The Summer Olympics provided a wonderful distraction to training-camp antics and the dog-days of baseball’s summer, but now that September is here, can you feel the onset of the NFL season? Regardless of whether there’s any crispness in the air, the for-real season begins this Thursday in an NFC match-up between the Championship-defending Giants and the should-be improved Redskins.
The NFC East should be a fairly brutal affair this season, with the Dallas Cowboys being a near-consensus as the top team in the division, though one that still has lingering questions after successive playoff flameouts. The Giants are sort of the opposite – last year they were a middling team that got hot in the final weeks and didn’t stop in the playoffs. This year the question is: can they maintain the dynamic of the playoffs or do they slip back to mediocrity? The Redskins are looking to gel under new head-coach Jim Zorn and have a lot of young talent and their questions orbit around whether they can put it all together consistently.
Which brings us to last year’s last place Eagles. On the surface, this team seems like a “throwback” to the “pre-TO” division championship teams. McNabb, Westbrook, serviceable but unremarkable receivers, all-pro secondary and a blitzing front 7.
Talk about questions though – McNabb seems healthy and motivated, though he has not played a complete season since 2003. So the real question might be is Kevin Kolb ready to lead in his place? Are the receivers good enough (especially with Kevin Curtis on the DL) to take the load off of offensive backbone Brian Westbrook? Can the defense maintain QB pressure better than last year? Do they have the depth to absorb any injuries to major players?
One thing in the Birdz’ favor is that their last place finish means a last-place schedule, which should help them.
Here’s my prediction for the season:
W Sep 7 – vs. St. Louis (if they don’t win this (and convincingly), it could be really ugly)
L Sep 15 – at Dallas MNF (they’ve always played well at DAL but I don’t think so)
L Sep 21 – vs. Pittsburgh (PIT is vulnerable, but the Eagles always play down to AFC)
W Sep 28 – at Chicago SNF
W Oct 5 – vs. Washington (thanks for lunch, Grandma-P!)
W Oct 12 – at San Francisco (can I goad a lunch-bet out of Cori here?)
Oct 19 – Open (5-2 at the break would be fantastic)
W Oct 26 – vs. Atlanta
L Nov 2 – at Seattle
W Nov 9 – vs. NY Giants SNF
L Nov 16 – at Cincinnati (they’ll lose one of these two AFC games, just not sure which)
W Nov 23 – at Baltimore
W Nov 27 – vs. Arizona Thanksgiving (am I reading that right? The Eagles are HOSTING ON THANKSGIVING?!!?)
L Dec 7 – at NY Giants (payback)
W Dec 15 – vs. Cleveland MNF (sorry Estonianzulu)
L Dec 21 – at Washington (here’s your lunch, Grandma-P!)
W Dec 28 – vs. Dallas (coming in 9-6, the Eagles will need this game more than the fighting-for-homefield Cowboys)
End of Regular Season: 10-6, probably wild-card team