Saturday, December 27, 2014

NFL Week 17 NFC East Preview & Pick

We have reached the final week of the NFL regular season and the drama that has surrounded the NFC East for the past three seasons as far as winning the division title has given way to a pair of basically meaningless games to close-out 2014. The Cowboys have been able to avoid the Week 17 winner-take-all scenario that cost them the past three NFC East crowns with a solid 11-4 record through their first 15 games. The Eagle's loss to Washington last Saturday officially ended their playoff hopes and both the Redskins and the Giants' race to the postseason never even got out of the gate.

Before the season began, I predicted that Philadelphia would go 11-5 this season to win a second-straight division title. The Eagles still have a decent shot of matching last season's record of 10-6, but I never expected that 10 wins would not be good enough to earn a spot in the NFC playoffs. I never saw Detroit coming and Arizona exceeded my expectations as well.

The biggest surprise has been the Cowboys' ability to win the games down the stretch that they would consistently lose in the past. As much as I hate to admit it, this could be a very dangerous team once the playoffs start next weekend. While I will be rooting hard to see the Boys get blown out of the water against whichever team(s) they will face in the postseason, if they can continue to run the ball behind DeMarco Murray and if Tony Romo continues to manage the game well without turning the ball over, I could easily see Dallas going all the way to either Seattle or Green Bay in the NFC Championship and making a game out of it.

As for our beloved and beleaguered Birds, I have to hope that this step backwards will go a long way towards taking a positive step forward towards a future run at a Super Bowl title. I believe Chip Kelly is wired just right for a long and productive career as a head coach in the NFL, but until he has a legitimate franchise quarterback in place to run his offense, this team will only get so far. I was one of the biggest Nick Foles' fans out there at the end of last season, but his regression this year is some serious cause for concern. Mark Sanchez is certainly not the answer and if Kelly saw something in Matt Barkley, he would have already had him in the starting lineup.

Another area of concern is the Eagles' running game. LeSean McCoy took a major step backwards this season as compared to his stellar campaign in 2013, but he did still run for over 1,200 yards heading into the season finale. The concern is that the wear and tear of being a running back in the NFL is starting to take its toll. Fortunately, the college draft is always filled with some fresh legs that can quickly fill the void. It is just a matter of the team's scouts finding the right pair of legs as Shady's heir apparent.

The Eagles made some decent strides this season on the other side of the ball with a defense that knew how to get after the quarterback and create opportunities through turnovers. On the flip side, this unit still gave up way too many big plays and it had a hard time getting off the field against some of the better offenses it faced.

We will obviously have all the time in the world to thoroughly dissect the good, the bad and the ugly of the Eagles' 2014 season now that they are just one of 20 other NFL teams that will get an early jump on the offseason. So for now, lets turn our immediate attention to a final week of football in the NFC East.

The following is a link to my complete preview and NFC East "pick of the week" for Sunday that was part of an ongoing series for Doc's Sports. My year-to-date record for these picks coming into Week 17 is 9-7 and I am looking to go out with a bang with a big win this Sunday. Unfortunately, it would be at the expense of our home-town team!

Expert NFL Betting Picks: Weekly NFC East Predictions Week 17

Friday, December 19, 2014

NFL Week 16 NFC East Preview & Pick

For the first time this season I have this sinking feeling in my gut that all the Eagles' efforts this season to repeat as NFC East Division champs will have been in vain as a result of last Sunday's loss to Dallas. They now have to win their final two games against Washington and New York, while scoreboard watching to see if the Cowboys get tripped-up this Sunday at home against Indianapolis or next week on the road against the Redskins.

Normally this would be no big thing given how Dallas has played in December the past three seasons, but this time around things have a different feel. It was Mark Sanchez throwing the ball to the wrong team last week instead of Tony Romo. The Eagles' defense showed some major signs of improvement as the season wore on, but it could not get off the turf at the Linc last Sunday night, while Dallas was able to build a huge 21-0 lead early in the game. The pendulum has appeared to swing in the wrong direction ever since the Thanksgiving Day massacre and Philadelphia no longer controls the necessary power to swing it back in the right direction to save its season.

I am still holding onto the hope that the Cowboys revert to their former selves over these next two games just for the sheer pleasure of seeing team owner Jerry Jones' face twist and turn as his team once again crashes and burns. Unfortunately, that sinking feeling I was talking about keeps telling me that I will not get the satisfaction this time around after watching our most bitter rivals blow the division title three-straight years with a loss in the final game of the season.

While there is a very good chance that my preseason prediction of an 11-5 season for the Eagles comes to fruition, in my worst nightmare I never imagined that this record would NOT be good enough to win the division, let alone make the playoffs.

First things first, Philadelphia has to get by Washington this Saturday afternoon. This should not be a problem, but I would not bet on the Birds as eight-point road favorites. The tricky part could be next week against New York. The Giants have shown some signs of life lately to the point where I made them my NFC East "pick of the week" against St. Louis. Eli Manning and Co. would love nothing more than to put the final steak in Philly's heart next week to send both teams packing to an early offseason.

As for the Cowboys, a 4-0 finish to the regular season could actually propel this team deep into the playoffs while riding a strong wave of momentum. The ability to run the ball this time of year has led to a number of Super Bowl runs over the years, and while I do not see Dallas getting that far, I could see the Boys working their way into the NFC title game.

For now, my only hope is for DeMarco Murray to cough the ball up a few times this Sunday while playing with a broken left hand. He has accounted for close to 40 percent of the Cowboys' offense this season and he was more than instrumental in last Sunday's win at the Linc.

For this week's complete NFC East preview, please check-out the link below for the piece as previously posted on Doc's Sports.

Expert NFL Betting Picks: Weekly NFC East Predictions Week 16

Friday, December 12, 2014

NFL Week 15 NFC East Preview & Pick

The rubber meets the road this Sunday night in the NFC East in what in actuality is a title game between Dallas and Philadelphia. If the Cowboys win, they would have a one-game lead in the division heading into a home game against Indianapolis next Sunday before Week 17's season finale against Washington on the road. If the Eagles pull-off the sweep, they would have the one-game lead and the tie-break should both teams end-up with identical records. They finish the season on the road against the Redskins and the Giants.

