Let’s all just preface this by saying that the chances of the Eagles’ 2020 schedule actually playing out the way it’s currently structured might be few and far between. That being said, the NFL announced its schedule for the upcoming season, and there are a lot of familiar faces on it.
As is my yearly caveat, it’s fun to pick wins and losses out of a hat but there are always teams and games that you think are going to be easy at the start of the season who turn out to be tough, and vice versa. No one thought the Eagles would lose to the Lions at home last season, nor did they predict falling to the Dolphins in Miami. Conversely, going to Green Bay and upsetting the Packers on a short-week, Thursday night tilt was a surprise as well, so the schedule release is merely a thought exercise meant to amuse us all during a portion of the off-season in which not much is happening.
That being said, it’s fun to look at the schedule and target some match-ups that are particularly intriguing. Here are my five favorites.
Week 4 - Sunday, Oct. 4 at San Francisco 49ers (8:20pm ET, NBC)
The first of four prime time games the Eagles will play this season, a match-up against Kyle Shanahan and the defending NFC champs will be a great measuring stick for Doug Pederson’s squad. Will San Francisco suffer the same fate as most Super Bowl losers, i.e., a down season the following year?
Jimmy Garropolo’s encore of a season will be interesting to see, given the blame he’s taken for San Francisco’s late collapse against the Kansas City Chiefs in which he went 3-for-11 with 36 yards and an interception in the 4th quarter. He did go 17-for-20 for 183 yards and a touchdown prior to that, but it’s fair to wonder if he takes a Jared Goff-like step backwards this year.
This is probably not a game one would expect the Eagles to win, but if they can pull it off, it would likely put them among the elite teams in the NFC.
Week 6 - Sunday, Oct. 18 vs. Baltimore Ravens (1:00pm ET, CBS)
This is the best out-of-conference team the Eagles will play this season, and getting to watch Lamar Jackson in action will be a treat, although hopefully not too much of one. Baltimore was easily the best team in the NFL last year, but their postseason defeat at the hands of the Titans should make them especially motivated.
Can Jackson follow up his 2019 MVP campaign with another? Can Pederson outwit the incredible John Harbaugh? Will the Eagles new-found speed enable them to keep up with a fast and innovative Baltimore squad? Again, the Eagles likely won’t be favored in this one, but it’s a marquee match-up that I can’t wait to see.
Week 12 - Monday, Nov. 30 vs. Seattle Seahawks (8:15pm ET, ESPN)
Can we please beat the Seahawks? Just once? Can we please just take down Russell Wilson, Pete Carroll and the rest of that team? It’s unclear if Jadaveon Clowney will be a member of the Seahawks (or the Eagles for that matter), but regardless, it’s a revenge game that you know Carson Wentz is going to want to put on a show for.
The Eagles have lost six straight to Seattle, with their last win coming in 2008. They haven’t beaten the Seahawks at home since 1992. And in four career starts, Russell has never lost to the Eagles and has a passer rating of 98.9. He didn’t play great in the playoffs last year, so the Birds really missed their chance to finally get over the hump when Wentz went down.
Week 14 - Sunday, Dec. 13 vs. New Orleans Saints (4:25pm ET, FOX)
Can we please beat the Saints? Just once? Can we please just take down Drew Brees, Sean Payton and the rest of that team?
Seriously though, the Eagles have lost two straight against New Orleans, including the 2019 NFC divisional round heartbreaker, five out of their last six and seven out of their last nine. In the span of three weeks the Eagles must face Wilson, an angry and motivated Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay again, and then Brees. Thankfully two of those games are at home, but beating New Orleans in Philadelphia would help put to bed some painful postseason losses in our recent past.
Week 16 - Sunday, Dec. 27 at Dallas Cowboys (4:25pm ET, FOX)
Look, I’m just as amped for the Cowboys game at home, one in which the Eagles will have an extra long week to prepare (they play on Thursday night the week before against the Giants). But like last year, the division could ultimately come down to the penultimate week of the season, this time in Dallas, against a high-powered Cowboys offense and a team motivated to pay back the Eagles for their 17-6 defeat in Week 16 of 2019.
Just like we all looked to Week 16 against the Cowboys last year as “the game of the year,” the same should hold true this season, if the schedule plays out normally. Just pray CeeDee Lamb doesn’t win the game on a 50-yard touchdown.