Breaking down the Birds' schedule

Posted: September 06, 2007

Sept. 9

Eagles at Packers, 1

Packers in 2006: 8-8

Last meeting: Oct. 2, 2006, at Lincoln Financial Field

Score: Eagles 31, Packers 9

At a glance: Donovan McNabb threw for two TDs, both to Greg Lewis, and ran for another.

Last meeting at Green Bay: Nov. 10, 2003

Score: Eagles 17, Packers 14

Overall series: Packers, 23-15

Eagles away vs. Packers: 4-15

John Smallwood's take: Brett Favre isn't John Elway and Green Bay doesn't have the talent to make a twilight-of-the-career Super Bowl run. Somebody in Packers management should've had the courage to end this thing 2 years ago. Green Bay puts off rebuilding one more season. The Birds start 2007 off right.

Sept. 17

Redskins at Eagles, 8:30

Redskins in 2006: 5-11

Last meeting at Philly: Nov. 12, 2006

Score: Eagles 27, Redskins 3

At a glance: It was no contest, as Dontè Stallworth caught an 87-yard scoring toss from Donovan McNabb and Sheldon Brown completed the scoring with a 70-yard interception return.

Overall series: Redskins, 75-65-6

Eagles home vs. Redskins: 34-36-3

Smallwood's take: On paper, Washington is better than last season's 5-11 record. A healthy Clinton Portis in the backfield will go a long way toward upgrading the offense. A solid defense led by a talented secondary will be a good early test for McNabb. Jason Campbell at quarterback? Not an easy home opener, but manageable.

Sept. 23

Lions at Eagles, 1

Lions in 2006: 3-13

Last meeting: Sept. 26, 2004, at Ford Field

Score: Eagles 30, Lions 13

At a glance: Scoring passes from McNabb to Terrell Owens and Mike Bartrum staked the Birds to a 21-7 halftime lead.

Last meeting at Philly: Nov. 8, 1998

Score: Eagles 10, Lions 9

Overall series: Eagles, 14-12-2

Eagles home vs. Lions: 8-8

Smallwood's take: Sure, wide receiver Calvin Johnson was too good to pass up with the second overall pick, but how does that help a defense that ranked 28th in points allowed? The Lions can score - just not enough to compensate for their defense. Take the over in total points.

Sept. 30

Eagles at Giants, 8:15

Giants in 2006: 8-8

Last meeting at Meadowlands: Dec. 17, 2006

Score: Eagles 36, Giants 22

At a glance: Brian Westbrook's 28-yard TD run in the fourth quarter gave the Eagles the lead, and Trent Cole's interception for a score clinched the win.

Overall series: Giants, 79-68-2

Eagles away vs. Giants: 29-45-1

Smallwood's take: Without running back Tiki Barber, the Giants don't look nearly as frightening. So how come this game seems scary? Hmmmm, how about a huge lead blown last year, leading to Jevon Kearse's season-ending injury in overtime. Is Eli Manning going to have a career closer to Peyton's or Archie's?

Oct. 14

Eagles at Jets, 1

Jets in 2006: 10-6

Last meeting: Oct. 26, 2003, at Lincoln Financial Field

Score: Eagles 24, Jets 17

At a glance: Correll Buckhalter scored twice and accounted for 100 of the Eagles' 194 yards rushing.

Overall series: Eagles, 7-0

Eagles away vs. Jets: 3-0

Smallwood's take: Back to Giants Stadium to play the other team from New York. Eric Mangini was way ahead of schedule in taking the Jets into the playoffs in his first season. The Jets haven't have consecutive winning seasons since 2000-01.

Oct. 21

Bears at Eagles, 4:15

Bears in 2006: 13-3

Last meeting: Oct. 3, 2004, at Soldier Field

Score: Eagles 19, Bears 9

At a glance: David Akers kicked four field goals and Westbrook accounted for 178 yards of total offense as the Eagles never trailed.

Last meeting at Philly: Oct. 22, 2000

Score: Eagles 13, Bears 9

Overall series: Bears, 26-11-1

Eagles home vs. Bears: 7-11-1

Smallwood's take: If you want the crown, you might as well take on the king right away. Defensively, the reigning NFC champions should be as monstrous as ever, but inconsistent Rex Grossman is still the quarterback. This is a huge early game in the fight for homefield.

Oct. 28

Eagles at Vikings, 1

Vikings in 2006: 6-10

Last meeting: Jan. 16, 2005, at Lincoln Financial Field

Score: Eagles 27, Vikings 14

At a glance: Jeremiah Trotter and Ike Reese intercepted Daunte Culpepper and both Freddie Mitchell and Westbrook caught passes for scores.

Last meeting at Vikings: Sept. 28, 1997

Score: Vikings 28, Eagles 19

Overall series: Vikings, 11-10

Eagles away vs. Vikings: 2-6

Smallwood's take: Andy Reid gets to go against the first branch of his coaching tree in former offensive coordinator Brad Childress. With untested quarterback Tavaris Jackson and highly regarded rookie running back Adrian Peterson, don't expect Childress to mirror Reid's fascination with the pass - at least not yet.

Nov. 4

Cowboys at Eagles, 8:15

Cowboys in 2006: 9-7

Last meeting at Philly: Oct. 8, 2006

Score: Eagles 38, Cowboys 24

At a glance: The wild contest came down to a 40-yard TD pass from McNabb to Reggie Brown that gave the Eagles the lead and then a 102-yard interception return in the final seconds by Lito Sheppard to clinch the win.

Overall series: Cowboys, 53-42

Eagles home vs. Cowboys: 25-21-0

Smallwood's take: It's Dallas Week. Terrell Owens returns to town again. This year there are no firestorms in "Big D." Bill Parcells is out; Tony Romo is the No. 1 quarterback; T.O. is running the team. The winner takes the inside track on the NFC East title.