While anything could happen in those last two weeks to swing the division title one way or the other, it would be a solid bet to say that the team that wins on Sunday night walks away with this season's NFC East crown. It is also safe to say that the team that loses on Sunday runs a very real risk of missing the playoffs altogether even if they finish with 11 wins. Given these scenarios it would be an understatement to call Sunday night's showdown huge.

Philly is anywhere from a three to three and a half point favorite in this contest mainly because of the home field advantage. It is no big mystery that both teams come into this game looking to run the ball down the other's throat behind their featured running back. The Eagles' LeSean McCoy won the first round of this two-round heavyweight fight by torching the Cowboys for 159 rushing yards on their own field. DeMarco Murray has been torching opposing teams all season long with a league-high 1,606 rushing yards, but he was held to just 73 on Thanksgiving Day.

The other key factor in this game will be turnovers, but that is almost a given in any football game. The Eagles made life miserable for Tony Romo in the first meeting and he cracked under the pressure with two interceptions. Seattle made life miserable for Mark Sanchez last Sunday at the Linc in what looked more like his butt-fumbling days with the Jets. Whichever of these two signal callers does the best job of taking care of the ball will be celebrating a win early Monday morning.

The undercard in the NFC East this Sunday is Washington on the road against New York. Both teams are suffering through a lost season, but the Redskins are just plain lost. This franchise is on the verge of completely imploding given the drama between an egotistical owner, a rookie coach and a prima donna quarterback. If you are betting on this game go big on the Giants minus the 7.5 points.

Please check-out the link below for my complete Week 15 NFC East preview as well as my 'pick of the week' for Doc's Sports. I have hit a rough patch lately with three-straight losers, but I believe my call in the Dallas vs. Eagles' game is right on the money!

Expert NFL Betting Picks: Weekly NFC East Predictions Week 15

Thursday, December 4, 2014

NFL Week 14 NFC East Preview & Pick

We have reached the point of the NFL regular season where certain team's playoff hopes can immediately rise with a win or take a major hit with a loss. There are a pair of games in the NFC East this week could have a major impact on the postseason picture in not only the division, but in the conference as a whole.

The Cowboys are in Chicago for a Thursday night matchup against the Bears in what could be considered an almost "must win" situation after posting just one victory in their last four games. Dallas is still in solid shape to make the playoffs at 8-4, but a loss to Chicago as a road favorite could go a long way towards changing that. First, it would fall even deeper behind the Eagles in the division title race and second, the Cowboys would be cast into the mix for a wild card spot that includes teams such as San Francisco, Detroit and Seattle with only two of four teams making it into the postseason.

Philadelphia gained the edge in the NFC East with last Thursday's convincing 33-10 win over the Cowboys, but it has another huge test on its hands with the Seahawks coming to town this Sunday. The Eagles are a perfect 6-0 at home this season while Seattle is just 3-3 on the road, but you can throw those records out the window with this game listed as a PICK with most betting lines. This matchup comes down to the vaunted Seahawks' defense trying to slowdown the high-powered Eagles' offensive attack. If LeSean McCoy has another day running the ball like he did on Thanksgiving against the Cowboys, Philadelphia should win this game. However, if head coach Chip Kelly has to rely on Mark Sanchez throwing the ball to try and beat Seattle, things could really tighten up for next week's rematch between Dallas and Philly at the Linc.

Both Washington and New York find themselves riding out the string after posting just three victories in their first 12 games. It is highly doubtful that Redskins' head coach Jay Gruden's job is jeopardy since this his first year at the helm, but it is almost a foregone conclusion that Tom Coughlin's long and highly successful tenure with Giants will come to an end after this season.

I actually used New York's road game against Jacksonville as my NFC East "pick of the week" so to see which way I went in this one check-out my full preview of this week's games in my weekly article for Doc's Sports using the link below.

Expert NFL Betting Picks: Weekly NFC East Predictions Week 14

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

NFL Week 13 NFC East Preview & Pick

Philadelphia and Dallas play one another this Thanksgiving in the first of two meetings in the next three weeks. Both teams come into this game with identical 8-3 records so it stands to reason that whichever one of these bitter division rivals comes out on top this Thursday will have the inside track to this season's NFC East title.

The Cowboys have been listed as three-point favorites primarily because of the home field advantage given just how closely these two teams match up with one another. The Eagles' offense is ranked fourth in the NFL in passing yards and 12th in rushing yards per game. They are averaging 31.1 points a game, which is the third highest total in the league.

Dallas has done an excellent job moving the ball on the ground behind DeMarco Murray and overall it is ranked second in the NFL with 150.1 rushing yards a game. It is ranked 17th in passing yards and its 26.5 point scoring average is the seventh-best in the league.

When it comes to the defensive side of the ball, Philadelphia has had its issues against the pass and it is ranked 21st in the league in points allowed (25.0). This unit has been tough on quarterbacks with the second-most sacks in league (38) and it is 10th in the NFL in takeaways with 19.

The Cowboys have been slightly better against the pass, but they are still ranked 19th in the NFL in yards allowed. This unit is allowing an average of 21.8 points a game and it is tied for 12th in takeaways with 18.

The bottom line in this Thursday's matchup is whichever team does the better job taking care of the ball and avoiding the crucial miscues that have plagued both the Eagles and the Cowboys in the past should come out on top. I have stayed away from this game as my official NFC East pick for this week's games, but I would have to lean slightly towards Dallas as the favorite at home taking Game 1 in this season's series.

The following link will take you to my complete Week 13 preview and 'pick of the week' in the NFC East as originally posted on Doc's Sports.

