It’s here, finally. A clear vision of what is to be for your Philadelphia Eagles. From this perspective, it’s all Midnight Green, baby. Ima gonna go out on a limb and predict a sweep. A clean sweep. Sixteen and oh, my, what a season! OK, maybe 15-1 if the Eagles rest their starters for that regular-season finale. We’ll see if Andy Reid wants to make history.
Anyway, I’ve had a minute or two to digest the schedule, to get a real feel for how each week is going to play out.
Without further ado, here is a look into the Spudtastic Crystal Ball …
Sunday, September 9 at Cleveland
I know that Cleveland fans and that famous Dawg Pound are going to be on their best behavior with quarterback
The Eagles open the regular season the right way.
Eagles 35, Browns 10
Sunday, September 16 vs. Baltimore
A tough game against a mean, nasty Baltimore Ravens team with Super Bowl aspirations. A quartet wearing JoeFlacco University of Delaware jerseys, turned down in its attempt to sing the national anthem – the Eagles contracted the super-sexy, mega-hunk duo of Eagles fans Bradley Cooper and Ryan Phillippe – sits silently as the defense again gets after the opposing quarterback.
This time, though, the offense takes center stage. Vick starts the scoring with a touchdown pass to tackle-eligible
The game is a rock ‘em, sock ‘em affair, prompting Reid to wax eloquently in his post-game press conference.
“It was a rock ‘em, sock ‘em affair,” said Reid. “It’s always that way against the Baltimore Ravens.”
Eagles 21, Ravens 13
Sunday, September 23 at Arizona
September in Arizona? The dome is closed at University of Phoenix Stadium, which excites placekicker
“Golly jeepers,” says Henery. “The ball sure is going to carry here.”
Henery’s opening kickoff goes through the uprights and the defense sets up for quarterback Kevin Kolb, the former Eagle. It is a mismatch, once again. Babin and
“We’re better in our third game than we were in our first or second game, just like you guys writing your stories,” says defensive coordinator Juan Castillo. “We’re working on the fundamentals every day.”
Eagles 38, Cardinals 17
Sunday, September 30 vs. New York Giants
A pair of 3-0 teams square off at Lincoln Financial Field in the Football Night In America game. What a show? Terrell Owens, in his debut for NBC’s pre-game show, bets a case of popcorn that no wide receiver will do what he did in his Eagles debut – against the Giants, at Lincoln Financial Field, when he scored three touchdowns.
“And if Donovan had spent more time looking my way, I would have scored about five touchdowns,” says Owens, a tear streaming down his cheek. “I loved that man.”
The game itself is fierce, as expected. Eli Manning suffers a torn fingernail lobe and is replaced by backup quarterback
Big win for the Eagles. This is shaping up to be a special season.
Eagles 24, Giants negative 12 (fantasy points)
Sunday, October 7 at Pittsburgh
Why is this game not on national television? This is a great matchup of inter-state rivals. Terrific game. The Eagles have always struggled in Pittsburgh, so the team this time stays in Erie and camps out in Presque Isle State Park the night before the game.
“I wanted to give the players a chance to feel nature and to ‘rough it’ a little bit,” says Reid. “We made S’mores, told stories around the campfire and bonded.”
The unique strategy pays off.
Offensively, McCoy and Dion Lewis return to their University of Pittsburgh roots and combine for 178 yards and a pair of scores.
In his post-game injury report, Reid lists center
Eagles 31, Steelers 14
Sunday, October 14 vs. Detroit
Former Eagles wide receiver Kevin Curtis is the team’s honorary Alumni Captain and he comes out wearing the jersey he wore in 2007 when he burned the Lions for 221 receiving yards. Castillo employs a triangle-and-eight defense against Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who must fight through two defenders at the line of scrimmage and then is surrounded by as many as eight defensive backs on a single play each time quarterback Matthew Stafford drops back to pass.
The unusual strategy works as Johnson is limited to 6 receptions for 72 yards. It isn’t enough as the Eagles continue their run-heavy offense – they are calling running backs 44 percent of the time – to chew up clock and spit out the Lions.
The Eagles head into the bye week unbeaten, untied and, from this perspective, unbelievable.
Eagles 27, Lions 10
Sunday, October 28 vs. Atlanta
Eagles cornerbacks Asomugha,
Atlanta is seen by everyone as a Super Bowl-contending team, but not on this day at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles extract a measure of revenge for the 2011 loss by overcoming a fourth-quarter deficit to send the Falcons home losers.
Eagles 24, Falcons 17
Monday, November 5 at New Orleans
New Orleans head coach Jon Gruden, subbing for his buddy Sean Payton, allows ESPN to put a microphone on him for the game and in the booth analyst Ron Jaworski is amazed at all of the “bleeps” one man generates.
“Gru Dog,” says Jaws, “Is a machine down there!”
Unfortunately for the Saints, their third head coach of the season is having as much success as the first two. The fallout from the NFL suspensions is significant. The Saints, who were so explosive on offense in recent years, are unable to get untracked. Quarterback Drew Brees is described as “too small to be an effective NFL quarterback” by legendary football expert Skip Bayless.
