Five must-see games on Eagles schedule: Doug Pederson’s return will be as big as Brian Dawkins’

Although the Philadelphia Eagles are still in a period of transition, the franchise has generated high expectations heading into the 2022 season. The development of Jalen Hurts led to a surprising playoff appearance last year, one that the Eagles used to build with his offseason moves.

Philadelphia acquired AJ Brown on draft weekend, giving Hurts a No. 1 wide receiver the franchise hasn’t had in years. Brown and second-year wide receiver DeVonta Smith form one of the best wide receiver duos in the game, needed for Hurts to take his game to the next level. Add last season’s No. 1 running game and one of the best offensive lines in football and the Eagles’ offense is a massive strength.

The defense also received a facelift with the offseason signing of Haason Reddick and the draft picks of Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean, giving Philadelphia three cornerstones in defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon’s revamped unit. Brandon Graham returned from an Achilles tendon injury and Josh Sweat is still growing as a pass-rusher. Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave and Darius Slay also return to a unit that transformed over the past season.

The Eagles upgraded their roster this offseason while the Dallas Cowboys fell back from the pack in the NFC East. In what should be a compelling division race, the Eagles are expected to contend for the NFC East title and make a trip back to the postseason this year.

There are quite a few exciting games on the 2022 schedule — five in prime time — as the NFL believes the Eagles will be a team to watch all year. These are the five games that Eagles and NFL fans can’t miss on the schedule.

5. Week 8: Vs. Steelers (Sun. Oct. 30, 1 p.m., CBS)

The Eagles are coming off a bye week and face their cross-state rival, the first meeting between the teams since 2020. Thanks to game number 17 on the schedule, the Eagles take on the Steelers as a result of the teams of the NFC East scheduled to face the AFC North (Philadelphia and Pittsburgh finished in the same place in their respective divisions last year).

Bragging rights are on the line, especially since the Steelers won the last matchup between the Keystone State teams. Pittsburgh always seems to have problems in Philadelphia, as the Steelers haven’t beaten the Eagles in Philadelphia since 1965, when the two teams met twice a year.

Which Pittsburgh team shows up at Lincoln Financial Field will be determined, but the Eagles will be in a fierce battle against a team that is always competitive. This is going to be a fun matchup for two teams that don’t play each other much.

4. Week 6: Vs. Cowboys (Sunday, October 16, 8:20 p.m., NBC)

If the Eagles want to make a statement in the NFC East and showcase their young talent to the league, beating the Cowboys at home in prime time is a must. Dallas was the team that swept Philadelphia last year and has beaten the Eagles three times in a row.

Philadelphia has the first of two “Sunday Night Football” games of the year against its division rival, the first real test for a team that has made enough moves to contend for the NFC East title. Eagles-Cowboys is always a great primetime game, a matchup that has been a night game every year since 2003 (only it hasn’t been a night game twice this century in 2000 and 2003).

The crowd will be noisy at Lincoln Financial Field, hoping the Eagles can live up to offseason expectations. This isn’t a “must have” game for Philly, but it will feel like one if the Eagles want the NFC East.

3. Week 4: Vs. Jaguars (Sunday, October 2, 1 p.m., CBS)

Normally, a game against the team with the worst NFL record from last season isn’t a matchup worth marking on the schedule. This one will be different, as Doug Pederson returns to Lincoln Financial Field as the Jaguars’ coach.

Pederson won the Eagles their first Super Bowl title, breaking a 57-year championship drought dating back to 1960. Eagles fans yearned for their franchise to win the Super Bowl, a feat great coaches like Dick Vermeil and Andy Reid couldn’t pull it off. in the city (but he did it in other places). Peterson did.

There is a statue of Pederson at Lincoln Financial Field discussing the “Philadelphia Special” with Nick Foles, showing just how legendary the coach is in Philadelphia. That huge banner of Super Bowl champions in the stadium doesn’t exist without Pederson.

Pederson will get as loud an ovation as Brian Dawkins when he returned to Philadelphia in a different uniform in 2009. Eagles fans will not forget what Pederson did for the city and the impact the 2017 Eagles had on one of the point guards. of most passionate fans. in the league

2. Week 10: Vs. Commanders (Monday, November 14, 8:15 p.m., ESPN)

Carson Wentz finally returns to Lincoln Financial Field for the first time since requesting a trade out of Philadelphia. The former Eagles franchise quarterback has experienced an epic slump since a torn ACL and ACL derailed his MVP campaign, and his ability to lead the franchise to the Super Bowl title, in 2017.

Just three years later, Wentz was benched in favor of Hurts. Two months after the bench, Wentz was out of Philadelphia and made a fresh start with the Indianapolis Colts. That didn’t work out as planned, so Wentz has a chance to salvage his career in Washington, facing the Eagles twice a year.

While the Eagles will face the Commanders in Week 3, that game will be at FedEx Field. Wentz will have to exercise the demons in prime time at Lincoln Financial Field with fans watching his every move on the field. This reunion will not be as warm as the one Pederson will receive.

1. Week 16: At the Cowboys (Saturday, December 24, 4:25 p.m., Fox)

This is the game that should determine the NFC East title, a Christmas Eve battle for a home playoff game. Philadelphia and Dallas are the two favorites to capture the East and should be battling for playoff position by the time these two teams meet in a rematch of their Week 6 matchup earlier in the season.

Dallas swept Philadelphia last season, which included a 41-21 blowout in Week 3 on “Monday Night Football.” The Eagles haven’t won in Dallas since their Super Bowl championship season in 2017.

If Hurts can lead the Eagles to victory at AT&T Stadium, he will give the franchise and fans two early Christmas presents. First it would be a clear path to the division title and second, a franchise quarterback. It’s not like the Eagles have ruined a Dallas vacation before (see Jeff Garcia on Christmas Day 2006).

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