Expert NFL Betting Picks: Weekly NFC East Predictions Week 13

Saturday, November 22, 2014

NFL Week 12 NFC East Preview & Pick

I had to take a break from the Eagles for a couple of days after last Sunday's massacre at Lambeau Field. As I mentioned before, a loss to the Packers would not be devastating to their NFC East title run, but the fact that they were blown-off the field definitely pushes them into the second-tier of contenders in the NFC at this point of the season.

Philadelphia has now lost to two division leaders in the NFC, which could easily come back to haunt the team when it comes to tiebreakers for potential first round byes in the playoffs. I am probably getting way ahead of myself considering how bad the Eagles looked last week in almost every phase of the game, but in all fairness to our beloved Birds, it seems that every NFL team has been hammered at least once this season from the Patriots and the Packers right on down the list.

The first thing Philadelphia needs is to get its swagger back with a strong showing against Tennessee this Sunday. The Eagles are solid double-digit favorites to win this game and so far this season they have done a good job at taking care of business against the teams they are supposed to beat. I do not want to take a win over the 2-8 Titans for granted, but I am already focused on next Thursday's big trip to Big D for a Turkey Day showdown against the Boys. This is easily the biggest game of the year so far for both teams and whichever one goes on to draw first blood in the season series will hold the inside track to the 2014 NFC East title.

First, the Cowboys have to get past New York on the road this Sunday to keep pace with Philly, assuming the Birds win their game. I think that will be the case as the Giants have been simply awful the past five weeks. I actually made Dallas (-4.5) my NFC East 'pick of the week' and while I will still be rooting hard for New York to pull-off the upset, the simple fact that I am 8-3 with this year's weekly picks tells me that the Cowboys will roll in this one.

Please check-out the link below for my complete preview of Week 12 in the NFC East as part of my ongoing series for Doc's Sports.

Expert NFL Betting Picks: Weekly NFC East Predictions Week 12

Saturday, November 15, 2014

NFL Week 11 NFC East Preview & Pick

The rubber meets the road this Sunday for Philadelphia as it travels to Green Bay for one of its biggest matchups of the year along with the two upcoming games against the Cowboys. If the Eagles find a way to steal a win at Lambeau Field they would find themselves in the driver seat for not only another NFC East title, but a possible first round bye in the playoffs.

A loss to the Packers this Sunday would not be devastating, but it would definitely move the Birds down to the second tier of contenders in the NFC. I personally think the Eagles will come away with a win in this game, but everyone knows what a homer I am. The one good thing about this Sunday's matchup is that it will be a good test for Mark Sanchez after he went basically untouched in Monday night's game against Carolina. We need to see how he can perform in Chip Kelly's offense 'under fire' given his past reputation for turning the ball over when the heat did get turned up.

I did use the Packers' game for this week's NFC East 'pick of the week', but instead of taking the Eagles and the seven points I went with the OVER 54.5 on the total line. I see this one turning into old-fashioned shootout where both teams put up 30 points or more and the final score hinges on which team has the ball last.

In the other two games in the division this Sunday, Washington plays host to Tampa Bay in a game the Redskins should win with relative ease and the Giants welcome San Francisco to MetLife Stadium in a game they are almost guaranteed to lose.

The link below will take you to my complete preview of Week 11 in the NFC East as well as my 'pick of the week'. For those playing along, I come into this week with a 7-3 record in my first 10 picks.

Expert NFL Betting Picks: Weekly NFC East Predictions Week 11

Saturday, November 8, 2014

NFL Week 10 NFC East Preview & Pick

The Mark Sanchez era in Philadelphia got underway last Sunday against Houston when Nick Foles went down with a broken clavicle. The results were encouraging as he led the Eagles to a rather comfortable victory in what was at first a very tight game.

His stint as the Eagles' starting quarterback for the next six to eight weeks while Foles in on the mend can only go one of two ways. The first would be a very shaky performance in which the Eagles lose enough games to put their playoff chances in serious jeopardy. The more likely scenario would be that Sanchez plays rather well to help the Birds win the majority of their games en route to a second-straight NFC East Division title. In true Philadelphia fashion, this would lead to a huge quarterback controversy that would light-up the air waves of every sports talk show in the city. You know, the kind of drama that Eagles' fans live for. I guess this would be a good problem to have, but I still see Foles as the future of this team despite a less than stellar performance in a few of his games this year. Something tells me that I am going to be in the minority if this scenario does unfold.

Right now I am simply focused on Monday night's matchup against Carolina. I really like the Eagles' chances to blow this game wide open early to make it a pretty easy night for the fans. So much so that I made Philadelphia winning by more than seven points my NFC East "pick of the week".

In other action, the Cowboys will look to snap a two-game skid against Jacksonville this Sunday in yet another NFL game in London. The big question in this contest is should Dallas go with Tony Romo as its starter despite the fact he is still suffering from an earlier back injury? All indications are that he is going to play, but do not be surprised if at some point he gets knocked out of this game as well. The Jaguars may only have one win on the year, but their defense is tied for third in the NFL in sacks with 27. Hopefully, we will all get a good close-up shot of Jerry Jones' face when that happens, considering that he appears to be willing to put his quarterback's health at an unnecessary risk against a team his beloved Cowboys should be able to beat no matter who is under center.

The Giants will also try and end a losing streak that reached three games with last Monday night's 40-24 loss to Indianapolis. Unfortunately, they are going to have to win on the road in Seattle to right the ship. This team has been the ultimate Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde this season with multiple losing and winning streaks and I do not see this current slide coming to an end on Sunday afternoon at one of the toughest place in the NFL to win a game.

Fortunately for Redskins' fans their team has a bye this week after posting a 3-6 record in their first nine games. Washington will be back in action next Sunday against Tampa Bay at home, which is a game that it should actually win.

The following is a link to my full Week 10 NFC East preview and pick of the week which is part of an on-going series for Doc's Sports.

Expert NFL Betting Picks: Weekly NFC East Predictions Week 10

Saturday, November 1, 2014

NFL Week 9 NFC East Preview & Pick

It was a hard loss to swallow when the Eagles came up short against Arizona last Sunday in the final seconds of the game, but they never should have been in such a precarious position in the first place. In the end, turnovers, penalties and blown assignments proved to be just too costly to overcome to secure a win.

