Eagles schedule: 5 key games

Now that the long-awaited 2014 NFL schedule has been released, let’s take a look at five key games for the Philadelphia Eagles this season.

Sept. 7 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: There are clearly much more difficult games on the Eagles’ schedule. But the first game, especially at home, is crucial. It’s always important to get off to a good start, and this will be the Eagles’ first opener at home since the 2010 season. The Eagles historically haven’t played well against Jacksonville with a 1-3 all-time record. Philadelphia won at Jacksonville in ’10 in Michael Vick’s second start as the Eagles' quarterback. The Jaguars won in 1997, ’02 and ’06, a 13-6 win at Lincoln Financial Field. Jaguars coach Gus Bradley was once considered a top choice to replace Andy Reid, but the Eagles hired Chip Kelly instead. The Jaguars finished 4-12 last season, but made a number of key offseason moves to improve their roster.

Sept. 21 vs. Washington Redskins: This game will mark the return of former Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Since the Eagles released Jackson, he will surely want to make an impact for the Redskins. The Eagles swept the Redskins last season, but both games went down to the wire. Philadelphia is just 4-5 in its past nine home games against the Redskins. But the Redskins will return with a new-look offense and a new coach in Jay Gruden. Expect a typical NFC East battle in this early season matchup. Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III will have a new deep threat in Jackson, and it will be fascinating to see how this plays out.

Nov. 16 at Green Bay Packers: The Eagles will play at historic Lambeau Field for the second straight season after winning 27-13 a year ago. In that victory, the Eagles controlled the final nine-plus minutes of the fourth quarter to secure the huge road victory. The Packers didn’t have star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, but he’s healthy heading into the 2014 season. Expect to see a regular-season game filled with playoff intensity. It’s never easy competing in the cold at Lambeau Field, but knowing they won there last season has to be a confidence-builder for the Eagles.

Nov. 27 at Dallas Cowboys: The Eagles will play their sixth game on Thanksgiving Day, but this one is more enticing because it’s against the rival Cowboys. The Eagles last played on Thanksgiving Day in 2008 and they are 4-1 all-time in this holiday showcase. Philadelphia defeated the Cowboys 27-0 in 1989 on Thanksgiving Day at Texas Stadium when it intercepted quarterback Troy Aikman three times. Eagles-Cowboys games are always filled with emotion, and this one looks to be even more exciting considering what is at stake. After this game, the Eagles will have four regular-season games remaining. This will be a gargantuan matchup heading into the final quarter of the season.

Dec. 28 at New York Giants: The Eagles won the NFC East title in their final regular-season game last season. Since the NFC East is expected to be quite competitive once again, this season could come down to the final game. The Eagles have won six of the past seven and seven of the past 10 games in East Rutherford. Much will transpire leading up to this game, but a Giants-Eagles game to close out the regular season has to be intriguing.