The NFL has announced the 2007 schedule, so it's time to start planning those Eagles road trips. Right off the bat we have a winner at Lambeau. Since it's in September, the Tundra won't be frozen yet, and Simmons tells us we should all see this place at least once. Other than that, the New Orleans road trip will be a tough sell to the family, since it's December 23rd, but New England on November 25th could be a good second choice. The NFL showed the Birds some prime time love, with two one MNF (Update: the schedule says Monday for Dec. 2, but it's a Sunday; now I feel robbed) and three games on Sunday nights.
As far as the actual schedule goes, it doesn't look too bad. Of course, we were all wrong about the easy front end and impossible back end last year, but it's in our nature to speculate on such things. The first three games should be wins, which is good, considering the Birds may be without McNabb to start the season; we're still not sure. The Tiki-less Giants are looking like they may even be worse than last year, but game 4 is at their house, so it's a toss-up. Week 5 is way too early for a Bye week, so that sucks like having 3rd period lunch.
I'd say the middle of the season, despite having some tough matchups, isn't bad, because Chicago, Dallas, Miami, and Seattle are all tough places to play, and they're all home games. The Jets could be tough in week 6 though. At New Orleans in late December will obviously be tough, especially if they still have the voodoo going from last year, but hosting Buffalo will be a nice day to rest the starters. That's right, I said it.
I think they win the division at 10-6. What do you predict?
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About NBC internships
Pete Mackanin continues to play musical chairs with his logjam of infielders.
Tonight, Cesar Hernandez returns to the Phillies' lineup playing second and leading off. He sat against lefty Clayton Kershaw and will face righty Yu Darvish tonight. Hernandez has fared better against right-handers (.293) than southpaws (.279). He leads the team with a .359 OBP this season.
Maikel Franco will take a seat tonight. Franco has been much better over his last 10 games. In that span, Franco is 15 for 35 (.371) with two homers and seven RBIs. His average for the season is still just at .232.
J.P. Crawford will take over at the hot corner and bat seventh. Crawford has been sort of up and down since his call up, but his patented control of the strike zone has certainly translated at the big league level. The rookie is hitting a modest .256 so far but has an OBP of .340.
Here is the rest of tonight's lineup:
1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Odubel Herrera, CF
4. Rhys Hoskins, 1B
5. Nick Williams, RF
6. Aaron Altherr, LF
7. J.P. Crawford, 3B
8. Jorge Alfaro, C
9. Aaron Nola, P
And here's how the Dodgers will line up against Nola:
1. Chris Taylor, CF
2. Corey Seager, SS
3. Justin Turner, 3B
4. Cody Bellinger, 1B
5. Curtis Granderson, RF
6. Chase Utley, 2B
7. Yasmani Grandal, C
8. Andre Ethier, LF
9. Yu Darvish, P