When Will the Eagles Lose Their First Game?
Five up, five down – the Eagles have done everything that was asked of them through the first five weeks of the 2023 season.
It’s an encouraging response to the disappointing conclusion of February’s Super Bowl, which could have caused a lasting hangover into this fall’s campaign. The Eagles seem to have evaded any inklings of self-pity and are fully locked in on what lies ahead, and as one of two remaining undefeated teams in the NFL, what lies ahead could be some very exciting things for the city of Philadelphia.
But there is a caveat: compared to what’s to come, the Eagles haven’t seen anything yet. Up to this point, Philadelphia’s first five opponents have mustered up a combined record of 9-15, and the Bucs are the only one in the group to possess a winning record at the moment. That will remain the case regardless of how the Eagles fare in East Rutherford when they take on the 2-3 Jets on Sunday.
After this meeting at MetLife Stadium, the schedule turns. Their Week 8 date at the Commanders is the only other contest on the docket against a team currently without a winning record until Week 16. The Dolphins come to Philadelphia in Week 7, then the Eagles will enjoy Dallas, at Kansas City, Buffalo, San Francisco, at Dallas, and at Seattle between Week 9 and Week 15.
These Eagles could bring home the franchise’s second-ever Super Bowl victory. Even if that prophecy fulfills itself, the slaughterhouse schedule ensures that this will not be the second coming of the 1972 Dolphins.
So, when will it happen? Let’s take a closer look.
When Will the Eagles Get Their First Loss?
Week 6 – at New York Jets
If there is a week left to pick the Eagles in NFL Survivor, this is the one. Philadelphia won’t have a more favorable matchup until late December. The murderer’s row begins immediately after this one’s final whistle.
This is not meant as a slight against Robet Saleh’s squad, a team that has performed better than I expected after Aaron Rodgers tore his Achilles four plays into his first outing as a Jet. But come on – the Jets and the Chiefs, an example of a team the Eagles will soon have to handle after this one, offer a different level of challenge. Early lines have the Eagles favored by 6.5 points, one of the larger spreads among Week 6 matchups and an indicator of Vegas’s confidence in the visitors to take care of business away from home.
In fact, Splash has enough confidence in the Eagles to give them the nod as this week’s Lock of the Week. That means that if you join our Week 6 Survivor Revival contest, pick the Eagles, and they lose, we'll refund one of your entries. That's a risk-free shot at the $15K grand prize! We’re 5-0 so far on our Lock of the Week picks, having gone with a different team each week so far. If you listened to us from the beginning, you’re sitting very pretty in your NFL Survivor contest.
The Jets have one of the most porous defenses against the run in the league, and the Eagles are averaging the second-most yards per game on the ground of any NFL outfit (164.0). The game’s location makes it a bit trickier, but I think the Eagles win this one and continue their unbeaten run.
That brings us to Week 7…
Week 7 – Miami Dolphins
This is when it starts to get dicier. The Dolphins have one of the most potent offenses in the NFL, and their passing attack has been particularly lethal. The secondary is the weak point for the Philadelphia defense; the Eagles rank in the bottom top 10 in average passing yards allowed per game and let Sam Howell and the Commanders throw for nearly 300 yards against them in Week 4.
But the Eagles do excel at stopping the run and controlling the line of scrimmage in general, plus they have done a nice job of forcing turnovers as a defense. Meanwhile, the Dolphins are averaging almost two turnovers per game and have escaped calamity by recovering their own fumbles on numerous other occasions. The only defense the ‘Phins have faced so far that is comparable to what they will deal with in Philadelphia – the Bills in Week 4 – fed the Miami offense a heaping helping of humble pie.
Miami’s defense isn’t the best, either. It’s allowing the seventh-most points per game of any NFL team (27.0), and the Dolphins have needed their offense to outscore the opposition to notch most of their victories thus far. In the unfriendly confines of The Linc, life will be made even harder for Miami on both sides of the ball.
I’d expect some fireworks and points to pile on the scoreboard, and it could be close, but I’m giving the slight edge to the Eagles here. I’m not sure Philadelphia’s defense can smother the Dolphins in the same way that the Bills did, but the turnover battle, a middling Miami defense, and Philly’s prowess in the trenches should prove to be the difference.
That brings the Eagles to 7-0 as they head toward the nation’s capital for a rematch with the Commanders in Week 8…
Week 8 – at Washington Commanders
The Eagles needed Jake Elliott’s leg to convert a 54-yard field goal in overtime to escape their initial meeting of the season with Washington. That was in Philadelphia. This will be at FedEx Field, where the Eagles are not known to be fan favorites.
Philly has dominated the Commanders for the better part of the last six years. Dating back to 2017, the Eagles are 10-3 versus Washington, and their defeat to the Commanders in November 2022 is Washington’s only win in the series in its last five tries. Will the trend continue?
