Sizing Up the 2013 Schedule
Jeff McLane and Zach Berman, The Inquirer's Eagles beat reporters, make their predictions.
WEEK 1: AT REDSKINS
Monday, Sept. 9, 7:10 p.m.
Jeff McLane: LOSS - Even with Robert Griffin III unlikely to be near 100 percent healthy, the Redskins will run over the Eagles defense behind running back Alfred Morris.
Zach Berman: LOSS - The return of Griffin will overshadow the introduction of Chip Kelly, although both teams will put up big numbers on Monday Night Football.
WEEK 2: CHARGERS
Sunday, Sept. 15, 1 p.m.
JM: WIN - The Eagles interviewed new Chargers coach Mike McCoy, but Kelly's fastbreak offense shows why he was the team's first choice.
ZB: WIN - Kelly's home opener will be remembered because of a big day by Michael Vick, who gives a vintage performance to even the Eagles' record.
WEEK 3: CHIEFS
Thursday, Sept. 19, 8:25 p.m.
JM: LOSS - The Eagles' third game in 10 days ends with a loss to former boss Andy Reid, who inherited more talent on his roster than Kelly did.
ZB: WIN - Philadelphia fans cheer Reid and Donovan McNabb, and then celebrate a winning record. Kelly demonstrates better clock management than his predecessor.
WEEK 4: AT BRONCOS
Sunday, Sept. 29, 4:25 p.m.
JM: LOSS - Peyton Manning vs. the Eagles secondary will be like Goliath vs. David. Wait, bad analogy . . .
ZB: LOSS - The record falls back to .500 at the right arm of Manning, who dominates the Eagles' defensive backfield in a Mile High blowout.
WEEK 5: AT GIANTS
Sunday, Oct. 6, 1 p.m.
JM: LOSS - Game 5 will be a marker for how Michael Vick performed in the first month. If he's struggled, calls for Nick Foles will mount by the time the Eagles travel to the Meadowlands.
ZB: LOSS - Tom Coughlin once offered Kelly a job, and he outcoaches Kelly in the Meadowlands. The Eagles struggle to cover the Giants' wide-receiver tandem.
WEEK 6: AT BUCCANEERS
Sunday, Oct. 13, 1 p.m.
JM: LOSS - The Bucs' improved secondary will give Vick and/or Foles fits. Greg Schiano took the Tampa job two years ago after Kelly passed. He edges him out here.
ZB: WIN - The Eagles win in Tampa Bay for the second consecutive season, although this one doesn't require a last-minute win by Foles. If Foles is playing at this point, it's bad news for Vick's future.
WEEK 7: COWBOYS
Sunday, Oct. 20, 1 p.m.
JM: LOSS - Dallas has one of the few defenses switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3. Rookie right tackle Lane Johnson should have his hands full with defensive end DeMarcus Ware.
ZB: LOSS - Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin might not be happy to see Kelly after struggling against Kelly when Kiffin was at USC, but the Cowboys defense is better - and does enough to win.
WEEK 8: GIANTS
Sunday, Oct. 27, 1 p.m.
JM: WIN - Kelly scores his first NFC East win. The Eagles offense will need to light up scoreboards to compensate for the defense. This could be one of those games.
ZB: LOSS - Another division loss keeps the Eagles winless in the NFC East. This one is more competitive than the first meeting.
WEEK 9: AT RAIDERS
Sunday, Nov. 3, 4:05 p.m.
JM: WIN - The Raiders have sunken to Al-Davis-like depths. Whether Matt Flynn or Terrell Pryor is at quarterback, a subpar offense could give Bill Davis' unit a needed week of dominance.
ZB: WIN - This is the worst team the Eagles play, although they must travel cross-country to play them. The long flight won't get in the way of a victory.
WEEK 10: AT PACKERS
Sunday, Nov. 10, 1 p.m.
JM: LOSS - Eagles general manager Howie Roseman has said that he is trying to emulate the success Packers GM Ted Thompson has had with roster-building. He gets an up-close look in Title Town.
ZB: LOSS - What a difference one week makes. Aaron Rodgers won't look like the Raiders quarterback, and the Packers dominate the Eagles.
WEEK 11: REDSKINS
Sunday, Nov. 17, 1 p.m.
JM: LOSS - With Griffin likely to be closer to his old self, the Eagles defense could have trouble containing the Redskins' play-action, read-option combo of plays.
ZB: WIN - The Eagles avenge a season-opening loss, secure their first division win, and enter the bye week 5-6.
WEEK 13: CARDINALS
Sunday, Dec. 1, 1 p.m.
JM: LOSS - The Eagles sink to 3-9 with a loss to the just-as-bad Cardinals. Kelly could face a crossroads here: whether to forge on with Vick, if he's still healthy, or turn to Foles or rookie Matt Barkley.
ZB: WIN - Andy Reid was always best after the bye. Kelly wins his first post-bye week game to bring the Eagles to .500.
WEEK 14: LIONS
Sunday, Dec. 8, 1 p.m.
WIN - Detroit has an explosive offense with Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, and Reggie Bush, but the Eagles have the horses with DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy, and Bryce Brown to win a shootout.
ZB: LOSS - Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson put up big numbers against the Eagles' pass defense, and the Lions win in Philadelphia for consecutive seasons.
WEEK 15: AT VIKINGS
Sunday, Dec. 15, 1 p.m.
JM: WIN - There's certainly a level of intrigue in seeing Kelly's up-tempo offense indoors and on turf. This will be the first of two games the Eagles play in a dome.
ZB: WIN - The Eagles pick up another road win despite the deafening dome-field advantage in Minnesota. At 7-7, an outside shot at the postseason seems possible.
WEEK 16: BEARS
Sunday, Dec. 22, 1 p.m.
JM: LOSS - With a game to go, Kelly can start sorting out which players have futures with the Eagles beyond 2013. As much as things turned around late in the season, he could have trouble winning a close one.
ZB: LOSS - The Eagles cannot outscore the Bears, and Eagles fans leave the home finale bitter that faint postseason hopes have vanished.
WEEK 17: AT COWBOYS
Sunday, Dec. 29, 1 p.m.
JM: WIN - The Eagles end Kelly's first season with a victory in Big D. It was a bumpy ride, but he wins three of his final four to go 6-10. Optimism for 2014 abounds.
ZB: LOSS - The Cowboys are playing for a playoff bid, while the Eagles are simply getting ready for 2014. Kelly finishes his first year at 7-9 - a three-win improvement from 2012.
Predictions for 2013 Eagles
Jeff McLane: 6-10
Zach Berman: 7-9