Tough road stretches for Eagles, but they are home for the holidays

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The Raiders will visit the Eagles on Christmas night.

NOT THAT BAD.

The Eagles' 2017 schedule doesn't look easy - really, can a schedule, any schedule, look easy to a 7-9 team that hasn't made the playoffs since 2013? - but the schedule-makers could have done worse by the Birds, who got a coveted late-season bye (Nov. 12) and were granted their request for back-to-back West Coast games (Dec. 3 at the Seattle Seahawks, Dec. 10 at the Los Angeles Rams). That arrangement will allow the team to stay out west during the interim week, making the best of a year that otherwise would require three coast-to-coast trips. The first comes Oct. 1, when the Eagles visit the now-Los Angeles Chargers, and it will be the Birds' first game in LA since 1990.

Fans will have to wait for the first home game - Sept. 24 vs. the Giants - after a Sept. 10 opener at Washington and a Sept. 17 visit to Andy Reid and the Chiefs. This will be the first time since 2011 the Eagles have opened with back-to-back road games.

The Eagles won't be able to replicate last season's "soft opening" - the Browns (1-15) and the Bears (3-13) the first two weeks, with both those teams finishing with poor seasons.

But the Birds are home for the holidays, a Christmas Monday Night Football date with the Raiders, followed by a regular-season-ending New Year's Eve visit from Dallas. The Eagles and Raiders have never played in prime time.

Poll

Now that the schedule is out, how will the Eagles finish this season?

The bye week, the annual trip to Dallas (Sunday Night Football, Nov. 19), the West Coast back-to-back, and a Dec. 17 trip to visit the Giants mean that the Eagles will play at home only once between Nov. 5 vs. Denver and Christmas night. That will be when the Bears come to the Linc on Nov. 26, Thanksgiving weekend.

But the Eagles host two Monday night games, the first Oct. 23 vs. Washington, the Birds coming off a long break following their Thursday night appearance at Carolina, Oct. 12 - almost an extra bye week. The Seattle game also will be a Sunday night affair.

All told, the best schedule is probably one in which the other teams in your division are all terrible. But that isn't where the NFC East is right now.

bowenl@phillynews.com

@LesBowen

Blog: philly.com/Eaglesblog

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