Fortunately the Redskins did Philly a favor by stepping-up to bring an end to the Cowboys' unexpected six-game winning streak. This kept the gap in the NFC East Division title race to just a half game. Dallas now has to hope that DeMarco Murray can stay hot running the ball with Tony Romo hindered by another back injury. There is a good chance that the Cowboys stumble again this week against a surprisingly good Arizona ball club, but I am not willing to bet on it with my NFC East 'pick of the week'.

The Giants are back in action this Monday night following a bye as easily the most schizophrenic team in the NFL. I think they can have some success against a Colts' defense that was torched for 51 points last Sunday against Pittsburgh, so if I had to make a pick in this one it would probably be the OVER on a betting line of 50.5.

Also back in action is Washington quarterback RG III. He went down in Week 2 with a dislocated ankle and earlier this week he was finally cleared to play in this Sunday's game against Minnesota. After the Kirk Cousins' bandwagon drove itself into the ground, first-year head coach Jay Gruden turned to Colt McCoy to get that much needed win against Dallas. It was not pretty, but the former Texas Longhorn played well enough to get the job done in his home state. Look for the Redskins to make it two in a row as RG III does just enough to help get his team another tight win this time around.

Turning to my NFC East 'pick of the week', I am relying heavily on two recent trends. First, the last time the Eagles lost consecutive games was back in Week 8 of last season and second, the Birds have won 10 of their last 12 games when they are listed as favorites. Last check, BetOnline had Philadelphia listed as a slight one-point road favorite against the Texans, although a few books out there now have this game listed as a PICK.

The following is a link to my complete NFC East preview and pick for Week 9 as part of my ongoing series for Doc's Sports.

Expert NFL Betting Picks: Weekly NFC East Predictions Week 9

Saturday, October 25, 2014

NFL Week 8 NFC East Preview & Pick

After taking last week off, the Eagles are back in action this Sunday afternoon on the road against Arizona. Both of these teams come into this NFC showdown with identical 5-1 records and while the Cardinals have taken a much more conventional approach to posting their fast start out of the gate, our beloved Birds have made things extremely interesting from the opening kickoff of the Jacksonville game.

Philadelphia set a new NFL record for overcoming three-straight double-digit deficits to start a season 3-0. It was just two yards away from knocking-off San Francisco after special teams and the defense combined to score all the points in a 26-21 loss. The following week the Eagles built a 27-point lead late in the third quarter only to hold on for a six-point win. The good news is that heading into its bye Philly finally put it together in every phase of the game to wax the Giants 27-0. This was the Eagles at their best with six sacks on defense and 149 yards on the ground by LeSean McCoy.

I stayed away from this Sunday's game against the Cardinals when it came to my NFC East "pick of the week", but if I had to make a wager on the outcome I would go with the OVER on a total line of 48. Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer returned to the starting lineup two weeks ago and the offense responded by putting-up 30 points in a win against Washington and 24 points in last week's victory over Oakland. Philadelphia is ranked third in the NFL in scoring with an average 30.5 points a game, so touchdowns and field goals should not be too hard to come by for either of these teams come Sunday afternoon.

I did make an official pick on Monday night's Washington at Dallas game in my weekly NFC East preview for Doc's Sports. Last week I went against the Cowboys and paid the price, but I believe that I am dead-on with this week's play. Check it out at the following link on Doc's.

Expert NFL Betting Picks: Weekly NFC East Predictions Week 8

Saturday, October 18, 2014

NFL Week 7 NFC East Preview & Pick

The Eagles headed into this week's bye on a high note after last Sunday's dominating 27-0 shutout over the Giants. Despite a gaudy record of 5-1, it was the first time that this team played a full 60-minutes of football on both sides of the line. The best thing that this win accomplished was to dispel many of the football experts' opinion that Philadelphia was grossly overrated.

Hopefully this impressive performance will set the stage for continued success when the Birds do return to action, but for the purpose of this discussion we have to turn our attention to this Sunday's showdown between the Giants and the 5-1 Cowboys. This game could go in a number of directions, but I am banking on a close matchup that goes down to the wire. I am not saying that New York will win this game straight-up (although it is a distinct possibility) I am more than confident that the Giants will cover against the seven-point spread. They are not nearly as bad as they looked last Sunday against the Eagles and Dallas can easily get caught reading its press clippings about last week's stunning win in Seattle. Just as a side note, when you really start to breakdown the Seahawks they are probably even more overrated than the Cowboys.

The following is a link to my weekly preview of the NFC East as part of an ongoing series for Doc's Sports.

Expert NFL Betting Picks: Weekly NFC East Predictions Week 7

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Key Stats for NFL Week 7 Matchups: Divisional Trap Games

As part of an ongoing weekly series for Sporting Charts I take a look at some key stats and trends for a trio of matchups on each Sunday's NFL slate. This week there are three division leaders that face a potential trap game within their division including the NFC East showdown between the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys.

Seeing how the Eagles rolled-over the Giants last Sunday night at the Linc and Dallas extended its current winning streak to five games with an impressive win over the Seahawks in Seattle, you might draw the conclusion that the Cowboys are a virtual lock to move to 6-1 on the year with a victory this Sunday.

The first thing you need to remember is that there is no such thing as a "lock" when it comes to the NFL or any sporting event for that matter. The other thing that you need to keep in mind is that other than Seattle, the Cowboys other four wins have come against teams with a combined record of 8-14. In reality, Dallas should win this game, but given the heated rivalry between these two teams, New York's ability to play really well when it puts its mind to it, and the Cowboys tendency to shoot themselves in the foot at the worst possible time, I would not bet on it.

