Philadelphia Eagles News

2010 Eagles Schedule Game-By-Game Preview

The Philadelphia Eagles today announced their 2010 regular season schedule, highlighted with at least eight nationally televised games. The Eagles are slated to be on NBC's Sunday Night Football at least three times (at San Francisco on October 10, vs. NY Giants on November 21, and at Dallas on December 12). They will also play on ESPN's Monday Night Football (at Washington on November 15) and on the NFL Network (vs. Houston on Thursday, December 2).

"The schedule release is a day of great anticipation around the NFL," said Eagles president Joe Banner. "Having eight nationally televised games is an incredible testament to the popularity of the team and the optimism about the Eagles on a regional and national scale. I'm also happy that we are at home during the final two weeks of the season against Minnesota and Dallas. I think the NFL has done a great job creating a fan-friendly scheduling process in recent years by having a plethora of divisional games toward the latter part of the season."

The Eagles open up their 2010 campaign vs. Green Bay followed by two straight road games at Detroit and Jacksonville. The Eagles then host Donovan McNabb and the Washington Redskins at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday, October 3 at 4:15 pm. The Eagles' bye week occurs on the weekend of Halloween (Sunday, October 31). Following the bye week, Philadelphia is slated to play five nationally televised contests in a span of six weeks. They play five divisional opponents during the final eight weeks of the season, including all four match-ups with the Cowboys and the Giants. The Eagles conclude the regular season with a pair of home games against Minnesota and Dallas. In fact, their season finale will be played against their divisional rival Cowboys for the third consecutive season.

Eagles vs. Green Bay Packers
Sun., Sept. 12, 4:15 PM, FOX, Lincoln Financial Field
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  • Overall Series Record: 15-24
  • Record at Lincoln Financial Field: 4-0
  • Last Meeting: Sept. 9, 2007 - Packers 16, Eagles 13
  • Game Recap: In Green Bay for the 2007 season opener, special-teamer Tracy White recovered a fumbled punt in the end zone for the Packers, who won the game on a third-quarter field goal - the only points of the second half.
Game Preview

The Eagles will open their 2010 season at home against the Green Bay Packers for a nationally-televised 4:15 p.m. game. When Kevin Kolb looks across Lincoln Financial Field for the first time as a No. 1 quarterback, he will see Packers' sideline, and, hopefully, a vision of his future. In the off-season following the 2007 season, the Packers moved on from franchise hero Brett Favre in order to hand the reins of the franchise over to their young signal-caller, Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers rewarded the Packers' faith in him with a solid debut campaign in 2008 at the helm of a flawed team. In 2009 though, Rodgers proved to be among the very best quarterbacks in the entire league, sporting a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 30-to-7, second-best in the league, and a fourth-best 103.2 quarterback rating.

Behind Rodgers, the Packers made the playoffs as a wild-card team and came within inches of defeating the Arizona Cardinals on the road in the first round of the playoffs. The future is certainly bright for the Packers, who have a bevy of offensive weapons, including wide receivers Greg Jennings and Donald Driver, running back Ryan Grant, and tight end Jermichael Finley, one of the league's true matchup-nightmares - especially for a team that has had trouble covering the tight end in recent seasons.

The Packers' biggest focus this off-season is to upgrade an offensive line that allowed Rodgers to be sacked 50 times, tied for the most of any quarterback in the league. Veterans Mark Tauscher and Chad Clifton return at tackle, but the Packers are expected to address the position early in the draft. Clifton, or perhaps an unnamed rookie, will have his hands full with the Eagles' persistent pass-rusher Trent Cole, he of the 12.5 sacks in 2009.

For the Eagles, Kolb hopes to follow a similar path to Rodgers in replacing a franchise legend. When Donovan McNabb was traded to the Redskins on Easter night, the stage was set for Kolb to take over the franchise for the foreseeable future. The Eagles would no doubt be happy if he turned out to be of Rodgers' caliber, although Kolb and his teammates are admittedly setting their sights even higher, with tight end Brent Celek stating that he believes Kolb can become "the best quarterback in the league." Kolb certainly will have weapons at his disposal in Celek and wide receivers DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant among others. The Packers' secondary will present an interesting challenge for the young wideouts, as they are known for their physical nature, especially at cornerback where Al Harris and reigning NFL-defensive-player-of-the-year Charles Woodson ply their trade.

Aside from the already juicy matchup of two playoff teams with ascending talent, this game figures to be a great head-to-head battle between two of the game's best young signal-callers.