The Eagles play a straight 2-6-3 zone defense, a signature scheme for Castillo in the first half of the season. The defense produces three takeaways and stuffs the Saints offense.
McCoy, on pace to rush for 1,747 yards, continues to impress running behind left tackle
Eagles 42, Saints 20
Sunday, November 11 vs. Dallas
There has been no Tweeting war. There has been no bulletin-board material all week. The Cowboys are in the mix in the NFC East and they intend to show the Eagles just how good they are in the 4:15 p.m. kickoff at Lincoln Financial Field.
They sure do.
Marty Mornhinweg orders a no-huddle offense from the start of the game until the middle of the third quarter when he pulls back with the Eagles leading, 35-0. Vick is sensational, completely 17 of 22 passes. McCoy again has a huge game, and
“We’re going to try to get him more involved,” said Mornhinweg after the game.
Eagles 38, Cowboys 0
Sunday, November 18 at Washington
This is the Eagles’ first look at Robert Griffin III, the Redskins’ quarterback of the century. RGIII has held up well despite absorbing 78 sacks to date. He is a poised player for a rookie, but he is not a equipped yet for the Eagles.
“Seems a half-step slower than Chad,” says safety
“Eagles fans are amazing,” says Ryans. “I have never seen anything like them. They don’t stop, do they?”
No, Demeco, they don’t.
Eagles 30, Redskins 19
Monday, November 26 vs. Carolina
Sean McDermott vs. Juan Castillo. It’s a game of defensive strategies and counter moves designed to limit the mobility of Vick and Carolina quarterback Cam Newton.
“Gang tackling,” says Rolle. “That’s what it is all about with us.”
Castillo head bumps defensive tackle
Eagles 17, Panthers 10
Sunday, December 2 at Dallas
Yet another prime-time game at Cowboys Stadium and this time Dallas fans, disgusted by the Cowboys’ sub-.500 record, picket in front of the stadium.
Eagles fans, meanwhile, gladly grab tickets at half of the face value and fill the seats.
DeSean Jackson scores his 11th and 12th touchdowns of the season and Celek tosses a tight end option pass for a score to Herremans, who has wrestled back the tackle-eligible job from Mathis.
“It’s where I belong,” said Herremans. “I want to thank my hands for being so soft.”
Eagles 42, Cowboys 7
Sunday, December 9 at Tampa Bay
Former Tampa Bay placekicker Matt Bryant serves as the Bucs’ honorary captain, but it’s Henery who sets the tone with a 59-yard field goal to cap the Eagles’ opening drive.
Vick has a field day in the warm sun, at one point completing 13 straight passes. Maclin finishes with 11 catches for 167 yards and two scores and backup quarterback
“We are very business-like, approaching every game one day at a time,” says McCoy, who gets 16 carries for 80 yards. “You look at Michael, he’s playing at a different level. We need a nickname for him.”
The world of Twitter comes to life at the suggestion. “Marvelous Mike,” is one idea. “Vick-tory” is another. “Vick And The Dread” is yet another.
“I’m not into nicknames,” says Vick. “Just winning games.”
Eagles 31, Bucs 14
Thursday, December 13 vs. Cincinnati
The NFL Network crew is in town for the short-week game and they are marveling over the Eagles’ undefeated season.
“Does history matter to you?” McCoy is asked.
“You mean, like Steve Van Buren? He’s the greatest running back of all time and I’m honored to be an Eagle, just like him.”
“No, no. Does being undefeated matter to you?”
“We’re undefeated?” McCoy deadpans …
As for the game, the offense struggles early against the Bengals ‘ very strong defense. But a takeaway by linebacker
The defense makes the lead stand. A
“Stan-Ley Hav-i-li! Stan-Ley Hav-i-li!”
In his post-game press conference, Havili praises the offensive line.
“Those guys aren’t just great offensive weapons,” he says. “They block pretty well, too.”
Eagles 21, Bengals 14
Sunday, December 23 vs. Washington
Washington fourth-string quarterback Vince Young, claimed off of waivers two weeks earlier, gets a chance to assert himself as a franchise quarterback for the rest of the league.
“This is a showcase-kind of game,” he says in the week-of press conference with Philadelphia reporters. “It’s a dream for me to be here.”
With the “Dream Game” scenario in place, Castillo’s defense turns its quickly into a nightmare scenario. Allen comes early on a blitz for a sack and takeaway. Asomugha picks off his 10th pass of the season. Chaney adds a sack.
The Eagles shut down Young and the Redskins. At 15-0, they are one game from a perfect regular season.
“That’s not my focus,” says Reid in his post-game press conference. “I haven’t decided yet on the starters for next week. We’ll see when we get there.”
Eagles 27, Redskins 0
Sunday, December 30 at New York Giants
Kafka gets his first start in his NFL career and completes his first 9 passes for 33 yards. The Eagles clearly want to establish the short-passing game as they go for the undefeated season.
Lewis carries 32 times for 167 yards and
Eagles 16, Giants 9
That’s the way I see it. I know it may seem implausible, but who knows? A couple of bounces here and there and the Eagles will have a season for the ages. Remember, you heard it here first.