Nov. 11

Eagles at Redskins, 1

Redskins in 2006: 5-11

Last meeting at FedEx Field: Dec. 10, 2006

Score: Eagles 21, Redskins 19

At a glance: Michael Lewis' 84-yard interception return for a score helped the Birds build a 21-3 lead before having to hold on.

Overall series: Redskins, 75-65-6

Eagles away vs. Redskins: 31-39-3

Smallwood's take: The Redskins will be coming off road games at New England and the New York Jets, and then travel to Dallas and Tampa Bay the following weeks. They'll be desperate for a home victory.

Nov. 18

Dolphins at Eagles, 1

Dolphins in 2006: 6-10

Last meeting: Dec. 15, 2003, at Pro Player Stadium

Score: Eagles 34, Dolphins 27

At a glance: Mitchell threw a 25-yard scoring pass to Westbrook and the Eagles took the lead for good on Buckhalter's 2-yard TD in the fourth quarter.

Last meeting at Philly: Oct. 20, 1996

Score: Eagles 35, Dolphins 28

Overall series: Dolphins, 7-4

Eagles home vs. Dolphins: 3-2

Smallwood's take: Wasn't Miami supposed to be stepping to the next level last season with coach Nick Saban and quarterback Daunte Culpepper? Cam Cameron and aging Trent Green don't sound nearly as intimidating. Tell rookie receiver Ted Ginn Jr. that McNabb feels his draft-day pain.

Nov. 25

Eagles at Patriots, 8:15

Patriots in 2006: 12-4

Last meeting: Feb. 6, 2005,

Super Bowl XXXIX at Jacksonville

Score: Patriots 24, Eagles 21

At a glance: Ahhh, you all remember how this turned out. The Eagles outgained the Patriots, 369-331, in a game where Owens caught nine passes for 122 yards.

Last meeting at Patriots: Nov. 29, 1987

Score: Eagles 34, Patriots 31, OT

Overall series: Eagles, 6-4

Eagles away vs. Patriots: 1-3

Smallwood's take: The down-the-stretch run begins here - five playoff teams in the final six games. This could be a Super Bowl preview. Unfortunately, just like in 2003, the Patriots will be the better team. Adding Randy Moss and Adalius Thomas trumps adding Kevin Curtis and Takeo Spikes.

Dec. 2

Seahawks at Eagles, 1

Seahawks in 2006: 9-7

Last meeting: Dec. 5, 2005, at Lincoln Financial Field

Score: Seahawks 42, Eagles 0

At a glance: This was the Monday night game where it snowed and everyone could leave at halftime after Seattle built a 35-0 lead. Ugly. Ugly. Ugly.

Overall series: Eagles, 6-4

Eagles home vs. Seahawks: 2-2

Smallwood's take: At least the Seahawks have to do the flying. Playoff positioning will be at stake. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and running back Shaun Alexander make this a dangerous opponent at a crucial time.

Dec. 9

Giants at Eagles, 1

Giants in 2006: 8-8

Last meeting at Lincoln Financial Field: Jan. 7, 2007

Score: Eagles 23, Giants 20

At a glance: Plaxico Burress caught a pair of TD passes, but the Eagles still won the wild-card game on Akers' 38-yard field goal as time expired.

Overall series: Giants, 79-68-2

Eagles home vs. Giants: 39-34-1

Smallwood's take: At the very least, it figures that the Giants still will be fighting for a wild-card spot. Or it could be deciding the division. Either way, it's a tough division rivalry late in the season.

Dec. 16

Eagles at Cowboys, 4:15

Cowboys in 2006: 9-7

Last meeting at Texas Stadium: Dec. 25, 2006

Score: Eagles 23, Cowboys 7

At a glance: In perhaps the most memorable game of last season, the Birds beat their third NFC East opponent on the road in 3 weeks. The Birds intercepted Romo twice and held Owens to two catches.

Overall series: Cowboys, 53-42

Eagles away vs. Cowboys: 17-32

Smallwood's take: If the division is on the line, you'd prefer to have this Week 15 matchup at the Linc instead of Texas Stadium. If you're a legitimate Super Bowl contender, it shouldn't matter.

Dec. 23

Eagles at Saints, 1

Saints in 2006: 10-6

Last meeting: Jan. 13, 2007,

at Louisiana Superdome

Score: Saints 27, Eagles 24

At a glance:Westbrook's 62-yard scoring dash gave the Birds a 21-13 lead, but the Saints and Deuce McAllister (two TDs) dominated and advanced to the NFC title game.

Overall series: Eagles, 15-10

Eagles away vs. Saints: 7-8

Smallwood's take: The Big Easy has been anything but for the Birds in their last two trips to the Superdome. Last year, the Saints beat the Birds, 27-24, in Week 6 and ended their season with a playoff victory. Homefield in the NFC Championship Game could be on the line. You want that game in Philadelphia.

Dec. 30

Bills at Eagles, 1

Bills in 2006: 7-9

Last meeting: Sept. 28, 2003,

at Ralph Wilson Stadium

Score: Eagles 23, Bills 13

At a glance: The winless Eagles took a 16-0 lead on a Buckhalter TD run and three Akers field goals. Drew Bledsoe played quarterback for the Bills.

Last time at Philly: Nov. 10, 1996

Score: Bills 24, Eagles 17

Overall series: Tied, 5-5

Eagles home vs. Bills: 2-2

Smallwood's take: It's the calm before the playoff storm. If the Eagles have taken care of business, expect to see Kevin Kolb make his first NFL start. If not, McNabb & Co. should salt up a playoff spot against Buffalo. Hey, this isn't hockey. *

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