Probably. There are reasons for the Eagles to be concerned, though. For one, Howell torched the Eagles in the first game, spreading the ball around excellently: four different receiving targets surpassing 40 receiving yards on the day, and nine total players caught at least one pass. The same Howell who is tied atop the league for most interceptions thrown (6) and is the sole owner of the title of most sacked quarterback in the NFL right now (29). He still found a way to take the Eagles down to the line.
It's not likely that will happen again. It’s more likely that Howell and the Commanders don’t achieve another turnover-less affair this time around and that the Eagles defense makes life a bit harder for them, even if they remain vulnerable to the pass. Philadelphia’s offense unleashed an even larger explosion on the Washington defense, with A.J. Brown alone collecting nine receptions for 175 yards and two touchdowns. I don’t think that changes much in the coming clash.
It might again be high scoring, but I’m giving Philadelphia the benefit of the doubt here again, mainly because of the trust I have in its offense to cause serious problems for the Commanders. But if a similar game to the first happens again, anything could happen.
That brings us to Week 9 and a collision with enemy No. 1…
Week 9 – Dallas Cowboys
Look, I don’t feel comfortable predicting that the Eagles will still be undefeated by this point. They are a team with clear weaknesses and have three of their five games so far by one possession. But when I break it down game by game, I lean toward giving the Eagles a slight edge each time.
I feel the same here. The Cowboys have ebbed between blowing out opponents to looking completely lost, and it’s tough to know what to expect from them week-to-week. We know the Eagles aren’t the Giants, Jets, or Patriots, so a landslide in Dallas’s favor won’t happen. That doesn’t mean the calamity in Santa Clara will happen, either – one game doesn’t define a team.
But you have to be concerned about how well the Cowboys can compete with the best in the NFL has to offer after a display like that. If you think it will be any easier for them in Philadelphia, you are sorely mistaken.
For as lauded as the Dallas defense has been for much of this year, it doesn’t get very much pressure on the quarterback. The Cowboys rank in the bottom half of the NFL in QB hurry percentage per dropback (5.5 percent), QB knockdown percentage (7.5 percent), and QB pressure percentage (20.9 percent). And that’s even with blitzing on more than 25 percent of dropbacks.
If the Cowboys can’t get to Jalen Hurts enough to alter how he approaches the game, then he will make them feel it. There is more to the game than that of course, but not putting sufficient pressure on a quarterback of Hurts’s quality, against an offense of the Eagles’ quality, is not a winning formula.
Add in that the Dallas passing offense is average, indicating it’s not ideally positioned to exploit Philadelphia’s main weakness, and I see enough positives for the Eagles to pick them to dispatch of the hated Cowboys in the first contest between the two this campaign.
With a bye in Week 10, that brings us to Week 11 with another familiar foe lining up across from the Eagles…
Week 11 – at Kansas City
This is where the party ends. Philadelphia will take a 9-0 record into Arrowhead, and it will leave looking 9-1.
The Chiefs are the Chiefs. At this point, they’re the most ubiquitous outfit in the NFL. Win or lose, you know what you’re going to get when they take the field at home: explosive offense, physical defense, and an atmosphere that ranks among the fiercest in North American sports. It’s very rare that the Chiefs play a bad game, and even when they do by their own standards, they usually win anyway.
As I’ve mentioned multiple times, the secondary is Philadelphia’s weak point, and Patrick Mahomes is well-equipped to slice it to pieces. Kansas City’s revolving door of receivers doesn’t matter much so long as Travis Kelce remains the rock he is and Mahomes is in the shotgun making plays. Isiah Pacheco has emerged as a real threat out of the backfield, both as a runner and pass catcher, offering an additional dimension to an offense that has been one of the best in the league for years already.
Like the Eagles, the Chiefs are one of the best teams in the league at hurrying the opposing quarterback. Since rejoining the team in Week 2, Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones has been responsible for at least 1.0 sacks in each game and recorded eight quarterback hits already. All the time that Hurts might get against the Cowboys in Week 9 will not be so in Week 11 in Kansas City.
Both teams will be coming off of their Week 10 bye weeks in the lead up to this Super Bowl rematch, so there is no advantage to point to there. The Eagles do have things going for them – outstanding run defense and front seven capable of mucking things up for the Chiefs offense, and a balanced offensive attack of its own that could damage to a Kansas City secondary that is yet to hold a quarterback below 216 yards passing in a game and allowed Zach Wilson to toss for 245 yards, two touchdowns, and complete 28 of his 39 passing attempts in Week 4.
But I have to pick them to lose eventually. This team is very good – Super Bowl-caliber good – but not good enough to win them all. The undefeated dream dies in Week 11, but the championship dream will live on longer than that.
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