The Andy Reid era in Philadelphia has come to an end as Chip Kelly makes the jump from college to the pros. Can he lead the Eagles to the playoffs in his first season? Here's our look at the Eagles' 2013 NFL schedule.
Philadelphia Eagles 2013 Schedule:
Week 1: at Washington (Mon.)
Week 2: San Diego
Week 3: Kansas City (Thurs.)
Week 4: at Denver
Week 5: at New York Giants
Week 6: at Tampa Bay
Week 7: Dallas
Week 8: New York Giants
Week 9: at Oakland
Week 10: at Green Bay
Week 11: Washington
Week 12: BYE
Week 13: Arizona
Week 14: Detroit
Week 15: at Minnesota
Week 16: Chicago
Week 17: at Dallas
Order your 2013 Philadelphia Eagles Athlon Sports NFL Preview magazine
Out of the Gate: It's somewhat ironic that Chip Kelly's first game as an NFL head coach will be in Washington. Not only is that a divisional contest on the road, but Kelly will be tasked with slowing down Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, provided he's healthy. RGIII fits the mold of the dynamic, dual-threat signal-callers Kelly churned out while at Oregon and undoubtedly would like do the same with the Eagles. After that, it's back-to-back home games, including Andy Reid's return when Kansas City comes to town in Week 3. Kelly's first month ends the same way it started, on the road. This time the destination is Denver, where a completely different mold of quarterback awaits him – the future Hall of Fame type – in Peyton Manning.
Toughest Stretch: Starting with its Week 4 date in Denver, Philadelphia plays three straight games on the road. This span includes a trip to New York to play the Giants, who will then come to Lincoln Financial Field less than a month later. In between the Broncos and those two games with the G-Men, the Eagles will go to Tampa Bay and also play the Cowboys at home. There's only one playoff team (Denver) from last season among those five games, but that doesn't make this stretch any less difficult for Kelly's charges.
Easiest Stretch: Coming out of their Week 12 bye, the Eagles play three of their next four at home. Those games are with Arizona, Detroit and Chicago, three teams that didn't make the playoffs last season. The lone road contest during this four-game span is at Minnesota, who did play in the postseason in 2012. It's no secret that the key to beating the Vikings is containing Adrian Peterson. If the Eagles' rebuilt defense can do just that and the offense can generate some home cooking, the Eagles could put together a strong finish to Kelly's first season in the NFL.
Circle The Calendar: It's only fitting that this is the season Philadelphia gets the AFC West in crossover play. Otherwise, we wouldn't get to watch Andy Reid return to the City of Brotherly Love in his first month as Kansas City's coach. Week 3 figures to be an emotional one for Reid, regardless of whether he gets a warm welcome or a greeting more in line with the well-earned reputation of the Eagles' home crowd. The six NFC East matchups should be just as entertaining, but nothing tops the league-wide interest surrounding Reid's homecoming in September.
Divisional Notes: The Eagles open (Washington) and end (Dallas) the season with divisional road games, while their two matchups with the Giants fall within a span of four weeks. The NFC East has been one of the more interesting and entertaining divisions to follow throughout the years, and this season should be no different with no lack of storylines to follow in Dallas (pressure on Jason Garrett and Tony Romo), New York (can the Giants get back to the playoffs and make one last run?) and Washington (RGIII's health), in addition to all eyes being on Kelly in his first NFL season.
Playoff Push: Philadelphia's bye is in Week 12, which means the Eagles get a break before heading into the final month of the season. December is mostly about the NFC North, as Philadelphia will face Detroit, Minnesota and Chicago in a row. The matchup with the Vikings is the only road contest of the three, and these crossover games are bookended by a home date with Arizona and the regular-season finale in Dallas. If Kelly has his Eagles in contention for a playoff spot by this point, then it's already been a successful season. Everything after that, especially if it comes at the expense of the hated Cowboys, is just icing on the cake.
Fantasy Playoff Run (Weeks 14-16): Chip Kelly will get his fill of the NFC North in December and LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown probably aren’t looking forward to that part of their schedule, either. Detroit, Minnesota and Chicago were all in the top nine fantasy defenses against RBs last season. This task doesn’t appear as daunting for whoever is at quarterback by this point, however, as the Lions were 20th against QBs with the Vikings near the bottom at No. 29.
2013 Athlon Sports NFL team-by-team schedule analysis: