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The NFL schedule makers were not kind at all to Chip Kelly in his first season.
The Eagles begin the 2013 campaign with three games in 11 days. Ouch! That’s brutal for any team.
They get Robert Griffin III right out of the gate, followed by three straight AFC west opponents, all three of which are capable of winning that division.
Kelly gets to find out how he stacks up in the NFC East with three divisional showdowns in a span of four weeks.
The schedule gets a little more favorable after that, except for that trip to Green Bay. The final four outings entail three straight confrontations with NFC North squads, and the regular season will close out at Dallas, which could be an interesting game depending on whether the Cowboys need that one for playoff positioning.
For the most part, we know what the Eagles' opponents bring to the table, but we have no idea with how Kelly will counter. Will the offseason additions on defense be a significant upgrade in overall defensive play? Does he have all of the right personnel to run his type of offense? We obviously won't know until the season unfolds.
I hate making predictions in April because so much can change between now and the time the real games roll around. However, I’ll give you my gut feeling. I think the Eagles will be an improved product, but that does not necessarily mean it will be a winning product. With that said -- and I'm sure Eagles fans hope I'm wrong -- I am leaning toward the Birds going 7-9 in Kelly’s first NFL season.