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Eagles at Detroit Lions
Sun., Sept. 19, 1 PM, FOX, Ford Field
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  • Overall Series Record: 15-12-2
  • Record at Ford Field: 1-0
  • Last Meeting: Dec. 20, 2009 - Eagles 56, Lions 21
  • Game Recap: Kevin Curtis caught 11 passes for 221 yards and scored three touchdowns in a rout.
Game Preview

Second-year head coach Jim Schwartz has the Lions moving in the right direction. Detroit had an aggressive off-season, adding some veteran pieces to the defense and Schwartz has a good scheme in place on that side of the ball. Detroit's main building block is quarterback Matthew Stafford, a second-year man who has all of the tools and the intangibles to lead Detroit back to the playoffs.

It is, though, a long process. The Lions took a step forward last year, and then endured some major injuries, losing running back Kevin Smith and tight end Brandon Pettigrew to torn anterior cruciate ligaments late in the season.

This game will also serve as a homecomin for linebacker Ernie Sims, who spent the first four season of his career in Detroit. Still, the Lions are capable of springing an upset on their home turf. The Eagles can't allow Stafford and his big arm to get into a rhythm, especially with star wide receiver Calvin Johnson able to have his way with any defense.

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Eagles at Jacksonville Jaguars
Sun., Sept. 26, 4:05 PM, FOX, Jacksonville Municipal Stadium
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  • Overall Series Record: 0-3
  • Record At Jacksonville Municipal Stadium: 0-4 (including Super Bowl XXXIX)
  • Last Meeting: Oct. 29, 2006 - Jaguars 13, Eagles 6
  • Game Recap: The Eagles couldn't sustain any offense while the Jaguars rushed for over 200 yards as a team in Philadelphia.
Game Preview

The Eagles head down to Jacksonville with a chance to do something that has never been done in the storied history of the Eagles franchise - beat the Jaguars in a regular season game. In fact, the Jaguars are the only active NFL franchise that the Eagles have yet to defeat, although the two teams have only met in the regular season three previous times.

The Eagles and Jaguars will already have some semblance of familiarity with each other come the fall because they also meet on August 13 to open the preseason. Jacksonville is coming off a 7-9 2009 season that, even though they lost their last four games, was a step in the right direction for a rebuilding franchise. They got tremendous production out of a 2009 draft class that produced four first-year starters: offensive tackles Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton, defensive tackle Terrence Knighton and cornerback Derek Cox.

On offense, the Jaguars are led by the diminutive cannonball Maurice Jones-Drew, who ran for 1,391 yards last season and led the AFC with 15 rushing touchdowns. Quarterback David Garrard, 32, is a threat both through the air and on the ground, although he is believed to need a stellar 2010 campaign in order to remain the Jaguars' quarterback of the future. On the outside, the Jaguars are looking for a complement to Mike Sims-Walker, who emerged as a possible No. 1 in 2009 with 63 catches for 869 yards in his first healthy NFL season.

While the Jaguars were an average team offensively in 2009, their real trouble was a defense that was unable to put any pressure on the opposing team's quarterback. The Jaguars were dead last in the NFL with an anemic 14 sacks, eight fewer than the next closest team. In an effort to rectify that, they signed free agent defensive end Aaron Kampman in the off-season, but it remains to be seen how healthy and ready the 30-year-old defensive end will be after he suffered a torn ACL last November.

The Jaguars do have a solid secondary that includes Cox and Pro-Bowl performer Rashean Mathis that could slow up the Eagles' feared tandem of DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin somewhat, but they're also searching consistent play at safety, where former first-round pick Reggie Nelson has been a disappointment.

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Eagles vs. Washington Redskins
Sun., Oct. 3, 4:15 PM, FOX, Lincoln Financial Field
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  • Overall Series Record: 68-78-6
  • Series Record At Lincoln Financial Field: 4-3
  • Last Meeting At Lincoln Financial Field: Nov. 29, 2009 - Eagles 27, Redskins 24
  • Game Recap: David Akers made all four of his field goal attempts, including the final one with just 1:48 left to help lift the Eagles to the win. Jason Avant had two catches for 66 yards on the game-tying drive in the fourth quarter to help ignite the Eagles offense that had gone three-and-out on every drive in the second half up until that point.
Game Preview

Well, Eagles fans won't have to wait too long for the most anticipated game of the season. In a game that should make the first three games seem like a sort of pre-season, the Eagles will welcome in the division rival Washington Redskins and their new quarterback. For the second straight year, the fans will witness the return of an iconic player in another uniform.

