Breaking The Eagles Schedule Down With Help From Vegas

Nick Sirianni

Getty Head coach Nick Sirianni will be all smiles if the Eagles manage to win all the games they're favored in.

One of the first things fans and media do when NFL schedules are released is to go through game-by-game and circle the biggest matchups and make picks to project team records. Then everything changes.

There are signings, trades, preseason injuries, stars on the rise and veterans on the decline. With less than a week to go before the Philadelphia Eagles open their regular season against the Detroit Lions, here’s a fresh look at their game-by-game matchups in the least biased way possible: projected win totals.

If one wants to remove personal bias, follow the money. Las Vegas sports books aren’t setting win totals on a whim, and while using them to pick head-to-head games ignores matchup issues that could dictate a given week’s line, they do a pretty good job of projecting a preseason power ranking of sorts.

The Eagles win total is set at 9.5 at the FanDuel Sportsbook. The same is true of their Week 2 opponent, the Vikings. That game is in Philadelphia, and the Birds are 2-point favorites. So we’ll assume home-field advantage is worth about 2 points.

Week 1: at Detroit Lions – WIN (1-0)

The Lions over/under is 6.5 wins, so it should come as no surprise that the Eagles are favored. But they’re only 3.5-point favorites, so this isn’t a given. There seems to be a lot of hype building around the Eagles heading into the season, with more and more prognosticators jumping on board. That includes one NFL executive picking Philadelphia to run away with the NFC East.

That should build confidence at the NovaCare Complex, but it could also cause the Eagles to roll into Detroit expecting to cruise, which is how upsets happen.

The spread for this game also tells us that the gap between 6.5 wins and 9.5 wins is about 5.5 points, factoring in the Lions’ home field advantage. That means a projected win in the over under is worth just under two points, the same as home field advantage.

Week 2: Minnesota Vikings – WIN (2-0)

This is expected to be a close game between two playoff contenders, but the Eagles are fortunate to be the hosts in this one and that gives them the edge. The Vikings have won two in a row against the Eagles since the 38-7 thrashing Philadelphia put on Minnesota in the 2017 NFC Championship Game.

Week 3: at Washington Commanders – TOSS UP (2.5-0.5)

The Commanders over/under is 8.5 wins. That means the Eagles would be favored by about two points on a neutral field, which makes this a toss-up on the road. There should be a ton of attention on this game as the Eagles face former quarterback Carson Wentz. That could put some pressure on Jalen Hurts, who has already proven himself better than Wentz in a key way.

Week 4: Jacksonville Jaguars – WIN (3.5-0.5)

The Jaguars total is 6.5, so barring significant injuries or developments on either side, the Eagles are likely to be favored by around 7.5 points. This should be one of their easier matchups of the year, but it’s sandwiched between a high profile rivalry and a trip across the country, so it’s a bit of a trap game.

Week 5: at Arizona Cardinals – TOSS UP (4-1)

This is another toss-up, as the Eagles face an 8.5 win total team on the road. If both teams are meeting or exceeding expectations and stay healthy, expect significant attention on the matchup between young rising stars in Jalen Hurts and Kyler Murray.

Week 6: Dallas Cowboys – WIN (5-1)

The Eagles and Cowboys are viewed evenly by the sports books, each projected to win 9.5 games with identical odds to win the division. That means the Eagles should be small favorites at home and small underdogs on the road.

It’ll be critically important to take care of business at Lincoln Financial Field, as the road matchup comes late in the year with a lot on the line and it’ll be nearly impossible to win the division without at least splitting these two games.

This rivalry is already reaching mid-season form, so this should be a highly anticipated battle.

Week 7: BYE

The Eagles catch their bye just over a third of the way through the season. A few weeks later would be ideal, but on the heels of a tough divisional matchup isn’t the worst timing.

Week 8: Pittsburgh Steelers – WIN (6-1)

The Steelers are only expected to win 7.5 games this year, and the Birds have home-field advantage. So the Eagles should be favored by more than a field goal and less than a touchdown in this in-state rivalry. It’s hard to imagine this talented Eagles defense losing to Mitch Trubisky, but you never know.

Week 9: at Houston Texans – WIN (7-1)

The Texans are expected to be in the mix for the first overall draft pick, so the Eagles should be able to take care of business with ease, even on the road.

