<
>

2016 Philadelphia Eagles preseason schedule includes Andrew Luck

The NFL released the preseason schedule on Thursday. Dates and times haven’t been announced, but here’s a first look at the opponents for the Philadelphia Eagles:

Week 1 (Aug. 11-15) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

One of the Eagles’ defining losses from 2015 came against Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers at Lincoln Financial Field. Like the Eagles, the Bucs have a new head coach – Dirk Koetter. With Chip Kelly and defensive coordinator Bill Davis gone, the Eagles can get a sense of whether they’ve improved under Doug Pederson and Jim Schwartz. And Winston, along with Eagles fans, can get a first peek at Schwartz’s aggressive, attacking defense.

Week 2 (Aug. 18-22) at Pittsburgh Steelers

The last three years, the Eagles worked out against a preseason opponent for a few days before a game. Last year, it was the Baltimore Ravens. Pederson may not want to do it in his first season, but if he does, this would be a logical opportunity. The Eagles can get to Pittsburgh quickly and the Steelers have a solid program to work with. The Steelers should provide a good test on both offense and defense for the Eagles.

Week 3 (Aug. 25-28) at Indianapolis Colts

The Colts had a disappointing 2015 season that led to speculation about the job security of coach Chuck Pagano. But injuries to quarterback Andrew Luck were the reason for the Colts’ woes. With Luck back and Pagano still on the sideline, the Colts have a chance to be a serious AFC contender in 2016. That’s good for the Eagles, who have a No. 1 draft choice of their own playing quarterback. Sam Bradford will get a chance to show that he’s closer to Luck’s level.

Week 4 (Sept. 1-2) vs. New York Jets

The Eagles played the Jets twice in 24 days last season. They lost in the preseason and won in the regular season. The Jets went on to have a better season than the Eagles, but their quarterback situation is still fuzzy. The Jets have not come to an agreement with free-agent quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. The final preseason game is usually played without many starters, but at least this time the two teams aren’t scheduled to see each other in the regular season.