We’re hanging out in the early summer, poring over the Eagles’ schedule, looking for the most exceptional games. Games you’ll be talking about next offseason. Games you’ll replay in your mind and on your DVR.
When you’re the Eagles, you can probably just say the two Cowboys games are the most intriguing of any season. Plus, the two against the Giants and the two against the Commanders.
Division rivalries are just built that way. Eagles fans have had years and years of joyous victories and bitter losses from these NFC East guys.
The most compelling and meaningful game of the season will be a division game — Carson Wentz and Commanders visiting Lincoln Financial Field on Monday night, Nov. 14.
FIRST COMMANDERS WILL BE IMPORTANT, TOO
The Eagles will play at Washington on Sept. 25. Yes, that matchup will be the first time the Eagles and Wentz share the same patch of real estate.
Yes, the game will have a massive buildup.
Yes, given the invasion of road stadiums by Eagles fans, there will be plenty of solid and heartfelt Philly boos that pour down on Wentz in his new home stadium.
But just wait until Nov. 14 — if Wentz is still playing. Given Wentz’ injury history, and the NFL in general, who knows if Wentz will be healthy by mid-November.
Since entering the NFL in 2016, Wentz has had the following injuries:
- Chest rib fracture in 2016 vs. Tampa Bay
- Torn ACL and MCL in 2017 at Los Angeles Rams
- Back vertebrae fracture sometime in 2018
- Concussion in playoff game vs. Seattle in 2020
- Injured foot in 2021 preseason
- Ankle injury in 2021 Game 2 vs. Rams. He didn’t miss a game.
FANS WILL GIVE WENTZ A PHILLY GREETING
If Wentz is ambulatory and runs out of the tunnel on Nov. 14, the Eagles’ unruly and possibly lubricated crowd will be part of the “Monday Night Football” show.
The boos will be loud and relentless. Eagles fans have looooooong memories and something to prove. They’re going to bring it. They will be full of vinegar.
Eagles fans take things personally and never forget — both endearing qualities in these fans.
But, Wentz will receive his share of cheers in Philly, too. Fans remember that without Wentz in 2017, there is no Super Bowl. Period.
If Wentz lights up the Eagles in September, revenge will be on everyone’s mind. If the Eagles beats Wentz, well, nothing is better than seconds, especially against old friends.
Plus, it’s a division game and it’s the Commanders. These matchups always are tough and close game.
TITANIC GAME WITH TENNESSEE
The other game that could be one of the most compelling will be Dec. 4 at home vs. the Tennessee Titans.
An intriguing aspect of the Titans game: It will be the Eagles’ last home game before three consecutive road games (at Giants, Bears and Cowboys).
The Titans are a quality team. They were 12-5 and won the AFC South Division last season. Top-seeded Tennessee lost a winnable game to Cincinnati, 19-16, in the divisional round, before the Bengals went to the Super Bowl.
A.J. Brown, by the way, scored the only Titans touchdown in that game, a 33-yard pass from Ryan Tannehill late in the third quarter to tie the score at 16.
Tennessee should provide a solid, late-season measuring stick to an Eagles team hoping to return to the playoffs.
The Eagles will be coming off likely tough games at Indianapolis, with apparently revitalized Matt Ryan at quarterback, plus back-up Nick Foles; and at home against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. An Eagles win against the Titans could kickstart a stretch run and possibly end a losing streak.
The Titans will keep a close eye on a fascinating element to the game. They traded star wide receiver Brown to the Eagles on the first night of the 2022 draft for the Birds’ 18th and 101st overall picks.
BROWN’S NUMBERS WITH TITANS:
- Titans’ second-round pick (51st overall) in 2019
- In three seasons, started 36 of 43 games
- 185 catches
- 2,995 yards
- 24 touchdowns
- 16.2 yards per reception
Brown fits an enormous hole for the Eagles — a big-time receiver who can team with DeVonta Smith to give young quarterback Jalen Hurts two irresistible targets.
The Titans’ game plan will be to run Derrick Henry and run him some more. With a December game in Philly, potentially cold and windy, the Eagles should expect to see a full dose of Henry.
It’s months away, but this feels like a slug it out, family feud game with playoff implications.
Buckle up. Can’t wait.