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Spadaro: Behold the beauty and challenges of the 2023 Eagles schedule

Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro

If anyone had a doubt that the Eagles are a prime-time, national-audience NFL team, the 2023 regular-season schedule erases that thought.

Convincingly. Overwhelmingly.

A first glance at 18 weeks and 17 games reveals that Philadelphia, which plays the hardest strength of schedule (opponents had a .566 winning percentage in 2022), has to be at its best to repeat as NFC East Champions.

There are terrific angles every week in this 2023 slate, which features five prime-time games, a Christmas Day battle against the Giants at Lincoln Financial Field, an arduous travel itinerary, and a stretch run of games that will be testing. This is what happens when you're one of the NFL's most attractive – and best – teams with an international audience that is going to eat up every bit of this schedule.

Let's start at, well, the beginning.

Philadelphia starts the season on the road at New England, which has already announced its plans to honor former quarterback Tom Brady at the game, so that will be a raucous road environment. New England is looking for a bounce-back season after an 8-9 record in 2022 and quarterback Mac Jones, in his third season, is under intense scrutiny that will only be intensified with Brady in the house on September 10.

After that, the Eagles have a quick turnaround for a Week 2 Thursday night game against the Minnesota Vikings, a high-scoring team that opened its 2022 season 8-1 and finished at 13-4 before losing in the NFC Wild Card playoff round against the Giants. The lone loss in that great Vikings start? A 24-7 loss at Lincoln Financial Field in Week 2. Surely, the Vikings are looking to reverse the tables this time around.

In Week 3, the Eagles play their first prime-time game, a Monday Night Football battle at Tampa Bay. The Bucs could be a team in transition after Brady's three seasons there, and the expectation at this point is that Baker Mayfield will be the starting quarterback for Tampa Bay.

Philadelphia returns to Lincoln Financial Field for a 1 PM game against Washington, an NFC East rival that could have second-year man Sam Howell starting at the quarterback position. The 1 PM kickoff is one of only three on the season, illustrating the wall-to-wall national attention the Eagles will receive.

Then it's back to the road for the Eagles, first to Los Angeles to play the Rams on October 8 and then coming all the way back East to play at MetLife Stadium against the New York Jets and new quarterback Aaron Rodgers on October 15 at 4:25 PM. How good will the Rams be this season, just a few years after winning the Super Bowl? Is Rodgers the quarterback New York needs to push it into the postseason picture? There are great storylines for both teams.

Staying in the AFC East for Week 7, the Eagles host the high-flying Miami Dolphins on October 22 for a Sunday night 8:20 PM kickoff on NBC. The Dolphins are loaded with as much skill-position speed and explosiveness as any team, so this will be a great test for the Eagles in every way.

In Weeks 8 and 9, the Eagles stay in the NFC East – at Washington for a 1 PM kickoff at FedEx Field on October 29 and home with Dallas on November 5 for a 4:25 PM kickoff. Then the Eagles can exhale for a few days with a bye week before returning for what appears to be, at this point, a very challenging stretch run.

We know how things can change during the course of a season and how much an injury or a bad bounce or some other variables can alter the path of a team's year. But just think about this gauntlet for the Eagles following the bye week: at Kansas City for a Monday Night Football game on November 20, a game six days later at home against Buffalo in a 4:25 PM start, a visit from the 49ers a week later for another 4.25 PM start, at Dallas on December 10 in a Sunday night game, at Seattle a week later on December 17, and then the Christmas Day game against the Giants at 4:30 PM. That's a Monday game, by the way, and it gives the Eagles one fewer day to prepare for Arizona and the ever-dangerous Kyler Murray and the Cardinals – coached by former Eagles Defensive Coordinator Jonathan Gannon – at 1 PM on December 31.

The finale? It features the Eagles at the Giants and the time and date are to be determined. It is a game that could mean so much to the fortunes of an NFC East that has not had a repeat winner since the Eagles did it from 2001 through 2004.

That the Eagles are in the national spotlight is not the least bit surprising – the Eagles have a huge fan following and the team features some of the brightest stars in the league. They play an exciting style of football. This football team is deserving of all the love. At the same time, the schedule clearly will test the Eagles in terms of quality of the opponents, the travel back and forth the country, and, for sure, that late-season stretch against teams – Kansas City, Buffalo, San Francisco, Dallas, Seattle, and the New York Giants – who were in the postseason in 2022 and who have Super Bowl aspirations for '23.

In the big picture, it's a week-by-week proposition, as it always is. The Eagles aren't looking ahead and they won't. Every week has its stories and its challenges, the greatest of which is this: The Eagles have to be at their best each and every week. They are a hunted team with a schedule that has 11 games against teams that reached the playoffs last year.

Bring on the 2023 season! Preview what's to come for the Eagles by taking a look back at past matchups against upcoming opponents.


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