Eagles 2013 schedule: Tough games early will test Chip Kelly's group

Rich Schultz

Philadelphia will have a chance to compete if its defense holds up against some solid offenses.

The Philadelphia Eagles have a whole new outlook with Andy Reid out and new head coach Chip Kelly in the fold.

Philadelphia had tremendous success under Reid over the last 14 years, but could never win the Super Bowl despite five appearances in the NFC Championship Game. Now, the Eagles welcome Kelly from the college ranks, where he became famous with the Oregon Ducks for a high-tempo offense.

In the preseason, the offense looked smooth under quarterback Michael Vick. Even with the loss of wide receiver Jeremy Maclin to a torn ACL during training camp, Philadelphia was seemingly moving the ball with ease.

The problem has been defensively, where plenty of questions remain. Can the Eagles stop anybody from running the football after losing Cullen Jenkins in the middle? Fletcher Cox is certainly a good player along with Trent Cole, but who else on the unit stands out as a playmaker?

Here's a closer look at Philadelphia's 2013 schedule, the 20th hardest in the league:

Week Date Opponent Time (ET) TV
1 Sept.9 @ Washington
8:30 p.m. ESPN
2 Sept.15 vs. San Diego
1 p.m. CBS
3 Sept.19 vs. Kansas City
8:25 p.m. NFL
4 Sept. 29 @ Denver
4:25 p.m. FOX
5 Oct. 7 @ New York Giants
1 p.m. FOX
6 Oct. 13 @ Tampa Bay 1 p.m. FOX
7 Oct. 20 vs. Dallas
1 p.m. FOX
8 Oct. 27
vs. New York Giants
4 p.m. FOX
9 Nov. 3 @ Oakland
4 p.m. FOX
10 Nov. 10 @ Green Bay
1 p.m. FOX
11 Nov.17 vs. Washington
1 p.m. FOX
12 Nov.24 BYE --- ---
13 Dec. 1 vs. Arizona 1 p.m. FOX
14 Dec. 8 vs. Detroit 1 p.m. FOX
15 Dec. 15 @ Minnesota 1 p.m. FOX
16 Dec. 22 vs. Chicago 1 p.m. FOX
17 Dec. 29 @ Dallas 1 p.m. FOX

Toughest Out: Green Bay Packers

It's never easy to go into Green Bay and win a game. Throw in what's likely to be a tight divisional race in the NFC North and the game is in November (can you say cold?), and this has all the makings of a brutal road game. The Packers also present a bad matchup for the Eagles, because they can score in a hurry.

Green Bay loves to throw early and often, something a secondary of Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher, Patrick Chung and Nate Allen isn't ready for. If the offense doesn't roll in this contest, it could be an ugly one.

Must Win: San Diego Chargers

This game is a must-win for a variety of reasons. The Chargers are a bad team without much of an offense or defense with a new head coach. On top of that, San Diego has to travel all the way across the country for this game and plays it at 10 a.m. local time.

Now look at the schedule. After this game, the Eagles face a revamped Kansas City Chiefs team led by their old head coach on a Thursday night. It's winnable, but certainly not an easy game. Then Philadelphia hits the road for three straight to face quality teams. San Diego must got down in Week 2.

Can't Overlook: Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals aren't likely to make the playoffs, but they can play stingy defense and have a few weapons on offense with Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald and Rashard Mendenhall. Palmer isn't terrific, but he can make all the throws and has days when he throws for 400 yards.

If Arizona is anywhere near the playoff chase, this could be a very difficult game even with it being a home game. With this affair smack in the middle of a three-game homestand, the Eagles are going to have to put their best foot forward to keep the train rolling.

For news on the Eagles, check out Bleeding Green Nation.

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