For a look at all three of my divisional trap games this week please go to Sporting Charts at the following link:

Key Stats for NFL Week 7 Matchups: Divisional Trap Games

Saturday, October 11, 2014

NFL Week 6 NFC East Preview & Pick

Quite a few football experts are questioning the validity of Philadelphia being a legitimate contender for this season's NFC title and a possible run to a Super Bowl Championship despite being tied for the best record in the conference at 4-1. I will have to admit that after the Eagles almost blew a 27-point lead over St. Louis last Sunday, I have a few questions in my mind as well, but you are what you are in this league and this team is still 4-1.

The rubber meets the road this Sunday night at the Linc with the 3-2 Giants coming to town. If the Birds go on to win this game in some kind of convincing fashion then it will once again be standing room only on this bandwagon. If they lose this game, the stock in this team will sink like a lead balloon. That is the way it goes in a league where you live and die on a weekly basis. The fact of the matter is that a win on Sunday would be huge, but a loss would not be devastating.

Think back to last year at this time. Through the first six weeks of the season the Eagles had lost as many as games as they won and by the time Week 8 was said and done they would fall to 3-5 through the first half of the season. With a bye week on the horizon and road games against Arizona and Houston to cap-off the first half of this season, they are already guaranteed to have a better record no matter what happens. There is also a good chance that they wrap things up with a record of 6-2 or possibly even 7-1. It is all matter of how you view things with this team and you all know that I have my rose-colored glasses on right now.

The biggest difference between this season and 2013 so far has been the health of the offensive line. The same five starters played every game together last season, while this year it has been a revolving door at a number of spots in the front five. The good news is that eventually Philly will have all five of its starters back in the lineup barring any further injuries. LeSean McCoy is still one of the premier running backs in the NFL so it is just a matter of time before he starts piling-up the rushing yards and Nick Foles has simply showed that he is human after his ridiculous run last season.

I reserved my spot on this year's bandwagon just minutes after last season's loss to New Orleans in the playoffs and I have no intention of giving-up my spot. As for the rest of the teams in the NFC East, be careful about drinking the cool-aid for either New York or Dallas. While right now it is standing room only on those bandwagons, something tells me there will be plenty of room on both as the long, grueling NFL regular season wears on!

As far as this week's games in our favorite division in the league, the following is a link my weekly preview and pick for the NFC East as part of an ongoing series for Doc's Sports.

Expert NFL Betting Picks: Weekly NFC East Predictions Week 6

Saturday, October 4, 2014

NFL Week 5 NFC East Preview & Pick

The Eagles may have lost last week but I stayed perfect on the year at 4-0 with my NFC East "Pick of the Week" for Doc's Sports after Philly covered with the 5.5-point spread. The Birds should have won that game by scoring on that final drive, but they probably did not deserve to after the way the offense played for the first 55 minutes of that game.

Much of the blame for the Eagles' offensive no-show last week in San Francisco has to be attributed to a banged-up front five. The offensive line will get a boost this Sunday against St. Louis with the return of right tackle Lane Johnson, who missed the first four games due to a league suspension. The biggest hole remains at center with the loss Jason Kelse to an abdominal injury until mid-November at best. Starting left guard Evan Mathis is also out of the lineup for Sunday so it will still take some time until the Eagles get completely healthy up front.

None the less, Sunday's game against the Rams takes on a world of importance given the recent resurgence of both the Cowboys and the Giants. Both of these bitter division foes stumbled out of the gate this season, but a few wins have turned things around and they now appear ready to seriously challenge Philly for this year's NFC East title.

As part of my ongoing series for Doc's Sports, the following is a link to my Week 5 preview of all the games in the NFC East as well as my "Pick of the Week".

Expert NFL Betting Picks: Weekly NFC East Predictions Week 5

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Online Betting Sites NFL Week 4 Odds Shopper

I just started a new weekly series for Online Betting Sites that takes a look at the top three NFL matchups in terms of the line movement with three of the betting industry's largest Offshore Sportsbooks; 5Dimes, Bovada and BetOnline.

When it comes to wagering on the NFL the Oddsmakers will continue to sharpen the edge on the initial betting odds they release, but you can create your own edge by shopping the market for the best odds on the board. The Eagles opened as 4.5-point road underdogs for Sunday's game against San Francisco. That spread has held steady on Bovada's current board, but you can now get the Birds plus five points with 5Dimes and the spread has actually jumped to 5.5 points on BetOnline's current board. That is why it pays to shop around!

I am going to be a total homer this week by taking the Eagles straight-up so I am going with the very favorable +195 betting odds on 5Dimes current moneyline.

Please checkout this week's article for Online Betting Sites at the link below for the inside scoop on the betting odds for all three NFL games on Week 4's list.

A Look At NFL Betting For Week 4

NFL Week 4 NFC East Preview & Pick

The NFC East gets an early jump this week with the Giants and the Redskins battling it out on Thursday Night Football. New York snapped its two-game skid to start the season with a solid victory over Houston last Sunday, while Washington fell to 1-2 with its loss to the Eagles.

If you read last week’s post for the Week 3 games in the NFC East you would recall that I was very leery about the game against the Redskins because of quarterback Kirk Cousins. True to form he lit-up the Eagles’ secondary for 427 yards passing and three scoring strikes, but it still was not enough to get the win on the road. As an interesting side bar, I read somewhere that DeSean Jackson stated that the only thing he cared about was getting 100 yards receiving and at least one score (and people still wonder why Chip Kelly cut him from the team).

Eli Manning played much better for the Giants last week after tossing four interceptions in his first two games, so Thursday’s game should make for an interesting matchup between two teams trying to avoid that dreaded 1-3 start.

Just about everyone jumped-ship on the Cowboys after their dismal performance against San Francisco, but it is hard for any team in the NFL to win when your quarterback throws three interceptions. Tony Romo has returned to form in his past two games so I guess it was a bit early for me to take Dallas out of the race for the division title. The Cowboys will have a huge test on their hands this Saturday night with a 1-2 New Orleans Saints’ team coming into Big D.

