Cue the bright lights. Bring on the national television audience. The Eagles in 2022 are a national draw, as evidenced by a regular-season schedule released on Thursday that has Nick Sirianni's team playing in five (!!!) prime-time games and another, on Christmas Eve, in front of the entire world.
It's an attractive slate and it's also an indication of just what the league thinks of the Eagles after their playoff appearance in 2021: This is a team on the rise with star power that plays exciting, winning football.
The under-the-lights games are big ones, and each has its storyline to sell to the national audience:
• As announced on Monday, the Eagles open their home schedule on Monday, September 19, against the Minnesota Vikings on ABC. The 8:30 PM kickoff from Lincoln Financial Field features an Eagles offense that led the NFL in rushing last season and that returns intact with the key addition of wide receiver A.J. Brown against the Vikings' rebuilt defense.
Along with that, the Vikings have an explosive passing game that will test Philadelphia's defense that was significantly addressed in the offseason with the free-agent signings of edge rusher Haason Reddick and linebacker Kyzir White and the selections of tackle Jordan Davis and linebacker Nakobe Dean in the 2022 NFL Draft.
• In Week 6, the Eagles have a Sunday night game against visiting Dallas on NBC and that, of course, is always a must-see game that will no doubt be critical to the NFC East race. Dallas won the division in 2021, but, as we know, there has been no repeat winner in the NFC East since the Eagles did it from 2001-04.
• The third prime-time game is scheduled for November 3 in Houston, a Thursday night game against the Texans that will be broadcast exclusively on Amazon Prime. A rebuilding team, the Texans under new Head Coach Lovie Smith used the third pick in the NFL Draft on cornerback Derek Stingley, Jr. Houston was 4-13 last season and is set to go with second-year man Davis Mills at quarterback. Mills tossed 16 touchdowns and 10 interceptions last year.
• The Eagles remain in prime time for a game the following week in what will be one of the most anticipated games of the season – for obvious reasons. The Washington Commanders and quarterback Carson Wentz come to Lincoln Financial Field on November 14 for the game that will be broadcast on ESPN's Monday Night Football. Think the Linc will be rocking for the 8:15 PM kickoff? Ooohh boy ...
• A couple of weeks after that, on November 27, the Green Bay Packers visit Lincoln Financial Field for a Sunday night game that starts at 8:20 PM. Is this the last time the Eagles will face quarterback Aaron Rodgers? It's been a tough battle against the future Hall of Famer, who has a 4-2 record with 12 touchdowns and 3 interceptions against Philadelphia in his career.
Those are the five prime-time games, but there's one more tasty treat on the national slate – a Christmas Eve game at Dallas. Isn't every game the Eagles play in Dallas on the big stage? Sure seems that way ... The 4:25 PM kickoff is the Eagles' final game of the season against the Cowboys, of course, and who knows what the NFC East will look like at that point?
The regular season begins on the road at Detroit, a 1 PM kickoff on September 11. Philadelphia's 2021 season turned around with a 44-6 win in Detroit, a much-needed win after a 2-5 start to Sirianni's tenure. Even though Philadelphia lost the following week in a close game against the Chargers to fall to 3-6, that win in Detroit fueled a turnaround that helped the Eagles reach the postseason. In Week 4, former Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson and second-year quarterback Trevor Lawrence play at Lincoln Financial Field in a 1 PM kickoff.
The season ends at home with a January 1 game against the New Orleans Saints – Philadelphia has the Saints' first-round draft pick in 2023, so this means something – and a game on January 7 or 8 against the Giants.
It's a glamorous schedule for a team that returns with full force to the national stage. That's what happens when a team reaches the playoffs in the first year of a head coach's time and the roster blossoms with young, emerging talent. The NFL clearly thinks the Eagles are a team for the world to see.