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GOOD NEWS: the Cowboys are prepared to bring him back home today

  • The Eagles don’t have to play a single opponent coming off their bye. Last year, the Eagles and Chiefs had their bye week at the same time before playing each other. So, no rest disadvantage, but no rest advantage, either.
  • The Eagles will have a bye week rest advantage over the Cleveland Browns in Week 6. The Browns also have to travel to Las Vegas in Week 4 and Landover, Maryland in Week 5 before visiting Philly. That third straight road game tends to be difficult for teams.
  • The Eagles will have a rest advantage over the Falcons in Week 2 with Philly opening the season on Friday and Atlanta playing on Sunday. Of course, the Eagles will be dealing with a long trip home from Brazil … but playing on Monday gives them more of a buffer to handle their return.
  • The Eagles don’t have to deal with an obnoxiously difficult stretch of games like “The Gauntlet” from last year. The toughest part of this year’s schedule is either back-to-back road games against the Los Angeles Rams and Baltimore Ravens … or the three-game sandwich of Cincinnati Bengals on the road, the Jacksonville Jaguars at home, and then the Dallas Cowboys on the road.
  • The Eagles have a rest advantage over the Rams in Week 12 with the Birds coming off their post-Thursday Night Football mini-bye. The Rams also have a cross-country trip to play the New England Patriots in Week 11.
  • The Eagles don’t have to play Thursday Night Football on the road.
  • The Eagles playing TNF in Week 11 (as opposed to closer to their Week 5 bye) helps to space out their rest a little.
  • The Eagles don’t have to get on a plane (in the regular season, at least) after their Week 12 trip to LA. Four of their last six games are at The Linc … and the two road games are in Baltimore (1 hour, 43 minute drive according to Google maps) and Landover, Maryland (2 hour, 8 minute drive according to Google maps). And those relatively short drives are 21 days apart. The Eagles can potentially use this stretch to get hot going into the playoffs.
  • Getting back to last year’s Gauntlet for a second, it wasn’t just the opponents that made it tough. It was also the Eagles having to play three straight games at a rest disadvantage at one point (coming off MNF to play the Buffalo Bills, coming off SNF to play a San Francisco 49ers team coming off a mini-bye, playing a Dallas Cowboys team coming off a mini-bye). They don’t have to deal with a challenge like that this year. In fact, they don’t play a single team coming off their TNF mini-bye!
  • Slight edge in a key game? Only a matter of hours but the Cowboys host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on SNF before traveling to play the Eagles in Week 17. The Birds, meanwhile, will be coming off a 1:00 PM start in Landover, Maryland before hosting Dallas.
  • The Eagles have one of the easiest schedules in the league, according to a metric that’s more relevant than merely using last year’s record for strength of schedule:

CONS

  • The Eagles are losing a home game by playing in Brazil. And not just any old home game … but one against a team they could potentially be competing with for positioning in the NFC playoff picture.
  • The Eagles have a very early Week 5 bye. If they don’t get the No. 1 seed, the Super Bowl will potentially be their 17th straight game without a break.
  • The Eagles have a slight rest disadvantage against the New Orleans Saints in Week 3 coming off MNF.
  • The Eagles only play at The Linc once prior to October 13.
  • From Week 3 through Week 13, the Eagles play seven of 10 games on the road.

OTHER

For items that didn’t cleanly fit in either of the first two categories …

  • Going through the Cowboys’ schedule, I see them losing around six games. I think the Eagles are in a good spot to lose fewer than six, thus keeping the non-repeat NFC East winner streak alive.
  • Speaking of the Cowboys, it’s odd to see that the Eagles won’t be playing them in prime-time. Of course, both games are in the range of being subject to flex scheduling.
  • None of that dumb shit where the Eagles play the same NFC East rival twice within three weeks this season (like they did with the Giants last year).
  • There’s a school of thought that it’s better to play your toughest on-paper opponents later in the season because there’s a greater chance of a key injury (or several) that impacts them. Playing the Rams and Ravens when they do could be considered favorable, then. Less so for the Packers and Bengals.
  • Six 1:00 PM starts this year! That’s such a relief after only THREE last season. Perhaps you don’t care when the games start. Or you actually prefer the late starts. If that’s the case, sorry for you. As someone who is staying up way after the final whistle, I really like the earlier starts. Not trying to complain about my job, which I’m very fortunate to have. But last year’s schedule was tiring with all the late games. Only three 1:00 PM starts was pretty egregious. There’s room for a little more balance than that and I’m glad it’s here this year.
  • Each of the last two seasons, the Eagles had a stretch where they went from playing on Thursday to Monday (10 days without playing a game). Not happening this year.
  • Can’t imagine many fans will be going to that 1:00 PM Saturday preseason finale. Sitting in the hot summer sun to watch a bunch of long shot players? You’ll have to be a real sicko for that.
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