Before the 2013 NFL regular season got underway, I predicted that the NFC East title would come down to the final week. I had Dallas and New York both finishing 9-7 with the tiebreaker going to the Giants for the division championship. I also had Philadelphia and Washington finishing a close second at 8-8. The Redskins never lived up to the hype created by last year's unexpected title run and a disastrous 0-6 start by New York ended its chances at competing for the division crown.
As for the Cowboys, that was a pretty easy pick considering they have been in this exact same position the last two seasons; losing the division to the Giants in the final week of 2011 and falling to Washington last season in a Week 17 loss to miss the playoffs. The big story out of this bunch was Philadelphia; however the turn around from a 4-12 record in 2012 to the brink of the playoffs this year should not have been that big of a surprise. Most of the talent was already in place and it just had to be harnessed and redirected by a fresh face at head coach.
Andy Reid did all he could in Philadelphia and found himself burnt out after 14 seasons with the same team. The proof is in what he did with Kansas City this year. The Chiefs only won two games in 2012 and they have already clinched a playoff spot in the AFC with a record of 11-4 heading into the final week. Chip Kelly came into Philadelphia hell-bent to change just about everything from last year except key personnel. He staged a very public battle at the quarterback position between a veteran Michael Vick and a second-year upstart Nick Foles. As expected, Vick's body could not hold up and Foles got an opportunity to flourish in a system that capitalizes on all of his strengths. In a previous post I stated that when all the smoke clears from whatever happens with this team, the biggest accomplishment of Kelly's first year at the helm is finding and developing a franchise quarterback that can lead this team for years to come.
As far as Sunday night's game, I have made the Eagles my final NFC East 'Pick of the Week' with a predicted double-digit victory over Dallas. I would have made the same pick even if Tony Romo was playing quarterback as this game comes down to the matchup between Philly's high-octane offense going up against one of the worst defenses in the league. Forget about the 17-3 loss at the Linc the first time these two teams met and focus on what Foles has been able to accomplish over the past seven weeks. Even in that terrible loss to Minnesota in Week 15, he led this offense to 30 points which is usually enough to win most games. LeSean McCoy has also been a huge factor in the Eagles' success this season as he closes in on a NFL rushing title. DeSean Jackson returned to form and the emergence of Riley Cooper in the place of an injured Jeremy Maclin and rookie tight end Zach Ertz have helped make this unit one of the best in the league. The biggest difference between last year's collapse and this season's winning run is a healthy offensive line that is opening huge holes in the running game as well as doing an excellent job at protecting Foles in the pocket.
Below is a link to my weekly NFC East preview that will be the final installment of an ongoing series for Doc's Sports. As far as my 'pick of the week' I bring a highly profitable 12-4 record into Week 17 that would have earned $2,970 on a $100 wager using Doc's Unit Betting System. I plan on going out with a bang by making this week's selection a 5-unit play!
NFC East Weekly NFL Betting Picks: Week 17