Joe Banner has said the NFC East will be the toughest division in football next season. Andy Reid often refers to division games being knockdown, drag-out fights.
The NFL strength of schedule ratings for 2010 seems to bear out just how difficult the road might be for the Eagles and their division rivals.
The four NFC East teams have the four most difficult schedules in the NFC and are in the top 9 overall, based on the 2009 regular-season records of next season’s opponents.
Dallas has the most difficult schedule in the NFC and third overall with an opponents’ winning percentage of .543. The Giants are seventh overall (.527), Washington is eighth overall (.523) and the Eagles are ninth (.520).
The Eagles’ home schedule is particularly brutal. Only Washington (4-12) had a losing record last year and four of the eight opponents won at least 11 games.
Tennessee and Houston are tied atop the rankings at .547. AFC teams have six of the top 10 spots.
Super Bowl champion New Orleans, largely because of the NFC South, has the 27th toughest schedule at .469.
Here are the Eagles’ opponents with records:
Home: Dallas (11-5), Giants (8-8), Washington (4-12), Green Bay (11-5), Minnesota (12-4), Atlanta (9-7), Houston (9-7), Indianapolis (14-2).
Road: Dallas (11-5), Giants (8-8), Washington (4-12), Chicago (7-9), Detroit (2-14), San Francisco (8-8), Jacksonville (7-9), Tennessee (8-8)