As I'm writing this column I'm watching Aretha Franklin's funeral. It's amazing how many hits she had. I will always remember "Natural Woman," but many people think "Respect" was her most memorable song. The song was taken up as a banner for the women's movement because it was a forceful demand for the respect that women deserve. I believe "Respect" should be the Eagles theme song for this season because, no matter what we do, we just can't seem to get any. It's really hard to believe the disdain that most national analysts have for our Super Bowl-winning team. Hey guys, we won the Super Bowl and we didn't have an easy route. We played very good Atlanta and Minnesota teams and then out-dueled the vaunted New England Patriots and Tom Brady in one of the greatest Super Bowls of all time.
Notwithstanding, the analysts continue to scoff at the Eagles' chances of repeating. I was watching a national sports show and the question for the panel was, "Which is more likely: the Eagles playing in this year's Super Bowl or the Eagles not making the playoffs at all?" To my shock, the stunning unanimous response of the panel was the Eagles not making the playoffs. All I can say to these commentators and the other national analysts is "B.E.!" (Bull excrement.)
Well, here goes my predictions for the season. In last year's column, I wrote the following: "For the 2017 version of our Birds, the Super Bowl is simply out of reach, but I believe they can make the playoffs." I picked them to go 10-6, but in light of the above, so if you want to stop reading this, I can't quarrel with you.
Here's how I think the season will unfold, week by week:
Sept. 16: The Eagles will crush the Tampa Bay Bucs in their house, 30-10. Easy game with the Bucs missing Jameis Winston.
Sept. 23: The Birds' improved secondary does a good job against Andrew Luck and Colts can't stop the big green machine on offense. Eagles, 27-17.
Oct. 7: In what surely will be a grudge match, the Vikings invade the Linc once more. This time they come closer, but not close enough. The Birds rush helps their secondary contain Kirk Cousins and the Green prevails, 24-16.
Oct. 21: The Carolina Panthers come into the Linc, also looking for revenge, but this time they get it. Cam Newton and Christian McCaffrey combine to hand the Birds a narrow 24-20 defeat.
Oct. 28: The Birds go international and invade Wembley Stadium in London to face the Jacksonville Jaguars. Kickoff is at 9:30 in the morning so many Birds fans will start pregame drinking at 2 a.m., or to be accurate, will just continue drinking from their reveling the night before. Fortunately, the Birds concentrate on business and beat a very good Jaguars team, 21-17, in the best NFL game ever to be played on British soil.
So, the Birds reach the halfway mark in good position, 6-2, and enjoy a bye week to rest up from the trip to London.
Nov. 11: The Birds open the second half by crushing Dallas at home, 34-14. How 'bout them Cowboys?
Nov. 18: Coming off the big win over the 'Boys, the Birds steam into New Orleans, and in a battle between Wentz and Brees, they are edged out, 26-24.
Nov. 25: Playing at home, the Birds beat the Giants for a second time. This time fairly easily, 34-17.
Dec. 3: I've always felt Alex Smith is an underrated quarterback, but even he can't lead the battered Redskins to victory. Eagles win at home, 26-20.
Dec. 9: The Cowboys are looking for revenge from our earlier thrashing in the House that Jerry built. They don't get it. Eagles win, 30-20.
Dec. 16: In a heck of a shootout under the lights in L.A., both Wentz and Goff shine, but the Birds lose a close one to an ever-improving Rams team, 27-24.
Dec. 23: Birds hand fans an early Christmas present by humbling the Texans at the Linc, 24-13.
Dec. 30: The last time the Birds were due to go to D.C., most of them decided to decline. This time, everyone goes happily and ends the season on a high note beating the Redskins in a close game, 24-20, to close out the season 12-4.