If you think that erasing double-digit deficits to win games is an easy thing to do in the NFL then think again. By going down by 10-points to the Redskins in last week’s 37-34 win, Philadelphia became the first team in the history of the league to trail by 10 points or more in its first three games of the season and still come away with a win.

I am not going to tip my hand on the “NFC East Pick of the Week” for my Week 4 NFC East preview, but I feel pretty confident that I am going to run my record on the year to a perfect 4-0, while the team we all know and love does the exact same thing.

Here is the link to this week’s piece on Doc’s Sports.

Expert NFL Betting Picks: Weekly NFC East Predictions Week 4

Saturday, September 20, 2014

NFL Week 3 NFC East Preview & Pick

I am off to another fast start out of the gate with my weekly picks in the NFC East for Doc's Sports. Last week I went with the OVER on the Eagles vs. Indianapolis game and after another sketchy first half the Birds got in gear with a 30-27 victory that took the total OVER the closing 54-point line. That makes me 2-0 heading into Week 3 of the new NFL season.

My first instinct was to ride the Birds again this Sunday as seven-point favorites against the Redskins, but I am wary of the fact that Kirk Cousins might very well light-up the Eagles' secondary in a game that could easily end up being a bit too close for comfort. I still think that Philly comes away with the straight-up win but it is still playing this game at the Linc which has not provided the home field advantage that you would think it would over the past few seasons.

The Giants have been absolutely terrible in their first two games and I have no confidence in their chances to get a win this Sunday at home against Houston, so I am going with Dallas as my NFC East 'pick of the week' to come out on the winning end of Sunday's game against St. Louis as a 1.5-point underdog on the road. A few sportsbooks currently have this game listed as a PICK, but it really does not matter as I have the Boys winning this game outright. It is not that I think that Dallas is all that good, it is the fact that I know that St. Louis is not all that good especially with quarterback Sam Bradford lost again due to a season-ending injury.

The following is a link to my complete preview and 'pick of the week' for all the games in the NFC East this week as part of an ongoing series for Doc's Sports.

Expert NFL Betting Picks: Weekly NFC East Predictions Week 3

Saturday, September 13, 2014

NFL Week 2 NFC East Preview & Pick

I would be lying if I told you that I was never concerned about the outcome of last week's Eagles's season opener against Jacksonville, but I am being honest when I say that I knew the home-town Birds would play much better in the second half. Chip Kelly made the necessary adjustments and Nick Foles was able to shake-off some early jitters and quickly return to the form that made Philadelphia one of the most potent offenses in the NFL last season.

My biggest takeaway from Kelly's approach to this game is his desire to simply score points. He does know the value of playing defense and somewhere along the line that side of the ball is going to have to win some games as well, but something tells me that Kelly would not mind winning every game in a high-scoring shootout which makes Philadelphia a prime candidate for a wager on the OVER on the total line every time it takes the field.

As far as the rest of the division, it was a pretty dismal start for the other three teams. The biggest surprise was how bad the Giants looked against Detroit. While that game was not one of my official picks, I had this contest going OVER so I still would have cashed-in, but it appears that New York's retooled offense is still a work in progress. As far as Washington and Dallas, things are shaping-up to be a very long season for both of these teams unless they can quickly turn things around as well.

It is time to turn our attention to Week 2 in the NFL, and while I do not want to give my official pick away, it does involve our beloved Birds and it does involve a scoreboard that should be lighting up all night long come this Monday.

The following is a link to this week's NFC East preview and "pick of the week" as part of an ongoing series for Doc's Sports.

Expert NFL Betting Picks: Weekly NFC East Predictions Week 2

Friday, September 12, 2014

NFL Totals Betting: Week 2 Over and Under Predictions

I will be posting my NFC East Week 2 preview and "pick of the week" on Saturday morning as usual, but below is a link to my Week 2 top three plays on the total line which I also release for Doc's Sports on a weekly basis.

If you like to wager on NFL totals you might want to pay attention to my picks after posting a perfect 3-0 record in Week 1. While I would love to spend even more time marveling at this sterling start to the season, I am well aware that in this game you are only as good as your last picks so here ya go....

NFL Totals Betting: Week 2 Over and Under Predictions

Saturday, September 6, 2014

NFL Week 1 NFC East Preview & Pick

After a very successful run in 2013 picking my "game of the week" in the NFC East, Doc's Sports has invited me back to do this year's weekly preview and pick for my favorite division in the pros. Everyone knows what a huge Eagles fan I am, but I also fancy myself as a subject expert for the division they play in. If you were the betting type, you could have made over $2500 on last year's picks with an overall record of 12-5. Enough of living in the past as in this game you are only as good as your last correct play!

Last week I released my predictions for the season and, as expected, I have the Eagles repeating as NFC East champs. That is not a real stretch when you consider that every major sportsbook's futures odds and most football experts are predicting the same thing. Coming into Sunday's season opener, the Birds are the only double-digit favorite on the board in a matchup against Jacksonville. I stayed away from this game only because it is tough to lay that many points against any NFL team in the first week of the season. If I had to make a pick for Sunday, I would probably go with the OVER 52 on the total line. Philadelphia is going to put up more than 30 points because that is what Chip Kelly does and I think that the Jaguars will score enough points to help the total eclipse this number.

I like the Giants to cover with the 5.5 points against Detroit on Monday night, but I do not love that pick. I completely stayed away from the Dallas game since there are just too many question marks with both the Cowboys and the 49ers. That leaves me with Washington at Houston as my NFC East "Pick of the Week". Since I do not want to spoil the surprise here (or jinx myself bragging about it) please check out Doc's at the link below for my complete preview of all the games in the division for opening day as well as my official selection for the Redskins' game.

Expert NFL Betting Picks: Weekly NFC East Predictions Week 1

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Eagles Lincs Fearless 2014 NFL Prognostications (Picks)

The new NFL season gets underway next week which can only mean that it is time for me to release my official picks for the year. Since there is no rear view mirror on this bandwagon I see no sense in looking back at last year's picks in relation to the actual results. Instead, I choose to look forward to a new year in the NFL.

