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Previewing The 2014 Road Opponents

Posted Jan 8, 2014

After looking at the slate of opponents headed to Lincoln Financial Field in 2014, it's time to scope out the road games on the docket for the Eagles in 2014. Let's take a look at the five non-divisional opponents the Eagles will visit in 2014:

Arizona Cardinals (2013 Record: 10-6)

2014 marks the fourth straight season that the Eagles and Cardinals will go head-to-head. The Cardinals are 2-1 in that stretch, but the Eagles won the most recent meeting in 2013, knocking off Arizona 24-21 at Lincoln Financial Field. The Cardinals appear to be a team on the rise. In 2013, they were the only team in the NFL to win 10 or more games and not make the playoffs. The Cardinals were led this past season by their defense. Cornerback Patrick Peterson was a first-team All-Pro selection and linebacker Karlos Dansby was a second-team selection. The Eagles got the better of the Cardinals last season, but another year in head coach Bruce Arians’ system will certainly make Arizona a tough test once again.

Green Bay Packers (2013 Record: 8-7-1)

The Eagles went on the road and handled the Packers 27-13 in this past season, and they’ll get to travel to the hallowed grounds of Lambeau Field once again in 2014. Granted, that last season’s meeting was when the Packers were without superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers, as well as wide receiver Randall Cobb, but the Eagles play sound on both sides of the football. Eddie Lacy emerged as legitimate, down-hill running option for the Packers in his rookie season, but with Rodgers under center, expect the Packers to once again be a pass-heavy offensive attack.

Houston Texans (2013 Record: 2-14)

The Texans started out 2-0 in 2013, and appeared to be one of the favorites to reach the Super Bowl in the AFC. Then, they fell apart, losing 14 straight games to end the season. Houston, we have a problem. What was it that went wrong? Many of the Texans struggles can be traced to inconsistent play at the quarterback position from Matt Schaub and Case Keenum and a key injury to running back Arian Foster. The Texans defense is still very talented, thanks to the likes of pass-swatting machine J.J. Watt, and it will be interesting to see how the Texans rebound under new head coach Bill O’Brien. This game will also be a bit of a homecoming for DeMeco Ryans and Connor Barwin, who both got their careers started in Houston. The Texans, meanwhile, own the first overall pick in April’s NFL Draft, so they’ll no doubt have an infusion of talent coming their way.

Indianapolis Colts (2013 Record: 11-5)

It didn’t take long for the Colts to rebound from a 2-14 season in 2011. Having a young, superstar quarterback like Andrew Luck will do that. Indianapolis has gone 11-5 in each of Luck’s first two seasons, and he’s made the players around him even better. When future Hall of Famer Reggie Wayne was lost for the season with a knee injury, Luck relied on players like T.Y. Hilton and Coby Fleener. The Colts recently completed one of the greatest playoff comebacks of all time, beating the Kansas City Chiefs 45-44 to advance to the Divisional Round in the AFC. This is another 2014 Eagles opponent that is trending up.

San Francisco 49ers (2013 Record: 12-4)

The 49ers started the 2013 season with a pedestrian record of 6-4, which was worse than many expected coming off a Super Bowl appearance in 2012. Then they caught fire, winning six straight to end the year before traveling into sub-zero temperatures at Lambeau Field and coming away with a Wild Card round victory. Last offseason, San Francisco added key pieces Anquan Boldin (via trade) and Eric Reid (via the draft), and there’s no telling how they could look to upgrade heading into 2014. The Eagles will also play in the inaugural season of Levi’s Stadium, the 49ers brand new stadium in Santa Clara. Colin Kaepernick and company have been among the class of the NFC for the past few seasons, and this will be a game for the Eagles to see how they measure up.

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