasons. Their schedule has been broken down into their eight hardest games (1 – 8) and their eight easiest games (9 – 16). This article will be examining the Eagles easiest games in 2017.
Philadelphia Eagles Easiest Games in 2017
9. Week 9 vs Broncos
To top the hardest of the easy games in 2017, the Eagles will host the Broncos in Week 9. Denver finished third in the AFC West with a 9-7 record and struggled at quarterback after Peyton Manning retired. Those quarterback troubles should continue into the start of 2017, with no clear starter named. Either Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch should be the starter for this game but neither has overpowering stuff to dismantle the Eagles defense, if they are on their A game that day. Points will still be hard to come by for Philly against the company of Von Miller, Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. so the Philly defense must be extra sharp. Denver is in a hard division and searching for new leaders on offense so the Eagles slightly have more advantages than disadvantages in this matchup.
10. Week 17 vs Cowboys
Of all the home division matchups for the Eagles next season, this may be the toughest for the Birds. The Eagles have always played Dallas well late in the season at home, including last year to end the season, winning 27-13. This game on New Year’s Eve should be very cold and just to the Eagles liking. The Cowboys will most likely have already won the division or clinched a playoff spot by this time and could take their foot somewhat off the gas to help the Eagles. It is Dallas though and if they are on that day, almost no one can beat them.
11. Week 7 vs Redskins
This should be the second easiest home division game of the year and the Eagles are due to finally win in this particular matchup. Philly has lost at home to Washington two straight years and two of the last three overall. The Eagles do play much better at home against Washington than on the road and this will be Carson Wentz’s second go around at home verses those Redskins. The key will be if the Eagles defensive line, specifically Fletcher Cox, can disrupt the running game and pressure Kirk Cousins. Maybe getting the Redskins completely off the schedule by Week 7 will be a blessing to the Eagles.
12. Week 3 vs Giants
Domination. One of many words to describe how the Eagles have played New York at home over the past three seasons where they have beaten the Giants each time. Philly has thoroughly dominated the Giants at home since 2014 but 2017 will be the hardest year yet to continue that streak. The Giants defense will still be lights out and Brandon Marshall will make a big difference on the outside. Eli Manning, for how good his career has been, has had his struggles at Lincoln Financial Field and even if Odell Beckham Jr. goes off the Eagles should be able to contain the supporting cast.
13. Week 5 vs Cardinals
Arizona is a shell of their former self when they went to the NFC Championship Game two years ago. Still, Larry Fitzgerald is a good wide receiver and running back David Johnson is slowly turning into one of the game’s best young backs. The critical part with their team is Carson Palmer. When he is healthy, he’s a very solid quarterback who fits well into Bruce Arians system. When he is hurt, which is very often now with his age, the team sinks. Their defense has also taken steps back, including the free agency departure of defensive leader Calais Campbell and frequent injuries to star safety Tyrann Mathieu. Johnson will get his and put the team on his shoulders for this game but it may not be enough to overcome a more balanced Philly team.
14. Week 14 at Rams
The only thing that should be difficult about this matchup with the other Los Angeles football team is the travel. This will be the Eagles second game in a back-to-back west coast trip, the first being at Seattle. If the Eagles stay on the west coast in between games, which makes sense, they will be more adjusted to the time zone difference and more rested for the Rams. The Rams right now have new coaching and need to develop an identity and leader. 2016 first overall pick Jared Goff is still adjusting to being a starting NFL quarterback. Their offensive line still has work to do to protect Goff and open holes for stud running back Todd Gurley and the defense has pieces to fill around Aaron Donald. Goff could be vastly improved by the end of the season and Gurley could be running wild, but the odds seem very low for the Rams this season. Eagles should have a solid chance to finish this west coast trip with a win.
15. Week 12 vs Bears
Chicago was just bad last year on almost all levels except running back. They traded up to the number two spot in this draft to select their hopeful franchise quarterback Mitch Trubisky. Trubisky may be the starter by Week 12 if Mike Glennon struggles or is injured. Jordan Howard had a superb rookie season behind a subpar Bears offensive line, only overshadowed by Ezekiel Elliot’s better campaign. With all that said, Chicago will be bad next year again primarily because their defense is still a work in progress. While they were ranked seventh last season in pass defense, their rush defense was an abysmal 27th. That means they should be seeing a healthy dose of LeGarrette Blount and Wentz ready to dissect the Bears defense.
16. Week 8 vs 49ers
The 49ers were a hot mess last year under head coach Chip Kelly. They finished 2-14 and were bad at just about every position. Their strong suit might just be their running game, led by Carlos Hyde, but he has become too injury prone to become dependent all-season long. San Francisco’s defense was ranked dead last in rushing yards allowed and last in rushing touchdowns allowed with 25 given up last season. Kyle Shanahan is leading a new regime in the Bay Area with lots of promise down the road, but the 49ers can’t compete in the NFC West right now and have too many issues. With Brian Hoyer the likely starting quarterback for this game, it is clear the Eagles will have the least amount of problems in getting by San Fran.
Be sure to check out the eight toughest games of the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles schedule.