Starting in the AFC:

AFC West

Denver 12-4
San Diego 9-7 (wildcard)
Kansas City 7-9
Oakland 5-11

AFC South

Indianapolis 10-6
Houston 8-8
Tennessee 6-10
Jacksonville 5-11

AFC North

Pittsburgh 10-6
Cincinnati 8-8
Baltimore 6-10
Cleveland 5-11

AFC East

New England 12-4
Miami 9-7 (wildcard)
New York Jets 6-10
Buffalo 6-10

NFC West

Seattle 11-5
San Francisco 9-7 (wildcard)
Arizona 8-8
St. Louis 5-11

NFC South

New Orleans 13-3
Carolina 8-8
Atlanta 7-9
Tampa Bay 6-10

NFC North

Green Bay 12-4
Chicago 9-7 (wildcard)
Detroit 6-10
Minnesota 5-11

NFC East

Philadelphia 11-5
New York 9-7
Washington 7-9
Dallas 6-10

Playoffs- Wildcard Round

Pittsburgh over Miami
Indianapolis over San Diego

Philadelphia over Chicago
Seattle over San Francisco

Playoffs- Divisional Round

New England over Pittsburgh
Denver over Indianapolis

New Orleans over Philadelphia
Green Bay over Seattle

AFC Championship

New England over Denver

NFC Championship

New Orleans over Green Bay

Super Bowl XLIX

New England over New Orleans

And there you have it!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Philadelphia Eagles 2014 Team Preview

I am glad I waited until the Eagles played their third preseason game before posting my official team preview. While I never had any doubts about the Birds ability to score points in Chip Kelly's fast-paced, up-tempo system, I was unimpressed with the defensive effort against both Chicago and New England in their first two preseason games. After watching Philly's D shutdown Pittsburgh on Thursday night, I feel somewhat better heading into the regular season opener against Jacksonville in two weeks.

The Eagles' defense made some solid strides last year in a new system under coordinator Billy Davis; however they were still ranked 29th in the NFL in total yards allowed and dead last in the league at stopping the pass. The Bears and the Patriots both moved the ball through the air with relative ease in those first two games no matter which quarterback was in the game. Both teams proved to be a good test for the revamped Philly secondary, but I am not handing out any passing grades given how they played. Pittsburgh is not nearly the threat passing the ball as the first two teams they played, but the Birds did a great job at forcing Big Ben into some bad throws, which in turn, kept the Steelers off the scoreboard when the first teamers were on the field.

Just like an offense that relies on a set system to put points on the board, Davis's defense needs to develop a system that adds more pressure up front to take pressure off the secondary. It really does not come down to personnel as most people would think. It comes down to everyone doing their job on every play of the game. You may not fully buy into this next statement, but the Eagles do have enough talent to be one of the best defenses in the league. To get to that level it will need to play with much better consistency from week to week.

There have been some wholesale changes in the Eagles' defense since last season so it may take some time for things to gel, but if this team can continue to improve against the pass while enhancing its already solid play at stopping the run, it could mean the difference between another 10-win season and the 12 or 13 wins it will take to secure a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Just for the record, my official pick for how many games the Eagles will win this season is 11 with the final one coming in Week 17 on the road against the Giants to clinch the NFC East Division title. The loss would drop the Giants to 9-7 on the year, which could be enough for a wildcard spot in the playoffs. I have Washington coming in third at 7-9 and Dallas will take a step backwards this season to 6-10.

Back in early July I posted my complete team preview for the Eagles on Cappers Picks so it might be a bit dated, but please check out the link below when you get a chance.

Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl XLIX Betting Lines & 2014 NFL Preview

Thursday, August 21, 2014

New York Giants 2014 Team Preview

New York's 2013 regular season was basically over when the leaves were still on the trees in the northeast after starting the year with six-straight losses while turning the ball over at an alarming rate. Tom Coughlin was able to circle the wagons in his 10th season as head coach to lead his team to a 7-3 record from that point on, but the damage had already been done.

Most sportbooks have listed the Giants' projected wins for this season at eight games, but most betting moneylines tend to favor the UNDER on this play. I personally think that New York has the best chance to push Philadelphia for the NFC East Division title this season and I have gone on record as stating that it will take an Eagles' victory at MetLife Stadium against the G-Men in Week 17 to clinch their second-straight division crown.

The addition of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. with the 12th overall pick in the first round of the draft should breathe new life into a passing game that fell to 19th in the NFL last season in total yards. I still think that Eli Manning is one of the top quarterbacks in the league because of one proven trait; he knows how to win. You can say the same thing about Coughlin considering that he came dangerously close to getting fired more than once and responded accordingly with Super Bowl titles in 2007 and 2011. I just hope that Nick Foles and Chip Kelly have been taking notes on just what it takes to bring home a world title in the NFL.

The following is a link to my complete team preview of the Giants in an article that was posted a few weeks ago on Cappers Picks.

New York Giants Super Bowl XLIX Betting Lines & 2014 NFL Preview

Friday, August 15, 2014

Dallas Cowboys 2014 Team Preview

The Dallas Cowboys are at a serious crossroads heading into a new year of football after three-straight seasons of losing the NFC East title with a loss in Week 17 to finish 8-8. If you recap this team's offseason with some major losses through free agency and some freak injuries to some key defensive personnel, the arrow appears to be pointing downward to a six or seven win season at best.

One sign of this is that the betting public has driven up the futures odds on this team over the past few months. The Cowboys have gone from being second-favorites behind Philadelphia to win the NFC East this season to the bottom of the list with the highest odds of all four teams. I would have to agree with this assessment as I cannot see Dallas staying competitive with the Giants and the Eagles in 2014. There are still some major concerns with Tony Romo's health after undergoing back surgery at the end of last season and the Cowboys are primed to have the worst defense in the league after finishing near the bottom of the NFL last year in almost every major category.