So the first question to answer will be: How do the Eagles faithful welcome the return of Donovan McNabb?

McNabb leads the Washington Redskins into what is a very familiar scene for both he and his burgundy-clad teammates. However, McNabb will be coming out of the visitors' locker room and will be trying to send the near 70,000 fans in attendance home in disappointment.

Some of McNabb's most magical moments have taken place at Lincoln Financial Field including "4th-and-26." It will be interesting to see if there are an increased amount of Redskins jerseys in the stands much like when Brian Dawkins returned to Philadelphia as a member of the Denver Broncos late last season. It wouldn't be surprising to see if McNabb "accidentally" head over to the Eagles sideline at some point.

McNabb will likely look over, however, and miss the weapons he had in his final year with the team. The Redskins offensive line is long overdue for an overhaul and it's likely his blindside protector will be a rookie from the upcoming draft. Certainly not an All-Pro like Jason Peters. The backfield in Philadelphia is young and vibrant with LeSean McCoy, Mike Bell and Leonard Weaver. In Washington, it's big named like Clinton Portis, Larry Johnson and Willie Parker but it remains to be seen whether they can still be productive.

At wide receiver, McNabb has some young targets in Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly as well as the savvy vet Santana Moss. But Thomas and Kelly certainly have not been as productive as DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. Although, McNabb has a security blanket in tight end Chris Cooley.

Of course, McNabb has the backing of Super Bowl-winning coach Mike Shanahan, who will look to make the most of McNabb's mobility and strong arm.

McNabb will also have the support of a top-10 defense, but even that is in transition. New coordinator Jim Haslett is switching the Redskins from a 4-3 base to a 3-4. Will Albert Haynesworth anchor the defensive line? It was reported that Haynesworth was offered to the Eagles in the McNabb trade, but the Eagles balked. The Redskins reportedly paid Haynesworth a $21 million bonus not too long ago, so it's highly unlikely that they would pay that and then move him.

Defensive end/linebacker Brian Orakpo had an outstanding rookie season with a team-best 11.0 sacks and he will be the focal point of the new 3-4 scheme from a pass rush perspective. The question is how will longtime middle linebacker London Fletcher fare in the new scheme? The secondary has talent with cornerbacks DeAngelo Hall and Carlos Rogers, but need a cover safety to complement LaRon Landry.

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Eagles at San Francisco 49ers
Sun., Oct. 10, 8:20 PM, NBC, Candlestick Park
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  • Overall Series Record: 11-17-1
  • Record at Candlestick Park: 6-5
  • Last Meeting: Dec. 20, 2009 - Eagles 27, 49ers 13
  • Game Recap: DeSean Jackson had six catches for 140 yards and a touchdown and the Eagles defense forced four turnovers in the first half dooming San Francisco's chances early.
Game Preview

The Eagles might as well win this game because it's certainly going to be a long flight home. For their first prime-time game of the 2010 season, the Eagles will travel to the west coast for a Sunday night game in San Francisco. Hopefully, they'll have a better performance than their two west coast trips last season, both losses.

The 49ers hope to make a playoff run under head coach Mike Singletary, and they have many of the pieces in place. Frank Gore leads a strong ground game, second-year man Michael Crabtree is an emerging star at wide receiver and the defense is solid. The big question for San Francisco is the quarterback position. Alex Smith showed signs of blossoming last season and the 49ers added David Carr to provide competition.

Playing on the West Coast is not an easy thing for an NFC East team, so this is a tricky spot for the Eagles. San Francisco's defense is capable of wreaking havoc with its pressure packages, and the offense can control the line of scrimmage with the running game.

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Eagles vs. Atlanta Falcons
Sun., Oct. 17, 1 PM, FOX, Lincoln Financial Field
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  • Overall Series Record: 16-11-1
  • Series Record At Lincoln Financial Field: 3-0
  • Last Meeting: Dec. 6, 2009 - Eagles 34, Falcons 7
  • Game Recap: Michael Vick's return to Atlanta was a victorious one as he scored his first two touchdowns as an Eagle - one rushing, one passing - in the blowout win. The Falcons were without quarterback Matt Ryan, running back Michael Turner and left tackle Sam Baker and didn't score until literally the final play of the game.
Game Preview

Two young quarterbacks. Two different methods of preparing them.

Atlanta's Matt Ryan was the No. 3 overall pick of the 2008 NFL Draft and was thrust into action immediately. Kevin Kolb was the team's top pick in 2007 and had to wait until this season to get the starting nod.

