The Eagles' 2011 preseason schedule has been released and Andy Reid and company are looking at a lineup of challenging opponents, including three 2010 playoff teams, that figures to prepare the team well for the regular season. Within the four-game slate is a nationally televised intra-state matchup, an opener against a former Reid protégé and the all-important third preseason game against the Cleveland Browns, who have plenty of familiar faces to Eagles fans.
Game 1 – Home vs. Baltimore Ravens (Thursday, August 11)Broadcast: 7:30 PM, Eagles Television Network (6abc)
The Eagles' first game action in 2011 is scheduled to take place at Lincoln Financial Field against the Ravens, a team led by John Harbaugh, a member of the Eagles' coaching staff from 1998-2007. Last season, the Ravens finished 12-4 and bowed out in the second round of the playoffs to the Pittsburgh Steelers. It will the first preseason meeting between the two teams since 2007, when they met for the 10th time in 12 seasons. In the regular season, the Eagles are 1-1-1 all-time against the Ravens.
Game 2 – At Pittsburgh Steelers (Thursday, August 18)Broadcast: 8 PM, FOX
The Pennsylvania battleground game will take place in the second week of the preseason on a Thursday night national telecast. It will be a matchup of two reigning division champions, as Michael Vick is slated to line up against the Super Bowl runners-up. The Steelers and Eagles met in the preseason six straight years from 2003-2008 and last met in the regular season in September of 2008, a game the Eagles won 15-6.
Game 3– Home vs. Cleveland Browns (Thursday, August 25)Broadcast: 7:30 PM, ETN (6abc)
In what is typically the preseason game that sees the most action for starters, the Eagles will welcome in a Cleveland Browns team run by one of Andy Reid's mentors (Browns President Mike Holmgren), one former Reid running mate (Browns general manager Tom Heckert) and a former Reid assistant (new Browns head coach Pat Shurmur). Shurmur, the former Eagles quarterbacks coach, inherits a team coming off a 5-11 season. But there are signs of encouragement in Cleveland, as they got solid play from rookie quarterback Colt McCoy and breakout running back Peyton Hillis. Add the No. 6 overall pick in the upcoming draft and you have the recipe for a potential 2011 sleeper, and a good measuring stick for the Eagles as they prepare for the 2011 regular season.
Game 4 – At New York Jets (Thursday, Sept. 1)Broadcast: 7:30 PM, ETN (6abc)
The Eagles continue what has become a tradition of concluding the preseason against their foes two hours north on I-95. This will mark the 11th straight season that the Eagles and Jets have met in the final game of the preseason. For their part, the Jets are also coming off a playoff season in 2010, as they made it all the way to the AFC Championship game before falling to the Steelers.