Eagles Could Once Again Play Another First-Round QB Picked Early in NFL Draft

The NFL is likely to add the 17th game to teams' schedule this fall and the way it looks right now, the Eagles could play in New York, where Zach Wilson could be playing
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The NFL is expected to implement a 17th game onto the schedule of every team in 2021, an increase that was included in passing last year’s collective bargaining agreement that runs through 2030.

In his most recent Football Morning in America for NBC Sports, Peter King shed some very bright light on what the schedule could look like.

King said that the formula used to determine the opponent will likely have teams that played in the 2019 AFC-NFC crossover games meet, with the matchup being against the team that finished in the same place in the 2020 standings.

Simply put, the NFC East played the AFC East in 2019. The Eagles finished last in the NFC East in 2020 so they would play the last-place finisher in the AFC East from last year, which was the New York Jets.

The NFL, per King, would likely have the AFC teams host every game in that “17th game” scenario in 2021, with the NFC hosting that “17th game” in the 2022 season. 

King's reporting is further confirmation of a report from Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer from late last year that this would indeed be the situation.

A note: Just because it is being called the 17th game doesn’t mean it will actually be played on the final weekend of the season.

If the formula is correct, and the Eagles go to New York, they would once again be matching up against a quarterback taken early in the draft in their rookie seasons. The Jets could take BYU's Zach Wilson second overall, right behind Clemon's Trevor Lawrence, who is expected to go to the Jaguars at No. 1.

Many mock drafts have Wilson going second to the Jets.

Last year, the Eagles played the No. 1 overall selection from 2020 in Bengals QB Joe Burrow, who had one of the best games of his young career in Philadelphia, completing 31 of 44 throws for 312 yards and two touchdowns in a 23-23 tie.

Also, a season ago, the Eagles played the No. 1 overall pick from three of the previous four drafts, all quarterbacks: Jared Goff (Rams, 2016 class), Baker Mayfield (Browns, 2018 class), and Kyler Murray (Cardinals, 2019 class). They would have played against the No. 1 pick in the 2017, Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, but Garrett missed last year’s game.

As for the Eagles and the rest of their 2021 schedule, they will visit, as they always do, their three NFC East rivals as well as the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, and Las Vegas Raiders.

Philly will host their NFC East opponents as well as the New Orleans Saints, the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Super Bowl runner-up Kansas City Chiefs, the Los Angeles Chargers, and San Francisco 49ers.

Some other scheduling highlights from King include the possibility of football on Christmas Day since this year the holiday falls on a Saturday, and with the addition of a 17th game, there won’t be an extra bye week, but the Super Bowl would likely be pushed back a week.

Currently, Super Bowl 56 is scheduled for Feb. 6, 2022, but with the NFL not wanting to play on Labor Day weekend and needing an extra week to accommodate a 17th game, the Super Bowl would have to be moved to Feb. 13.

The Big Game is set to be played in Los Angeles' new stadium, a venue that was supposed to host last year’s Super Bowl, but construction had yet to be completed on time, so it was moved to Tampa Bay.

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s EagleMaven. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.