Then again, the Falcons were a mess between losing their franchise quarterback in Michael Vick to watching head coach Bobby Petrino quit midseason. The Eagles had the luxury to allow Kolb to develop behind Donovan McNabb while the team was in the midst of their annual playoff runs.

The Falcons didn't make the playoffs in 2009, but they did have back-to-back winning seasons for - believe it or not - the first time in franchise history.

Ryan has the skill position pieces around him which eased his transition to the pro game. Michael Turner is a bruising workhorse tailback who must be accounted for. Roddy White is one of the budding young stars at the wide receiver position. Oh, Tony Gonzalez is only a Hall of Fame tight end, who could be entering the final year of his career.

Atlanta looked to bolster the youth on defense last year by using its first two draft picks - defensive tackle Peria Jerry and safety William Moore - on that side of the ball. However, both of those players were on injured reserve by midseason. The Falcons did sign Dunta Robinson from the Houston Texans. Robinson was the premier cornerback on the limited free agent market. The Falcons still need some help at defensive end and outside linebacker, but Curtis Lofton is one of the up-and-coming middle linebackers in the game.

Last year, Michael Vick's return to Atlanta was the primary storyline. This year, it's two young quarterbacks trying to guide their teams to the playoffs.

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Eagles at Tennessee Titans
Sun., Oct. 24, 1 PM, FOX, LP Field
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  • Overall Series Record: 6-3
  • Record at LP Field: 0-1
  • Last Meeting: Nov. 19, 2006 - Titans 31, Eagles 13
  • Game Recap: In a game that is best remembered for Donovan McNabb's season-ending ACL injury, the Titans scored on the ground, in the air, on a punt return and on a defensive fumble return en route to their 18-point victory. Jeff Garcia took over in the second quarter after McNabb went down and went 26-48 for 189 yards. But he would go 5-1 the rest of the way, leading the Eagles to a surprise playoff appearance.
Game Preview

This is likely to be as close as NFL fans will ever get to a race between wide receiver DeSean Jackson and Titans running back Chris Johnson for the title of NFL's fastest man. Johnson's blazing speed - he ran an unheard of 4.24 at the 2008 combine - was on display last season when he led the league in rushing with 2,006 yards on the ground, to go along with over 500 receiving yards. Meanwhile, Jackson tied the NFL record with touchdowns of over 50 yards last season with eight. The two dynamos, who came into the league at the same time, are without question two of the most exciting players in the league, and football fans everywhere will keep an eye on the potential fireworks in Philadelphia this week. If only they could line up directly against each other.

To combat Johnson's speed, the Eagles will have to rely on defensive ends Trent Cole and Darryl Tapp on the outside, while the return of Stewart Bradley at middle linebacker should also make a difference for the run defense. In 2009, the Eagles sported the ninth-best rush defense (104.9 yards per game), but they will need to remain disciplined and technically-sound if they are to contain Johnson. Of course, the best way to limit the impact of the player who was named 2009 Offensive Player of the Year is to play from ahead and force the Titans to throw the ball. Although he is a playmaker with the ball in his hands, Titans quarterback Vince Young is not the most accurate passer and he can be rendered ineffective if made one-dimensional.

On defense, the Titans really felt the loss of defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth 2009, allowing 365.6 yards per game, 27th in the NFL. However, their play improved during the team's late-season rally. Cornerback Cortland Finnegan is probably the unit's best player and is likely to draw the difficult assignment of covering Jackson, while defensive tackle Tony Brown is an intimidating presence up the middle. Still, the Titans will likely address the defensive side of the ball early on draft day.

Even with his limited playing experience, Eagles quarterback will recognize at least players on the Titans defense - linebacker Will Witherspoon and defensive end Jason Babin, both of whom were members of the Eagles last season. Witherspoon was released by the Eagles following the 2009 season in which he was a mid-season trade acquisition. The Eagles also chose not to match Babin's contract offer from Tennessee, so both players will have a small measure of revenge to seek on the field against their former team.

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Eagles vs. Indianpolis Colts
Sun., Nov. 7, 4:15 PM, CBS, Lincoln Financial Field
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  • Overall Series Record: 7-10
  • Series Record At Lincoln Financial Field: First Meeting
  • Last Meeting: Nov. 26, 2006 at RCA Dome - Colts 45, Eagles 21
  • Game Recap: The Eagles were unable to overcome an early 21-0 deficit in this forgettable Sunday night affair as Joseph Addai rushed for 171 yards and four touchdowns. Jeff Garcia threw two touchdowns in his first start for an injured Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook rushed for a then-career-high 124 rushing yards.
Game Preview

Andy Reid's perfect record following a bye week will be put to the ultimate test when the Eagles welcome in Peyton Manning and the defending AFC Champion Indianapolis Colts to Lincoln Financial Field for the first time.