Week 10: Washington Commanders – WIN (8-1)

The Eagles are the slightly better team with home-field advantage here, so they should expect to win in the return of Carson Wentz to the Linc. Regardless of how good the Commanders are, if the Eagles are having a good season, this will be the week the intensity ramps up significantly.

The much-maligned Wentz returns to Philly to give this game plenty of juice, and five of the last eight games are against teams projected to win 8.5 or more games, with two of the others being the division-rival Giants.

Week 11: at Indianapolis Colts – LOSS (8-2)

Vegas views the Colts as equals to the Eagles, both with 9.5 win totals. Since this game is in Indianapolis, the Eagles are at a disadvantage. Perhaps this is a crazy thought, but it seems there’s a decent chance the Eagles are battling a former quarterback with a much different tone in this one.

Nick Foles is the Colts backup, and 37-year-old starter Matt Ryan has a lot of years on that arm. Only eight quarterbacks have ever thrown more passes than Ryan has thus far, and it’s fair to wonder how many years of high performance he has left.

Week 12: Green Bay Packers – TOSS UP (8.5-2.5)

It’s easy to see this being a pivotal game for seeding in the NFC if all goes as expected. The Packers are expected to win 10.5 games, but home-field advantage should leave this line in pick-em territory with no major injuries.

It’s easy to conjure up scenarios where this game could have massive playoff seeding implications in the NFC.

Week 13: Tennessee Titans – WIN (9.5-2.5)

It won’t be easy to have this game on the heels of the showdown with the Pack, as the Titans are on the same footing as the Eagles at 9.5 wins. But again home field gives Philadelphia the advantage. This should be a tough matchup, but at least it’s an AFC opponent so it’s not quite as important in terms of tiebreakers for playoff seeds.

Week 14: at New York Giants – WIN (10.5-2.5)

Nothing is a given in the division on the road, but the Eagles should be small favorites over the 7.5-projected-win Giants. They’ve also held over them in East Rutherford of late. The Eagles have won 13 of 16 over the Giants, and 11 out of 15 on the road. That stretch includes a playoff win at Giants Stadium and the DeSean Jackson punt return game.

Week 15: at Chicago Bears – WIN (11.5-2.5)

The Bears aren’t expected to be very good, with the books setting their number at 5.5 wins. That means the Eagles should be sizeable favorites on the road. That said, Soldier Field in mid-December isn’t going to be a friendly environment, the Eagles will be in the midst of three consecutive road games, and a showdown with the hated Cowboys that could be a de facto division championship game will be looming.

Week 16: at Dallas Cowboys – LOSS (11.5-3.5)

The Eagles and Cowboys are projected to be equals, so the expectation would be that they’ll split their season series with the home team taking each. That said, the Eagles would likely trade a win in this game for a loss in any other game on the schedule. The prize for winning this game could very well be for the NFC East title.

Week 17: New Orleans Saints – WIN (12.5-3.5)

The Saints’ number is set at 8.5, so home field is key for the Eagles here as well. There should be plenty of storylines, with C.J. Gardner-Johnson facing his old team after they dumped him for a paltry trade return, and the Saints knocking the Eagles out of the playoffs in 2013 and 2018.

Week 18: New York Giants – WIN (13.5-3.5)

Obviously a ton can change between now and then, but if these two teams stepped on the field in Philadelphia today, the point spread would likely be just under a touchdown. The Eagles should be able to take care of business in this one, assuming it’s a meaningful game and their starters play.

Final Record: 13.5-3.5

The funny thing with numbers is that they can be twisted a bit sometimes to make a point, and that’s part of what happened here. How can Vegas project the Eagles to a nine or 10 win season when that same ranking suggests they should win 13 or 14 games?

The best team doesn’t always win, especially in a league with as much parity as the NFL. So a team that is the better team in 13-14 games is likely to end up with fewer than 13 wins, whereas a team that is the underdog in the same number of games is likely to pull a few upsets and outdo the simple projections.

Never the less, this gives some great insight into the most important games on the schedule. Divisional games always have increased importance, and this year the Cowboys games stand out based on preseason expectations.

But there are four conference games against potential playoff teams in which the Eagles should either be small favorites or toss ups. The outcome in those games could go a long way in determining whether the Eagles are safely in the playoffs or battling for one of the final spots.

Eagles fans won’t have to wait long, as the Week 2 matchup against the Vikings is one of them. The others are at the Cardinals in Week 5, at home against the Packers in Week 12 and at home against the Saints in Week 17.

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