Football Outsiders Projects Eagles To Have Hardest 2017 NFL Schedule

The Philadelphia Eagles 2017 schedule was always going to be a slugfest. 

Not only does Philadelphia face opponents with a combined .531 win percentage, but their schedule is set up with two road games to start the season and three consecutive road games in December. 

The Eagles strength of schedule isn't ideal, but the same can be said with the rest of the NFC East as the division boasts the four toughest schedules in the NFL. 

According to Football Outsiders, Philadelphia (the last place team in the NFC East in 2016) has the toughest schedule in the NFL. 

"The problem isn't just these teams beating up on each other for six games -- the NFC East also draws the two West divisions, which means facing many of the league's top defenses," wrote Football Outsiders' Aaron Schatz. "Right now in the NFC East, it isn't good enough to be good. You need to be great. With an easier schedule, an NFC South or West team doesn't have to play as well as an NFC East team to make the postseason as a wild card."

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Here is Football Outsiders projected win totals for the NFC East: 

Dallas Cowboys: 10-6 (9.7 mean wins, SOS: 2)

New York Giants: 8-8 (7.8 mean wins, SOS: 4)

Washington Redskins: 8-8 (7.5 mean wins, SOS: 3)

Philadelphia Eagles: 7-9 (7.3 mean wins, SOS: 1)

The Eagles do have to face the NFC West and AFC West this season, but they didn't get any benefits from finishing last in the division. Philadelphia faces Carolina (the last place team in the NFC South, but won the division and reached the Super Bowl in 2015) and Chicago (which is projected to win seven games in 2017). 

That's not exactly beneficial to a last-place team a season before. 

The Eagles schedule does have its advantages. Thanks to some awkward scheduling in the middle of the season, Philadelphia plays three consecutive games at Lincoln Financial Field from Week 7 to Week 9.

Add in the Week 10 bye week and the Eagles will not be leaving Philadelphia for over a month (even have an 11-day break between their Thursday Night Football matchup against Carolina and their Monday Night Football showdown with Washington).

The Eagles also do not face a team coming off their bye week in 2017, compared to facing three consecutive opponents off a bye in 2016. 

Philadelphia is a better team than the one that overachieved to a 7-9 record last season. That team also went 1-6 in one-score games.

No matter the strength of schedule, the Eagles should compete for a winning season and playoff berth in 2017.

If the Eagles have a winning record in the division and improve to a .500 record in one-score games, that four-year playoff drought should end this year.

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