Taking a first glance at the 2019 Eagles schedule

As highly anticipated as any Eagles schedule, the 2019 version is out, and it is has a lot to absorb, filled with twists and turns and great games throughout. It opens and closes in the NFC East (Washington to open, at New York, the final of four straight division games, to close). There are five prime-time games with two more slated as national television games, against New England and Dallas. There is a tough three-game road trip in October that will help define the season, and a Week 10 bye that will give the Eagles a chance to catch their collective breath for the stretch run of the regular season.

To borrow from Seinfeld, the schedule is real (after what seems like forever we’ve waited), and it’s spectacular. Let’s take a week-by-week peek at the particulars, shall we?! …

Week 1: Washington Redskins, 1 p.m.

The Eagles have opened the regular season against Washington twice in recent seasons – 2013 and 2017, both playoff years, with a World Championship in 2017 – but both of those games were at FedEx Field. This time, for the first season since 1982, the Eagles open the season by hosting their NFC East rivals. They will see a Washington team that made a big trade in the offseason to secure a quarterback, Case Keenum. The Redskins should have their trademark tough defense, led by end Ryan Kerrigan, and a strong running game, with highly touted back Derrius Guice returning after missing his rookie season with a knee injury. Having Adrian Peterson in the fold will also aid Washington’s ground attack. Tough game in the division here. Washington has something to prove after an injury-riddled 2018 campaign.

Week 2: at Atlanta Falcons, 8:20 p.m.

The Eagles get their first taste of Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta for this Sunday Night Football game on NBC. This will be a great test for the Eagles’ secondary against Atlanta’s high-flying passing game. Get ready for more from wide receiver Julio Jones, who in five regular-season games against the Eagles has 36 receptions, 597 yards and five touchdowns. He added another nine receptions for 101 yards in the 2017 postseason game at Lincoln Financial Field. The Falcons are loaded on offense, fast and excellent tacklers on defense and, yes, this game could very well go down to the wire once again. Are you ready for another heart-stopping game against Atlanta?

Week 3: Detroit Lions, 1 p.m.

What to make of the Lions in Year 2 under head coach Matt Patricia? This is a building team with a lot of offensive firepower and a developing running game. Detroit is a dangerous, up-and-coming team. This is the kind of sneaky-good game you get in September (September 22, to be exact) so the Eagles have to make sure they are ready to play after the emotional Sunday night game the week before.

Week 4: at Green Bay, 8:20 p.m.

A quick turnaround for this Thursday night road game puts a lot of pressure on Jim Schwartz and his defense against the quick release and accuracy of Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The Packers have a new head coach and, with that, a new identity. The Eagles play at Lambeau Field in warm weather, under the lights – this is going to be a heavenly football environment and a great football game.

Week 5: New York Jets, 1 p.m.

From one, sure-thing Hall of Fame quarterback (Rodgers) to a second-year signal caller who is one of the rising stars at the position in the NFL, the Eagles see just how much Jets quarterback Sam Darnold has improved in his second season. The Jets were as active as any team in the league in free agency and there is a postseason expectation for that team. It’s hard to know how quickly things will come together for a team with so many new faces, so it’s probably a good thing that the Eagles see New York early in the regular season.

Week 6: at Minnesota Vikings, 1 p.m.

A team that disappointed in 2018 looks to rebound in a big way in 2019. The Vikings are loaded in the passing game and they’ve got tremendous talent in the offensive backfield. The defense is as good along the front seven as any in the league. For the third time in four weeks the Eagles play the NFC North with their first game at U.S. Bank Stadium since winning Super Bowl LII. This is the first of three straight very difficult road games for the Eagles as the playoff positioning starts to take shape around the league.

Week 7: at Dallas Cowboys, 8:20 p.m.

For the 72nd consecutive season, the Eagles play at Dallas in a Sunday Night Football game. This is more than a tradition. This is life. The Eagles and Cowboys tangle in what’s going to be a critical mid-season game to determine down-the-stretch jockey position in the NFC East. The Cowboys have had a solid offseason, adding pieces on both sides of the football, and the defending NFC East champions should be strong playoff contenders. Once again, this is a fantastic football matchup with a great environment involved.

Week 8: at Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m.

Don’t sleep on the Bills, especially as the Eagles play their third straight road game against a team that was active in free agency and that has a strong belief in second-year quarterback Josh Allen. Buffalo is a terrific football venue with fans who have weathered many seasons of disappointment. This is a really challenging spot for the Eagles. Let’s see how they rise to the occasion.

Week 9: Chicago Bears, 1 p.m.

It’s a bit surprising that the Eagles-Bears game isn’t a prime-time affair, given that both teams were playoff worthy last season, but oh well. Great game. The matchups are obvious: Chicago’s defense is stout and the Bears offense has improved greatly with head coach Matt Nagy implementing a spread, up-tempo attack. This is the final game against the NFC North, and it could have serious playoff implications.

Week 10: Bye Week

Week 11: New England Patriots, 4:25 p.m.

What needs to be said here? The defending Super Bowl Champions visit Lincoln Financial Field for a nationally televised game and, let’s be honest here, perhaps a final look at New England quarterback Tom Brady. Gronk or no Gronk, the Patriots are going to find a way to be relevant and outstanding in 2019. The Eagles, coming off the bye week, will be prepared for the unpredictability of the Patriots in every phase of the game.

Week 12: Seattle Seahawks, 8:20 p.m.

This is the third consecutive game at home for the Eagles, and it’s a doozy. Seattle is one of the best teams in the NFC, led by quarterback Russell Wilson, who has always given the Eagles fits with his mobility and his impromptu nature. Great game. This is another fantastic game on Sunday Night Football. It just keeps getting better and better.

Week 13: at Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m.

Welcome to December and the stretch run. The Eagles play at Miami, a home away from home, if you will. Eagles fans are going to absolutely take over Miami, as they’ve done in the past. The Dolphins are a tough team to figure out for 2019, which makes them dangerous. Hearing all of those E-A-G-L-E-S, EAGLES chants on the road will bring warmth to a team looking to surge in the final month of the regular season.

Week 14: New York Giants, 8:15 p.m.

In their only Monday Night Football appearance of the season, the Eagles host their NFC East rivals, the first of two games against the Giants in a span of four games to close the season. Eli Manning is still the quarterback and Saquon Barkley is still the running back and, yeah, it will be a bit odd that Odell Beckham, Jr. won’t be in a Giants uniform, but you can expect the same kind of physical, nasty, unpredictable Eagles-Giants game. That’s just the way it is in this rivalry.

Week 15: at Washington Redskins, 1 p.m.

The NFL is serious about teams finishing within the division – the Eagles have four straight games against the NFC East to close the season. How much different will Washington look now from the opening weekend? Eagles fans, start planning now. We’re going to need you at FedEx Field for this December 15 game.

Week 16: Dallas Cowboys, 4:25 p.m.

A huge one. Dallas at Lincoln Financial Field, late season, national television audience. It doesn’t get a whole lot better than that.

Week 17: at New York Giants, 1 p.m.

This is an extremely interesting spot for the Eagles. Yes, they’re finishing at MetLife Stadium against the Giants, as they’ve done in the past. A lot could be on the line for both teams, in a variety of ways. Like, is this going to be Eli Manning’s final game as the Giants’ quarterback? Stay tuned. There’s a reason no team has repeated as NFC East champion since the Eagles of 2003-04. Strange things happen in the division from year to year. The Eagles at Giants in Week 17 has a “special game” kind of ring to it.

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