The Colts completed one of the most impressive decades in NFL history last season with a record 115 regular season wins. They were 14-2 last season, which was the seventh straight season with 12-or-more wins, another NFL record. For the sixth time in seven years, the Colts were division champions. And no team has made as many consecutive playoff appearances as the Colts have with eight.

Indianapolis came up short in a thrilling Super Bowl, but will be the one of the favorites to make another run in 2010. Mind you, last year was supposed to be a transition year with rookie head coach Jim Caldwell replacing Tony Dungy and first-year defensive coordinator Larry Coyer moving away from the traditional Tampa 2 scheme.

In this matchup, the Eagles will look to two former Colts for some help.

The Eagles essentially rented wide receiver Hank Baskett to the Colts last year and also signed defensive back Marlin Jackson this off-season. Baskett was primarily a special teams player who gained notoriety for his role in the onsides kick to open the second half of the Super Bowl. Jackson was a former first-round pick of the Colts in 2005, but was sidelined for the title game because of an ACL injury.

Manning remains the focal point of the Colts offense and has a new array of weapons to work with. After Marvin Harrison was Manning's go-to guy for years, Manning now has Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie along with entrenched stars Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark. Plus, Anthony Gonzalez, who was expected to be a integral cog of the offense before an injury last year, will be back.

The Colts have focused on improving the protection for Manning after team president Bill Polian was highly critical of the offensive line's performance in the Super Bowl. The Colts signed guard Andy Alleman and offensive tackle Adam Terry and released longtime starters Ryan Diem and Ryan Lilja. Don't be surprised if the Colts add another offensive tackle early in this year's draft.

On defense, middle linebacker Gary Brackett anchors Coyer's aggressive, attacking style of defense which is designed to open up more one-on-one matchups for Pro Bowl ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, who are ranked first and second, respectively, in franchise history for sacks. Despite adjusting to a new defense, the Colts finished eighth in the league in points allowed. And that was primarily without playmaking safety Bob Sanders, who battled through injuries for the second straight season but is expected to be ready to go in 2010.

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Eagles at Washington Redskins
Mon., Nov. 15, 8:30 PM, ESPN, FedEx Field
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  • Overall Series Record: 68-78-6
  • Record at FedEx Field: 8-5
  • Last Meeting at FedEx Field: Oct. 29, 2009 - Eagles 27, Redskins 17
  • Game Recap: The Eagles jumped out early in the Monday night game on two DeSean Jackson TDs and held on for the victory.
Game Preview

Need a storyline? Um, well, the battle of the quarterbacks is going to be worth watching as Kevin Kolb faces a certain No. 5 who starred with the Eagles for 11 seasons. Donovan McNabb has settled in quickly in Washington, and now he has his new home fans backing him against his former teammates. And oh yeah, it's a Monday Night game on ESPN.

The two teams will be six weeks removed from their first meeting of the season, so one team will no doubt be searching for some measure of revenge. An interesting note here for the Eagles is that they will play the Redskins twice before getting a chance to play either of the other two NFC East teams.

Beyond that, though, this is a very difficult matchup for the Eagles. Washington's veteran defense and its excellent scheme gave the Eagles troubles last season, even as Philadelphia swept the Redskins. Second-year man Brian Orakpo made the Pro Bowl as a defensive end in his rookie season and he leads an aggressive group that will challenge the Eagles up front.

Defensively, the Eagles have their hands full with Washington's running game and, of course, McNabb. Will the Eagles blitz him? Will they lay back in coverage? This is going to be a chess match worth watching every step of the way.

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Eagles vs. New York Giants
Sun., Nov. 21, 8:20 PM, NBC, Lincoln Financial Field
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  • Overall Series Record: 72-82-2
  • Record at Lincoln Financial Field: 4-4
  • Last Meeting at Lincoln Financial Field: Nov. 1, 2009 - Eagles 40, Giants 17
  • Game Recap: A balanced offense kick-started by a 41-yard TD run from FB Leonard Weaver helped the Eagles to the impressive win.
Game Preview

Coming off a short week, the Eagles will welcome in the New York Giants for a second-straight NFC East tilt, and a second-straight game in prime-time for this Sunday nighter.

Last year had to be a blip for the Giants, normally a tremendous defensive team. The Giants fell apart on that side of the ball, though, and made some dramatic changes to their coaching staff and their defensive personnel. Now, New York appears ready to rebound with a revamped secondary led by free-agent signee Antrel Rolle.

