When it comes to the NFL schedule, always remember it’s not who you play, it’s when you play them, a nod to the fluid nature of a sport defined by its parity and the ability to rise from worst to first in a calendar year.
So have fun playing the "Dat’s a win, dat’s a loss" Mike Francesa-trademarked game, but other than real-world logistics like dates and times, the substantive takes from the NFL schedule release are always about themes.
Here’s what stood out to me about the 2022 Eagles' schedule:
There’s at least a chance the Eagles will be favored in their first four games: at Detroit, Minnesota on Monday Night Football at Lincoln Financial Field, at Washington, and Carson Wentz (thumbs up to the NFL for getting that dreck of a trip out of the way early) and home to Doug Pederson and Jacksonville.
If the Eagles struggle in Weeks 1 and 2 and the Commandeers look good, there’s a possibility that Washington is favored at FedExField in Week 3 but if Nick Sirianni has his team ready out of the starting blocks, 4-0 is not inconceivable.
BAD TEAMS EARLY/LATE
My thesis has always been that you always want to play poor teams later on the schedule when they realize all hope is lost.
That works against the Eagles in the season-opener in Detriot where the Lions will likely scratch and claw especially after getting routed by Philadelphia last season at Ford Field.
Conversely, there are two teams on the NFC side that have clearly demonstrated they are in rebuilding mode: Chicago and the New York Giants.
By the time the Eagles are set to visit the Windy City in Week 15 and they start their home and home series with the Giants (Weeks 14 and 18) those teams will be on fumes and more concerned about draft picks.
THREE-GAME ROAD TRIP
You never want to be away from home for three consecutive games but the Eagles got another break with their lengthy road swing which starts with a short trek up the Jersey Turnpike for a matchup with the talent-deficient G-Men and then the sojourn to Chicago for the hapless Bears.
That’s the good news.
The final one, however, is in North Texas against Dallas on Christmas Eve, a really difficult spot, and what the industry will tell you is a logical loss against the team you should be battling with for the NFC East title.
It’s another easy schedule for the Eagles on paper and it will continue to look that way until the NFC East becomes more credible.
If you’re looking for tough spots, however, sandwiching the bye in Week 7 with games at Arizona and against Dallas at home before coming out of it with Pittsburgh and then a short week traveling to Houston for Thursday Night Football shapes up like a 2-2 swing or worse if things are going poorly.
As far as talent, the toughest stretch will likely be Weeks 11 through 13: at Indianapolis with Matt Ryan making the Colts a little more credible, and home games against Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay followed by Tennessee coming into the Linc for the A.J. Brown revenge game.
MEANINGFUL COWBOYS FOOTBALL
Too often when the Eagles and Cowboys have been matched up in Week 17, or now Week 18, the game has been meaningless for one side or the other and the city’s most heated rivalry has turned into a glorified preseason game.
That’s not going to happen this season with the home and home matchups starting in Philadelphia in Week 6 and finishing with Christmas Eve football. Both organizations will be playing hard and that’s always a good thing.
-John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's Eagles Today and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talk host Jody McDonald every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on YouTube. John is also the host of his own show "Extending the Play" on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen