In case you missed it, the 2017 NFL schedule was released on Thursday night. At a glance, it looks like the Eagles were dealt a better hand then they were in 2016 when they played three straights games against teams coming off of a bye (Minnesota, Dallas and New York) and a fourth game against a team that had ten days rest when the Falcons came to town. Couple that stretch with an early Week 4 bye that killed the momentum of a 3-0 start and playing 13 games against teams that finished with a record of .500 or better, the schedule wasn't in the Eagles’ favor.
The good news about the 2017 schedule is that the Eagles will not play a single team coming off of a bye and will have their bye week later in the season in Week 10. The bad news is that they will be playing 10 games against teams that finished above .500, five of which made the playoffs, but that doesn't tell the whole story. Three of the teams the Eagles play in 2017 (Broncos, Cardinals and Panthers) are just 15 months removed from playing in conference championship games. We knew coming into 2017 that the Eagles would be playing the AFC West, a division that was arguably the best in 2016, but the unfortunate part of that is 2017 being the year the NFC East and NFC West play each other as well. Instead of just two West Coast games, the Eagles will be playing a three of their games on the other side of the country.
As far as individual matchups go, the Eagles may have some favorable looks. Away matchups include the Rams and Chargers, two teams that struggled through last year and so far this offseason, they haven't done much to improve their rosters. Other away games include a Week 2 matchup against a Chiefs team that has lost one of it’s cornerstone defensive players in Dontari Poe and seems content to trot out Alex Smith and a Seahawks team that dismantled the Eagles in Seattle last season. Adding in the NFC East matchups that can go one way or another, back-to-back games on the West coast and the Thursday night game in Charlotte the Eagles away schedule isn't terrible.
I don’t like to do predictions, at least game-by-game ones until the regular season starts (BLG has us covered there), but I believe based on the improvements the team has made and will make, a 10-6 record is realistic. The Redskins and Cowboys are noticeably worse, the Chiefs have the league’s most conservative QB, the Broncos still don't have an answer at QB, the Cardinals let two of their best defensive players walk, Da Bears lost Alshon, Phillip Rivers isn't getting any younger, the 49ers were Chip Kelly’d, the Rams are trotting out a QB that looked pedestrian at best while losing their most productive receiver and the Eagles own the Giants. Can the season hurry up and get here already?!