Also expect end Osi Umenyiora to bounce back two seasons after tearing up his knee, and if that happens, the Giants will be every bit as dangerous with their pass rush.

Offensively, New York is already potent. Steve Smith has developed into a Pro Bowl receiver and a complement to a ground that has versatility and power. It is, again, a great matchup against a key division rival.

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Eagles at Chicago Bears
Sun., Nov. 28, 1 PM, FOX, Soldier Field
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  • Overall Series Record: 12-28-1
  • Record at Soldier Field: 4-7
  • Last Meeting: Nov. 22, 2009 - Eagles 24, Bears 20
  • Game Recap: LeSean McCoy's 10-yard TD run capped a 62-yard drive in the 4th quarter to win a game that helped turn the season in the right direction.
Game Preview

A late November game in Chicago could certainly mean interesting weather, but the Eagles will hope they can match their result from last season's trip to the windy city.

Chicago went all out in free agency, signing the marquee defensive player on the market, end Julius Peppers, and running back Chester Taylor. The Bears are primed to rebound from last year's disappointing performance, and the key to their success is, of course, quarterback Jay Cutler.

Cutler was far too inconsistent last season, tossing 27 touchdowns (good) and 26 interceptions (very bad). Chicago's running game suffered with second-year man Matt Forte, so the Bears went out and signed Taylor during the first day of free agency and now has an enviable two-headed running attack.

Many believe that anything less than a deep playoff run could cost general manager Jerry Angelo and head coach Lovie Smith their jobs. If that's the case, the Bears have loaded up with veteran star power and are looking to make some noise in the NFC North this season.

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Eagles vs. Houston Texans
Thurs., Dec. 2, 8:20 PM, NFL Network, Lincoln Financial Field
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  • Overall Series Record: 2-0
  • Series Record At Lincoln Financial Field: First Meeting
  • Last Meeting: Sept. 10, 2006 at Reliant Stadium - Eagles 24, Texans 10
  • Game Recap: Donte Stallworth made his Eagles debut an impressive one as he caught six passes for 141 yards and a touchdown. After the Texans scored a touchdown on their opening drive, the Eagles defense stifled the Texans to just three points and 164 net yards while sacking quarterback David Carr five times.
Game Preview

The Eagles return to Thursday night football for the first time since their Thanksgiving night victory over the Arizona Cardinals two seasons ago when they welcome in their final AFC South opponent of the season, the Houston Texans.

The Houston Texans made a breakthrough in 2009 as they won their final four games to finish with their first winning season (9-7) since joining the NFL in 2002. In 2010, the Texans look to take the next step and secure their first playoff berth.

The Texans boasted the league's top passing attack last season with one of the deadliest quarterback-wide receiver tandems in the NFL in Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson. Schaub led the league with a staggering 4,770 passing yards last season and Johnson was his go-to guy with a league-high 1,569 yards. Schaub's numbers were even more impressive when you factor in that he was without talented tight end Owen Daniels for half of the season because of a knee injury.

As impressive the Texans were through the air, the ground game - with a parcel of backs including Steve Slaton and Ryan Moats - never took off as they ranked 30th in the league in rushing. What hurt the run game even more was the propensity to fumble away the ball. The Texans ranked sixth in the league with 11 lost fumbles in 2009.

It'll be interesting to see what the Texans offense looks like with first-year offensive coordinator Rick Dennison taking over for Kyle Shanahan, who joined his dad in Washington. Dennison isn't a first-time offensive coordinator. He was Denver's offensive coordinator from 2006-08 and the Broncos were in the top 12 in rushing in each of those seasons.

The defense has some juice of its own with three young playmakers in former No. 1 overall draft pick Mario Williams at defensive end and recent NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year winners in linebackers DeMeco Ryans and Brian Cushing. Williams is a massive 6-6, 288-pound two-time Pro Bowl end with a franchise-record 39.5 sacks over his four NFL seasons. In 2007, he set the franchise single-season record with 14.0 sacks. Ryans is a two-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker with 518 career tackles, 7.5 sacks, five forced fumbles and two career interceptions. Cushing made the Pro Bowl as a rookie last year at strongside linebacker and his 134 tackles ranked second in the league only to Baltimore's Ray Lewis. The secondary, however, will have to make up for the loss of cornerback Dunta Robinson who signed with Atlanta in the off-season.

