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The Eagles have an easy schedule. It doesn’t matter.

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Strength of schedule is weak

Philadelphia Eagles v Washington Redskins Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Looking ahead to the 2019 schedule and the Eagles supposedly have an easy one, as their opponent win loss record from last year is the 26th worst.

That means nothing. Preseason schedule strength has little correlation to the actual schedule strength. Just look at the last three years for the Eagles:

Strength of Schedule

Team 2016 Pre-Season 2016 Actual Difference 2017 Pre-Season 2017 Actual Difference 2018 Pre-Season 2018 Actual Difference
Team 2016 Pre-Season 2016 Actual Difference 2017 Pre-Season 2017 Actual Difference 2018 Pre-Season 2018 Actual Difference
49ers 1 14 26 20 13 7 15 14 14
Bears 30 7 3 19 1 1 8 32 32
Bengals 27 7 4 29 26 16 29 3 3
Bills 10 24 24 5 18 28 18 6 7
Broncos 14 2 7 1 18 30 25 6 5
Browns 21 2 2 21 10 5 5 11 19
Buccaneers 5 20 26 14 2 7 4 6 20
Cardinals 7 29 29 23 22 15 8 5 13
Chargers 13 4 8 3 28 32 24 28 15
Chiefs 16 12 15 2 25 31 19 26 21
Colts 22 20 12 32 24 4 22 31 24
Cowboys 27 27 17 10 16 25 15 19 18
Dolphins 11 30 28 6 3 18 15 30 26
Eagles 26 1 1 10 27 29 19 10 9
Falcons 1 24 30 13 3 13 13 23 25
Giants 30 23 9 8 9 18 8 3 12
Jaguars 23 5 5 30 31 21 25 1 2
Jets 7 9 22 8 10 23 25 13 6
Lions 27 26 16 21 16 11 2 14 26
Packers 32 12 6 18 5 3 1 20 30
Panthers 12 9 17 16 5 10 12 12 17
Patriots 9 32 31 12 23 26 22 23 15
Raiders 15 14 19 4 13 27 29 2 1
Rams 3 14 25 17 15 13 5 26 29
Ravens 19 17 13 24 30 24 21 18 11
Redskins 17 11 10 7 5 18 14 21 23
Saints 4 6 23 15 8 12 2 23 31
Seahawks 5 31 32 25 18 7 5 22 28
Steelers 23 19 11 27 29 17 25 14 7
Texans 19 17 13 25 12 2 32 29 10
Titans 23 28 21 30 31 21 31 9 3
Vikings 18 20 19 27 18 6 8 14 22

The 2016 Eagles had what appeared to be an easy schedule, turns out it was the hardest, which was really saying something considering they played the 1-15 Browns. The 2017 Eagles were thought to have had an average schedule strength, instead it was quite easy. And then last year it was harder than anticipated.

That’s because preseason strength of schedule is nothing more than the records from last year. It doesn’t account for injuries, coaching changes, free agency, or key players having down seasons or career years. The Falcons and Packers had losing records last season. Would it surprise anyone if one of them won double digit games? Or both? Or if the Vikings, who went 8-7-1, had a strong season? Or it could be even easier. The Bears are prime candidates for regression from their 12 win season. Would anyone be surprised if 42 year old Tom Brady declined, and with him the Patriots? Or if the Giants went 1-15?

Half the Eagles schedule is against teams that either should be or are trying to be in the playoffs: the Falcons, Packers, Vikings, Bears, Patriots, Seahawks, and Cowboys twice. That doesn’t seem like an easy schedule, regardless of what their record last year said.