When the NFL releases its schedule for the year, it's not just fans who are giddy. The players are too.
And pass-rusher Brandon Graham has looked long and hard at the Eagles 2016 slate of games.
"I took a hard look at it and I know what we got," Graham said in the Eagles' locker room Tuesday afternoon. "I am happy to play the Lions again, we get to go do something there."
The former Michigan Wolverine is always enthused to be in his home town, especially after their 2015 Thanksgiving embarrassment there last season. They face Detroit in Week 5 (Oct. 9) in a 1 p.m. matchup.
His analysis continued: "We play Dallas the first division game, big game at their house. I am excited about that too."
He is also excited about their season opener, against a Browns team likely to be a cupcake in the opener on Sept. 11 at the Linc.
But what Graham is most looking forward to is the team's final four weeks. For the first time in ages, the Eagles will close the regular season with three of their last four games at home against division rivals.
They'll face the Redskins on Dec 11, (before traveling down 95 to Baltimore a week later) the Giants on a Thursday Night game on Dec 22 and then the Cowboys on New Years day, all at home.
"That's lovely because it hypes everything up," Graham said. "From that point it's all about who has the best record but in the end it's the division stuff. We really gotta beat people toward the end. It's good for us."
It is very likely that if the Birds can stay afloat for the first 13 weeks of the season, they'll be able to determine their own fate at home against each division foe in Weeks 14, 16 and 17.
There is one drawback to the Eagles' 2016 slate though -- their too-early Week 4 bye.
"I usually like it in the middle," Graham said, "but it is what it is. Everybody goes through it and I think with us we will adjust and coach will take care of it because he understands."