Jump to content

Will schedule allow Eagles to be competitive in 2021?


Recommended Posts

Will schedule allow Eagles to be competitive in 2021?


We’ve spent so much time focusing on the 4-11-1 record and the quarterback’s meltdown and the firing of a Super Bowl coach and all of the Eagles’ recent dysfunction that it’s easy to forget that just about every NFL other team has issues, too.

The Eagles aren’t the only team in the NFL trying to bounce back from a miserable 2020 season.

And their schedule is dotted with a bunch of other teams trying to find their way as well.

The Eagles play 17 games this fall, and 10 of those games are against teams that won six or fewer games. Three more against teams that won seven games.

So while I understand the temptation to just shrug our collective shoulders and dismiss 2021 as a lost year, another last-place season, a year to learn about Jalen Hurts and a few other promising young players as the Eagles build toward possible contention for something or other in 2022, I’m not ready to do that.

The NFL is designed for teams to turn things around fast, and if you make a few smart moves and get some guys back healthy and get solid quarterback play, you can take advantage of that last-place schedule and become a contender pretty fast.

Think back to 1999 and a 5-11 team with a coach that nobody wanted and a young quarterback who didn't play particularly well. A year later, 11-5 and a playoff win. 

Think back to 2012 and a 4-12 team that quit on Andy Reid and got him fired. A year later, 10-6 and an NFC East title. 

Think back to 2016 and how hopeless everything seemed during that late-season stretch when the Eagles lost five straight games by an average of 10 points under an unproven coach. A year later … you know what happened.

It’s natural that we’re all focused on the Eagles’ shortcomings. They barely have a secondary. Their quarterback is a huge question mark. Their best players are all in their early 30s. Injuries have decimated the roster for three straight years.

But just about every team has those questions or similar ones, and all you have to do is glance at the Eagles’ schedule to realize they’re not alone.

The Falcons are coming off a four-win season. The 49ers have had one winning season since 2013 and don’t know who their quarterback is going to be. The Cowboys had one of the NFL’s worst defenses last year. The Panthers have won 17 games the last three years and are now counting on a Jets reject to play quarterback. The Chargers are coming off back-to-back losing seasons and starting over with a new coach as well. The Broncos haven’t been good since Peyton Manning retired. The Jets are headed in the right direction, but they're still the Jets. Washington hasn’t made the playoffs in consecutive seasons in 30 years.

You get the idea.

The only games on the schedule that look pretty much unwinnable are Pat Mahomes and the Chiefs in Week 4 at the Linc and Tom Brady and the Super Bowl champion Buccaneers 11 days later at the Linc. After that? Do the post-Drew Brees Saints scare you? Hurts already beat ‘em once.

The Eagles’ 13 other opponents were 80-144 last year. None had a winning record. All are in the same position as the Eagles. Trying to figure it out.

I like the Eagles’ offseason, considering their cap limitations. I have a good feeling about Nick Sirianni and Jonathan Gannon. I expect DeVonta Smith to be a star and I’m counting on Sirianni to not forget about the running game. If Hurts progresses the way you expect and the O-line is healthy — a big if — the offense will be fine.

Defensively, they’re solid up front, better at linebacker and who knows with the secondary.

But one thing I know is that this isn’t a four-win team. And the more I look at the schedule, the more I feel like seven wins is likely and eight is possible.

And considering everything, that’s not bad.

Especially with a likely three first-round picks sitting there waiting to be drafted a year from now.

The Eagles have a chance to be a contender in 2022. That doesn’t mean look at 2021 as a write-off. This might not be as bad as you think.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...