Take a look at the Eagles’ 17-game schedule. You see an advantageous nine home games and eight on the road. You don’t see a jet-lagged overseas trip, not even a West Coast trip. The longest journey is Arizona.
You don’t see the scary AFC West.
Here’s what else you don’t see: many elite quarterbacks.
I count one: Aaron Rodgers.
Sorry, until Dak Prescott wins something beyond the NFC East title, he is not on the same level as the Super Bowl-winning Rodgers. It’s still a reach to consider Prescott an elite quarterback. He’s very good but not on the Tom Brady-Patrick Mahomes-Rodgers level.
Last year, the Eagles played and lost to a future wing of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
They lost to Brady, twice. They lost to Mahomes. And Justin Herbert. They lost to some good-to-great quarterbacks in Prescott (twice), Jimmy Garoppolo and David Carr. And they lost to an unfinished and uncertain quarterback in Daniel Jones.
EAGLES SCHEDULE NOT AS FOREBODING
This year’s schedule isn’t as formidable and neither are the quarterbacks they’ll face. I’ve seen the Eagles’ schedule ranked as the 30th or 31st easiest in the league.
You see road games at Detroit, Arizona, Houston, Indianapolis, Chicago and the three division games. You see home games against Minnesota, Jacksonville, Pittsburgh, Green Bay, Tennessee, New Orleans and the three division games.
You can make a compelling case that the Eagles’ more difficult non-division games are at friendly/unfriendly Lincoln Financial Field. Green Bay and Tennessee were playoff teams. Minnesota could have been. Only Arizona was a playoff team among the non-division road games.
EAGLES AT HOME AFTER DARK
You see five prime-time games. You see four of those games at home, historically an advantage when under the lights.
A downside to all this prime-time largesse is the week after. The Eagles have four road games coming off short weeks, two because of the night games:
- Week 3 at Washington on Sunday (coming off Minnesota on Monday Night Football).
- Week 9 at Houston on Thursday (coming off Pittsburgh on Sunday).
- Week 11 at Indianapolis on Sunday (coming off Washington on Monday Night Football).
- Week 16 at Dallas on Saturday (coming off road game at Chicago).
That looks like a difficult task, but only Dallas was a playoff team last year. In fact, the Eagles only play five 2021 playoff teams — Dallas twice, Arizona, Tennessee and Green Bay.
2022 QUARTERBACKS ON THE SCHEDULE
Here is a look at the quarterbacks the Eagles will face this year (injuries notwithstanding). This lineup is considerably less intimidating than last year’s Canton Corner:
Week 1: at Detroit (Jared Goff).
Goff was a former overall No. 1 pick and all of the expectations that come with it. That status faded quickly as he was traded by the Rams to the Lions before last season. Unless Goff has a huge season, holding the clipboard could be in his not-too-distant future.
Week 2: Minnesota (Kirk Cousins).
Cousins is the sixth-highest earning player in NFL history. Based on what, I’m not sure. He is efficient, capable and drags around a 61-62-2 career record. By the end of 2023, he will have banked $231.6 million in career earnings.
Week 3: at Washington (Carson Wentz).
Well, well. This is my take on Wentz: He can beat you; he can beat himself. Wentz isn’t a washed up quarterback as some Eagles fans want to believe. He has skills, can throw the deep ball and has some mobility.
Week 4: Jacksonville (Trevor Lawrence).
Three years down the road, you might not want any part of Lawrence. For now, blitz him, mix up coverages and watch him struggle and an overall weak team.
Week 5: at Arizona (Kyler Murray).
Murray is a dynamic player with a unique set of skills. He has spent some of the offseason squabbling with ownership about his contract and who knows if that will affect his play.
Week 6: Dallas (Dak Prescott).
Prescott always gives the Eagles trouble. I’d take him on my team. He is a winner. He’s still a Super Bowl run away from elite status.
Week 7: Bye
Week 8: Pittsburgh (Mitch Trubisky, Mason Rudolph, rookie Kenny Pickett).
The Steelers’ quarterback situation might be undecided by Oct. 30. Early reports out of minicamp say Trubisky emerged as the starter. None of these guys should scare the Eagles’ defense.
Week 9: at Houston (Davis Mills).
Mills is in his second year. Until young quarterbacks become seasoned quarterbacks, defenses have an advantage. Mills was unheralded coming out of Stanford and wasn’t taken until the third round. But he’s an improving player.
Week 10: Washington (Carson Wentz, Taylor Heinicke, rookie Sam Howell).
OK, we didn’t put all three Commanders quarterbacks here because we presume Wentz will be hurt, or have a case of Philly flu.
Week 11: at Indianapolis (Matt Ryan).
Our old friend Matt Ryan, 37, was traded after 14 years with Atlanta. With the Falcons, he threw for 59,735 yards, 367 touchdowns and went to a Super Bowl. He could be troublesome, especially with a good Colts team. He also is somewhat immobile and can be pressured into errors.
Week 12: Green Bay (Aaron Rodgers).
What a Thanksgiving weekend treat, a Sunday night game against one of the greatest ever.
Week 13: Tennessee (Ryan Tannehill).
I always thought Tannehill was more of a game manager — and the guy who handed the ball to Derrick Henry — than a brash quarterback who won games by himself. Still, he wins games and he has a good team around him.
Week 14: at New York Giants (Daniel Jones).
On one series, you think Jones is the franchise QB. The next series, you wonder if he’s in the right profession. He beat the Eagles, 13-7, last year in a sloppy, boring game. You never know what you’re going to get.
Week 15: at Chicago (Justin Fields).
Fields is probably going to be a terrific QB some day. Some day. Not in December 2022.
Week 16: at Dallas (Dak Prescott).
Gotta figure Prescott will be effective at home, but Dallas was only 5-3 at home last year and lost to visiting San Francisco in the playoffs.
Week 17: New Orleans (Jameis Winston, Taysom Hill, Andy Dalton).
Hard to figure who will be under center by the end of the season for the Saints. Easy to figure none should be able to beat the Eagles.
Week 18: New York Giants (Daniel Jones).
If the Eagles are playing for a division title, or wild card berth, in Week 18 at home, I don’t think Daniel Jones stands in their way.
No Brady, no Mahomes, no Herbert. No way the Eagles aren’t happy about it.