Five competitive games on the Eagles roster: Doug Pederson’s return will be as big as Brian Dawkins

Although the Philadelphia Eagles are still in a transition phase, the franchise has raised high expectations for the 2022 season. The development of Jalen Hurts led to a surprise playoff appearance last year that the Eagles capitalized on with their offseason moves.

Philadelphia acquired AJ Brown over draft weekend, making Hurts a No. 1 wide receiver the franchise hadn’t had in years. Brown and sophomore DeVonta Smith form one of the best wide receiver duos in the game that needs hurts to take their game to the next level. Add in last season’s #1 rushing attack and one of the best offensive lines in football, and the Eagles offense is a tremendous strength.

The defense also received a facelift with the signing of Haason Reddick and draft picks of Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean, giving Philadelphia three cornerstones in defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon’s revamped unit. Brandon Graham is back from an Achilles injury and Josh Sweat continues to grow as a pass rusher. Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave and Darius Slay also return to a unit that has changed over the past season.

The Eagles improved their roster this offseason while the Dallas Cowboys fell back to the pack in the NFC East. In an exciting division race, the Eagles are expected to battle for the NFC East title and return to the postseason this year.

There are some exciting games on the 2022 schedule — five in primetime — as the NFL believes the Eagles will be a team to watch throughout the year. These are the five games that Eagles and NFL fans can’t miss on the calendar.

5. Week 8: vs. Steelers (Sun. Oct. 30, 1 p.m. CBS)

The Eagles exit a bye week and face their state rivals, the first matchup between the teams since 2020. With the 17th game on the schedule, the Eagles face the Steelers as a result of the scheduled NFC East teams to face the AFC North (Philadelphia and Pittsburgh finished tied in their respective leagues last year).

Bragging rights are at stake, especially as the Steelers won the most recent matchup between the Keystone State rosters. Pittsburgh always seems to have trouble in Philadelphia, as the Steelers haven’t beaten the Eagles in Philadelphia since 1965 – back when the two teams played each other twice a year.

Which Pittsburgh team takes on Lincoln Financial Field is up for grabs, but the Eagles will face an uphill battle against a team that’s always competitive. This will be a fun matchup for two teams that don’t play each other much.

4. Week 6: vs. Cowboys (Sun. 10/16, 8:20 p.m., NBC)

If the Eagles want to make a mark at the NFC East and showcase their young talent to the league, beating the Cowboys in prime time at home is a must. Dallas was the team that beat Philadelphia last year and has beaten the Eagles three times in a row.

Philadelphia has its first of two Sunday Night Football games of the year against its division rivals, the first real test for a team that has made enough strides to be in contention for the NFC East title. Eagles Cowboys is always a great primetime game, a matchup that has been a night game every year since 2003 (only 2000 and 2003 hasn’t been a night game this century).

The crowd will be loud at Lincoln Financial Field hoping the Eagles can live up to the off-season hype. This isn’t a “must-win” game for Philadelphia, but it will feel like it if the Eagles want the NFC East.

3. Week 4: vs. Jaguars (Sun. Oct. 2, 1 p.m. CBS)

Usually, a game against the team with the worst record in the NFL last season isn’t a duel worth circling on the calendar. This one will be different with Doug Pederson returning to Lincoln Financial Field as manager of the Jaguars.

Pederson won the Eagles their first Super Bowl title, ending a 57-year championship drought that stretched back to 1960. Eagles fans hungered for their franchise to win the Super Bowl, a feat great coaches like Dick Vermeil and Andy Reid couldn’t pull off in town (but elsewhere). Pederson did.

There is a statue of Pederson at Lincoln Financial Field discussing the “Philly Special” with Nick Foles and showing how legendary the Philadelphia coach is. The huge Super Bowl Champions banner in the stadium doesn’t exist without Pederson.

Pederson is set to get the same big ovation as Brian Dawkins did when he returned to Philadelphia in a different uniform in 2009. Eagles fans won’t forget what Pederson did for the city and the impact the Eagles had on one of the most passionate fanbases in the league in 2017.

Week 2 10: vs. Commanders (Mon, Nov 14, 8:15 p.m. ESPN)

Carson Wentz finally returns to Lincoln Financial Field for the first time since requesting a trade out of Philadelphia. The former Eagles franchise quarterback has endured an epic downfall since a torn cruciate ligament and LCL derailed his MVP campaign — and his ability to lead the franchise to the Super Bowl title — in 2017.

Just three years later, Wentz was benched in favor of Hurts. Two months after the bench press, Wentz left Philadelphia and got a fresh start with the Indianapolis Colts. That didn’t work out as planned, so Wentz has an opportunity to salvage his career in Washington – twice a year against the Eagles.

As the Eagles take on the Commanders in Week 3, this game will take place at FedEx Field. Wentz must exorcise the demons at Lincoln Financial Field in prime time while fans watch his every move on the field. This reunion will not be as cordial as the one Pederson will receive.

1st week 16: at Cowboys (Sat., 24.12., 4:25 p.m., Fox)

This is the game that should determine the NFC East title, a Christmas Eve battle for a playoff home game. Philadelphia and Dallas are the two favorites to conquer the East and should be in contention for playoff position when these two teams meet in the rematch of the Week 6 Showdown earlier in the season.

Dallas defeated Philadelphia last season, which included a 41-21 loss in Week 3 on Monday Night Football. The Eagles have not won since their 2017 Super Bowl championship season in Dallas.

If Hurts can lead the Eagles to victory at AT&T Stadium, it will bring the franchise and fans two early Christmas presents. First would be a clear path to the division title and second – a franchise quarterback. Not like the Eagles previously ruined the Dallas holiday (see Jeff Garcia on Christmas Day 2006).

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