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Eagles at Dallas Cowboys
Sun., Dec. 12, 8:20 PM, NBC, Cowboys Stadium
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  • Overall Series Record: 44-58
  • Record at Cowboys Stadium: 0-2
  • Last Meeting at Cowboys Stadium: Jan. 10, 2010 - Cowboys 34, Eagles 14 (Wild Card)
  • Game Recap: Dallas broke a tie game late in the first half and never looked back to win the Wild Card playoff game. Four turnovers doomed the Eagles.
Game Preview

The Eagles will have every opportunity to overcome the demons of their late-season performances against the Dallas Cowboys last year because they face off against the Cowboys twice in the season's final four games. For the first game of a brutal, season-ending four-game gauntlet, the Eagles return to the scene of where their season ended in 2009.

On the bright side, the Eagles will have 10 days to prepare for the trip to Dallas, and wat is scheduled to be their fifth prime-time game of the season. They'll be facing off against a Dallas team that hasn't had a lot of change in this off-season. The Cowboys won the NFC East last year and appeared ready to make a deep run into the playoffs. But one week after beating up on the Eagles, Dallas took it on the chin at Minnesota.

The Eagles watched that game and learned that the best way to stop the Dallas offense is to win the battle at the line of scrimmage. Minnesota bottled up the Cowboys' powerful running game and got after quarterback Tony Romo. A key for the Eagles is to slow down wide receiver Miles Austin, who caught 15 passes for 221 yards and 2 touchdowns in the three wins over Philadelphia in 2009. Even in the first game, when the Eagles limited Austin to one catch, he made it count, grabbing a 49-yard pass for a TD to give Dallas the advantage.

The drama will again be great for this one as Kevin Kolb plays in the NFL for the first time in his home state. The Eagles offense must find a way to put the Cowboys' pressure-oriented defense on its heels.

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Eagles at New York Giants
Sun., Dec. 19, 1 PM, FOX, New Giants Stadium
[

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  • Overall Series Record: 72-82-2
  • Series Record At New Giants Stadium: First Meeting
  • Last Meeting At New York: Dec. 13, 2009 - Eagles 45, Giants 38
  • Game Recap: In a Sunday-night nationally televised shootout, the Eagles outlasted the Giants as DeSean Jackson scored two touchdowns and had 178 receiving yards. His second touchdown - a 60-yard reception - came just after the Giants rallied to take the lead late in the third quarter. The 83 combined points were the most-ever in series history, which was a fitting end for the Eagles' final trip to Giants Stadium.
Game Preview

The Eagles make their first trip to the "New" Giants Stadium which is only a deep DeSean Jackson touchdown away from the old facility.

It's a shame because the Eagles began the make Giants Stadium a home away from home in recent years. The Eagles have won the last four meetings against the Giants and three of them, including the Divisional Round matchup in 2008, were in North Jersey.

In the sweep of the Giants last season, the Eagles scored a combined 85 points in the two games. The Giants have attempted to fortify the defense by splurging on two free agent safeties in Antrel Rolle and Deon Grant - don't forget Kenny Phillips will be back too. At linebacker, longtime Eagles nemesis Antonio Pierce is gone and it doesn't look like that Danny Clark will be re-signed.

The one thing that both the Eagles and the Giants share in common - other than distaste for one another - is they each have a young, vibrant receiving corps. The Giants finally moved past Plaxico Burress with the breakout season that Steve Smith had in 2009 and the promising rookie campaign put together by Hakeem Nicks. The offensive line that has protected quarterback Eli Manning so well is starting to get a little long in the tooth, especially at the offensive tackle spots.

But one thing is for sure, if the Giants open the new season and welcome in the new stadium with the same effort that ended the 2009 campaign, which saw its fans wallow in misery at the sight of back-to-back embarrassments at the hands of Carolina and Minnesota (a combined 85-16 in the two games), monumental changes will need to be made.

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Eagles vs. Minnesota Vikings
Sun., Dec. 26, 1 PM, FOX, Lincoln Financial Field
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  • Overall Series Record: 12-11
  • Record at Lincoln Financial Field: 2-0
  • Last Meeting: Jan. 4, 2009 - Eagles 26, Vikings 14 (Wild Card)
  • Game Recap: After a crazy sequence of events led the Eagles to the playoffs, they dispatched of the Vikings on their own field in the opening round of the playoffs. The Eagles' 16-14 halftime lead remained throughout the second half until a vintage 71-yard touchdown catch-and-run on a screen play by Brian Westbrook sealed the deal for the Eagles with just over six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
Game Preview

Well Eagles fans, how does a home game against Brett Favre sound as a Christmas present?

