As I'm writing this column I'm watching Aretha Franklin's funeral. It's amazing how many hits she had. I will always remember "Natural Woman," but many people think "Respect" was her most memorable song. The song was taken up as a banner for the women's movement because it was a forceful demand for the respect that women deserve. I believe "Respect" should be the Eagles theme song for this season because, no matter what we do, we just can't seem to get any. It's really hard to believe the disdain that most national analysts have for our Super Bowl-winning team. Hey guys, we won the Super Bowl and we didn't have an easy route. We played very good Atlanta and Minnesota teams and then out-dueled the vaunted New England Patriots and Tom Brady in one of the greatest Super Bowls of all time.

Notwithstanding, the analysts continue to scoff at the Eagles' chances of repeating. I was watching a national sports show and the question for the panel was, "Which is more likely: the Eagles playing in this year's Super Bowl or the Eagles not making the playoffs at all?" To my shock, the stunning unanimous response of the panel was the Eagles not making the playoffs. All I can say to these commentators and the other national analysts is "B.E.!" (Bull excrement.)

Well, here goes my predictions for the season. In last year's column, I wrote the following: "For the 2017 version of our Birds, the Super Bowl is simply out of reach, but I believe they can make the playoffs." I picked them to go 10-6, but in light of the above, so if you want to stop reading this, I can't quarrel with you.

Here's how I think the season will unfold, week by week:

Sept. 6:  The Eagles lose to Atlanta, 17-13. It’s a big letdown, but without Tim Jernigan, Alshon Jeffery and, most importantly of all, Nigel Bradham, the Birds will be at a serious disadvantage.

Sept. 16: The Eagles will crush the Tampa Bay Bucs in their house, 30-10. Easy game with the Bucs missing Jameis Winston.

Sept. 23: The Birds' improved secondary does a good job against Andrew Luck and Colts can't stop the big green machine on offense. Eagles, 27-17.

Sept. 30For those Birds fans who wanted us to get Marcus Mariota there is no reason to have any regrets; Carson Wentz out-duels him, and the Eagles win easily, 24-13.

Oct. 7: In what surely will be a grudge match, the Vikings invade the Linc once more. This time they come closer, but not close enough. The Birds rush helps their secondary contain Kirk Cousins and the Green prevails, 24-16.

Oct. 11: The Eagles go back to the Meadowlands, where the Giants’ 1-2 punch of Odell Beckham Jr. and Saquon Barkley make them a threat, but the Birds do their usual good job of pressuring Eli and win, 26-17.

Oct. 21: The Carolina Panthers come into the Linc, also looking for revenge, but this time they get it. Cam Newton and Christian McCaffrey combine to hand the Birds a narrow 24-20 defeat.

Oct. 28: The Birds go international and invade Wembley Stadium in London to face the Jacksonville Jaguars. Kickoff is at 9:30 in the morning so many Birds fans will start pregame drinking at 2 a.m., or to be accurate, will just continue drinking from their reveling the night before. Fortunately, the Birds concentrate on business and beat a very good Jaguars team, 21-17, in the best NFL game ever to be played on British soil.

So, the Birds reach the halfway mark in good position, 6-2, and enjoy a bye week to rest up from the trip to London.

Nov. 11: The Birds open the second half by crushing Dallas at home, 34-14. How 'bout them Cowboys?

Nov. 18: Coming off the big win over the 'Boys, the Birds steam into New Orleans, and in a battle between Wentz and Brees, they are edged out, 26-24.

Nov. 25: Playing at home, the Birds beat the Giants for a second time. This time fairly easily, 34-17.

Dec. 3: I've always felt Alex Smith is an underrated quarterback, but even he can't lead the battered Redskins to victory. Eagles win at home, 26-20.

Dec. 9: The Cowboys are looking for revenge from our earlier thrashing in the House that Jerry built. They don't get it. Eagles win, 30-20.

Dec. 16: In a heck of a shootout under the lights in L.A., both Wentz and Goff shine, but the Birds lose a close one to an ever-improving Rams team, 27-24.

Dec. 23: Birds hand fans an early Christmas present by humbling the Texans at the Linc, 24-13.

Dec. 30: The last time the Birds were due to go to D.C., most of them decided to decline. This time, everyone goes happily and ends the season on a high note beating the Redskins in a close game, 24-20, to close out the season 12-4.

I believe the Birds can reach the Super Bowl again, even though history shows repeating is very difficult. What they did last year was truly amazing. They became champs despite playing without their best quarterback, running back, offensive lineman, linebacker and special-teams player. They overcame injuries that would have crippled the ordinary team. Hopefully there won't be nearly as many crippling injuries this year. I believe this year's version of the Birds is even better than last year. The secondary is stronger and deeper. With the addition of Mike Wallace, the offense should put more points on the board than it did last year. The Eagles are a deep and very talented team and the fact that most experts are giving them no chance to repeat will make this team try even harder to prove them wrong. So Eagles fans, don't throw away your dog masks just yet.