The 2015 schedule for the Philadelphia Eagles has been announced. The schedule features six nationally televised games and a second consecutive Thanksgiving Day game ...
UPDATE: This post now includes the news that defensive end Sheldon Richardson was suspended by the NFL for the first four games of the 2015 NFL season.
The Eagles will make the short, familiar trip up the New Jersey Turnpike to face the New York Jets in Week 3. Just over three weeks earlier, the two sides will have met in the same location, but that will have been the preseason finale. This time, it's for real.
The Jets, under new head coach (and former Eagles defensive coordinator) Todd Bowles, will do their best to do something the Jets have never done before – beat the Eagles in the regular season. The Eagles have come out victorious in each of the nine meetings between the two teams in history, most recently dispatching of the Jets 45-19 in December of 2011.
But the rosters of both teams have changed significantly over the last four years. It's probably fair to say that no two teams saw more roster turnover just this offseason than the Eagles and Jets. You know what the Eagles have done, but the Jets started the 2015 season by overhauling their front office, bringing in Bowles and a new general manager in Mike Maccagnan. The offense now features Brandon Marshall at wide receiver, James Carpenter along the offensive line and a quarterback competition between Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith.
The Jets defense now features three new cornerbacks, though two of them aren't exactly new. Both Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie return to the Jets after brief stints elsewhere and they're joined by Buster Skrine in the slot. Marcus Gilchrist was also signed to start at safety. That new-look secondary will be tasked with stopping an Eagles offense that saw its own fair share of turnover this offseason.
In the draft, the Jets added to the only defensive line in the league that compares to the Eagles' when they drafted USC star Leonard Williams. Wide receiver Devin Smith adds some speed to the offense.
In the trenches, this game probably features the two best 3-4 defensive lines in football. Fletcher Cox, Cedric Thornton and Bennie Logan star for the Eagles, while Muhammad Wilkerson and now Williams star for the Jets. New York suffered a big loss on Thursday, however, as Pro Bowl right defensive end Sheldon Richardson was suspended the first four games of the 2015 season for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. They'll test an Eagles offensive line that will see some turnover with the departure of Todd Herremans.
For both sides, though, the game may come down to the quarterbacks – whoever they may be. Will it be Smith or Fitzpatrick? Bradford or, even juicier for the matchup, a returning Mark Sanchez? Or will one of the teams have a rookie at the position? After all, the Jets do own the sixth overall pick.
One thing's clear. The Eagles will have no fear of MetLife Stadium, having only lost once in five regular season trips to the newer, shinier swampland residence for the Jets and Giants.