Last year, the Vikings did what the Eagles couldn't - beat the Dallas Cowboys. After their third and final win over the Eagles in the 2009 season, the Cowboys traveled up to Minnesota for the divisional round of the playoffs last year and were run off the field by the Vikings in a demonstrative 34-3 dismantling. The Vikings killed the Cowboys with their pass rush that game, and that's precisely what the Eagles will need to corral if Kevin Kolb is to have enough time to find the open receiver in this game.

The Vikings boast perhaps the best defensive line in all of football, with defensive end Ray Edwards, defensive tackles Pat and Kevin Williams, and defensive end Jared Allen, he of the 14.5 sacks last year. As a team, the Vikings paced the NFL with their 48 sacks in 2009, so the Eagles' offensive line will certainly have their hands full, especially Pro-Bowl left tackle Jason Peters, the man who will line up across from Allen.

But the Vikings certainly have more to their team than the defensive line. On offense, they have one of the league's most exciting players in running back Adrian Peterson, who led the NFL with 18 touchdowns in 2009. Peterson is equally adept at running around and over defenders, though he is sometimes prone to fumble, so the Eagles could have an opportunity for a big play on defense. At wide receiver, Sidney Rice emerged as one of the best deep threats in the game last year, hauling in 1,312 receiving yards. Of course, his quarterback had a lot to do with that.

Oh yes, that quarterback. Favre, 40, has yet to officially announce whether he will be returning in 2010, but all indications point to another season for the gray-bearded "gunslinger." Following a disappointing 2008 campaign with the New York Jets, Favre lit the league on fire in 2009, posting the best touchdown-to-interception ratio in the league, 33-to-7. But while his penchant for taking unnecessary risks was stifled for most of the season, the lasting image of his year was the game-clinching interception he threw across his body to a Saints defender in the NFC Championship game. Favre will no doubt return primed to go even further in 2010.

Cornerback Asante Samuel no doubt appreciates Favre's risk-taking approach, as he is considered the league's foremost gambler at cornerback, so there figures to be an intriguing chess match between those two. The Eagles' biggest question mark going into the season is widely-considered to be the secondary, so, in addition to Samuel, the onus will be on safety Quintin Mikell and whoever the other two starting members of the secondary turn out to be in order to prevent a Vikings home run.

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Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys
Sun., Jan. 2, 2011, 1 PM, FOX, Lincoln Financial Field
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  • Overall Series Record: 44-58
  • Series Record At Lincoln Financial Field: 4-3
  • Last Meeting At Lincoln Financial Field: Nov. 8, 2009 - Cowboys 20, Eagles 16
  • Game Recap: Miles Austin was held in-check the entire game until he caught a 49-yard touchdown pass midway through the fourth quarter for the go-ahead score. The Eagles struggled in short-yardage situations including a fourth-and-1 in the fourth quarter. Donovan McNabb was sacked four times and picked off twice.
Game Preview

So if Kevin Kolb wants to endear himself to Eagles fans, he'll go a long way by knocking off the Dallas Cowboys when they come to Lincoln Financial Field.

The Eagles were stymied by the Cowboys thrice in 2010. The second matchup gave the Cowboys the NFC East title. The final showdown ended the Eagles' season as well as an era at the quarterback position.

How will the Eagles topple their arch-rivals and claim NFC East supremacy once again?

It doesn't matter who is at quarterback, if the Cowboys' front seven is allowed to unleash the fury that it did last season the Eagles won't have a chance. The Eagles have to find a way to get DeSean Jackson involved. Kolb's ability to get rid of the ball quickly and hit receivers on short timing routes - like his counterpart in Dallas in Tony Romo - should help. The Eagles' inability to convert short-yardage situations should be greatly improved by the addition of Mike Bell and the re-signing of Leonard Weaver.

As for the defense, the Cowboys went from looking Super Bowl-bound against the Eagles in the Wild Card round to nothing more than an annoyance the following week in Minnesota. What happened? The Vikings were able to wreak havoc and make life miserable for Romo. The Eagles tried a variety of approaches in regards to attacking the Cowboys offense, but none worked. Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott has to find a way to make the Cowboys pay when he chooses to blitz. The addition of Darryl Tapp should help the pass rush. It remains to be seen whether Marlin Jackson is the answer at free safety or if Ellis Hobbs will be the starting right cornerback for the 2010 season?

Getting Stewart Bradley back on defense should provide some solace in the middle of the field which is where Dallas was able to attack with what seemed like minimal effort.

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