In terms of first tests, this might not get much easier for the Philadelphia Eagles, who kick off their 2020 season on Sunday afternoon (1 p.m. ET) against the Washington Football Team, widely considered to be the minnows of the NFC East.
It allows the Eagles to find their footing after an unprecedented preseason that included no preseason games, virtually no travel, and the most contact coming in controlled practice environments.
Needless to say, there will be some rust that needs to be shaken off, but being able to do so against a team many are tabbing to win between just two and four is a luxury the Eagles have that not many others around the league will to start the season.
The question marks surrounding the Eagles are plentiful, and they derive from an offense that isn’t much improved from last season’s depleted run to the playoffs — even though the front office made some moves.
With Marquise Goodwin opting out, the Eagles are left with a familiar wide-receiving group that will feature a healthy DeSean Jackson, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Greg Ward, rookie Jalen Reagor, and potentially, Alshon Jeffery.
Carson Wentz’s No. 1 vertical threat, Jackson, was limited to just three games because of injury. Jeffery missed six himself, leaving Ward to play the hero alongside an inexperienced and ineffective Arcega-Whiteside.
A healthy unit, along with potentially the best tight-end duo in the NFL with Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert, the Eagles’ passing game has the makings to be potent — or at least a threat.
In the backfield, Miles Sanders’ status is still up in the air as he battles a hamstring injury. The ground game’s success relies heavily on him considering the lack of dangerous options behind him on the depth chart.
But one of the largest things to keep an eye out for on Sunday afternoon will be how the offensive line performs against a Washington defense that picked up a big pass-rush piece in Ohio State’s Chase Young.
Their defensive line is one of their strongest features, also boasting Ryan Kerrigan, Montez Sweat, Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, and Matt Ioannidis.
For a reshuffled, ragtag Eagles offensive line, it’s a stiff first test and something most fans will be holding their breath about. The No. 1 priority is to keep Wentz upright, healthy, and on the field for a full season (and possibly playoffs).
With Jason Peters and Matt Pryor forced to shift positions after season-ending injuries to Brandon Brooks and Andre Dillard, the Eagles’ offensive line lacks depth and has plenty to prove this year.
Regardless, the Eagles shouldn’t have much trouble getting past Washington, especially if they have legitimate hopes of winning the NFC East in 2020.
Washington’s offense is still set to be led by Dwayne Haskins, who struggled mightily in his rookie season last year, throwing seven touchdowns and seven interceptions in nine games.
His offensive line is in shambles after the trading of Trent Williams, leaving them with a young, inexperienced, low-talent group that the Eagles’ defense should be able to feast on.
I wouldn’t expect a ton of points from Washington’s side, which allows the Eagles to find their offensive footing.
Score prediction: Eagles 28, Redskins 14