This is an unbiased opinion that is rooted in plain facts. My biased opinion is that whatever team owner Jerry Jones gets out of his Boys this season is what he deserves. He has every right to meddle as much as he wants since he is writing the checks, but it is pretty obvious that he has no business keeping the role of general manager, especially when it comes to personnel decisions. There is no room in the NFL for ridiculously inflated egos when it comes to winning Super Bowl titles. Jones' enormous ego has gotten so big that his team cannot even compete in the watered-down NFC East.

Below is a link to my complete team preview for Dallas as previously posted on Cappers Picks.

Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl XLIX Betting Lines & 2014 NFL Preview

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Washington Redskins 2014 Team Preview

The first full week of the 2014 NFL preseason kicks things off this Thursday night with the Washington Redskins hosting the New England Patriots in a game that is listed as a PICK. Pulling a page out of Chip Kelly's playbook, the Redskins also hosted New England this week for some head-to-head practices against Bill Belichick's squad. Kelly did the same thing last season in his first season as the Eagles' head coach, so Jay Gruden decided to follow suit in his first year at the helm in Washington.

The big story with this team is the future development of third-year quarterback Robert Griffin III. As a rookie. he played lights-out to help lead the Redskins to a 10-6 record after they won just five games the year before. They also captured the NFC East title that year, but made an early exit in the playoffs with a loss to Seattle in a game that RG III ended-up with a serious knee injury.

After getting rushed back into the starting lineup last season, his production dropped way off the map and the Redskins sunk from first back to worst in the NFC East with a record of 3-13. Some experts have this team jumping right back into the division title race this season with a winning record, but I see Washington's projected win total of 7.5 games as being right on the mark with a lean towards the UNDER on a record of 7-10.

The following is a link to my complete team preview of Washington in an article that was previously posted on Cappers Picks.

Washington Redskins Super Bowl XLIX Betting Lines & 2014 NFL Preview

Thursday, July 31, 2014

2014 Odds to Win NFC East with Picks and NFL Predictions

I have been making my way through the NFL the past few weeks by reviewing the futures odds to win each of the eight division races this season as part of a series for Doc's Sports. My journey comes to an end this week with the preview and predictions for the division most near and dear to my heart; the NFC East.

This division has been tagged as the NFC least on more than one occasion over the past three seasons and when 10 wins is good enough to win the title that is going to happen. None the less, this division contains some of the highest profile teams in the league led by America's Team, the Dallas Cowboys.

Jerry Jones's bunch has hardly lived up to this designation with three-straight 8-8 records while losing the last game of the year with the NFC East title on the line. The prospect for a reversal of fortunes this season does not look to good with a defense that has been devastated with a major loss of key personnel through free agency and injuries. This is after this unit finished the 2013 season ranked near the bottom of the NFL in a number of major categories.

The Redskins' ride from worst-to-first-to worst the past three seasons has paved the way for Jay Gruden to take over the reins as head coach. Much of their success this season is pinned to the play of quarterback Robert Griffin III, who has been on his own personal roller-coaster ride in his first two seasons in the league.

The New York Giants added two more Super Bowl titles to their impressive team resume in the past seven seasons but they were a non-factor last year with losses in their first six games. Something tells me that this will not be the case in 2014 as New York works its way back into the mix for a division crown. For the fourth season in a row the NFC title has a good chance of coming down to the final week with Philadelphia on the road against the Giants at MetLife Stadium.

It is probably no big surprise to anyone who reads my blog on a regular basis that I am going with the Eagles has my pick to repeat as division champions. I had them going 8-8 in Chip Kelly's first year at the helm and the Birds exceeded my expectations by two games. I am upping the ante to 11 wins in 2014 against a projected win total of nine games with most major sportsbooks. I have the Eagles getting that crucial 11th win to secure the division title with a victory against the Giants in that Week 17 showdown.

The following is a link to my complete preview and predictions for the NFC East as originally posted on Doc's Sports. Be sure to check back over the next two weeks for individual previews for all four teams in the NFC East.

2014 Odds to Win NFC East with Picks and NFL Predictions

Friday, July 25, 2014

2014 Odds to Win NFC North with Picks and NFL Predictions

My trip through the 2014 NFL division previews and predictions for Doc's Sports takes me to the NFC North this week. The Green Bay Packers have dominated the Black and Blue Division of the NFL for over two decades with a winning record in 18 of their last 22 seasons. The Packers have laid claimed the division title the last three seasons so it is no big surprise that they are heavy favorites to make it four in a row this year.

I would have to agree with the Oddsmakers on that call as long as quarterback Aaron Rodgers remains healthy. Green Bay stumbled to a 2-5-1 record in his absence last season due to injury and the team had to scratch and claw its way to a NFC North title with an overall record of 8-7-1.

The Chicago Bears are expected to give the Packers the most trouble this season after going 8-8 last year. It is the second year of the Marc Trestman era in Chicago and its already potent offensive attack should only get better. The question mark here is can the Bears' defense regain the form that made it one of the most formidable units in the league just a few years back?

Detroit is a franchise that just cannot stand success, most likely because it is not used to achieving it. The Lions have posted just three winning seasons since 1996 and while they had things rolling last season with a 6-3 start, a second-half collapse led to a 7-9 record overall.

Minnesota could only manage four victories last season after going to the playoffs in 2012 with a record of 10-6. The Vikings' projected win total for this season has been set at six games, but that could be a reach with far more questions than answers especially at the quarterback position.

The following is a link to my complete preview of the NFC North as originally posted on Doc's Sports.

2014 Odds to Win NFC North with Picks and NFL Predictions

Friday, July 18, 2014

2014 Odds to Win NFC South with Picks and NFL Predictions

Going back to 2002 when the NFL realigned its format to eight divisions containing four teams each, nobody in the NFC South has been able to claim the division title two years in a row. Carolina won it last year with a better than expected record of 12-4 and New Orleans was second at 11-5. After that things dropped off a cliff with Atlanta and Tampa Bay each winning just four games.

As stunning as the Panthers climb to the top of the division last season might have been after going 7-9 the year before, the biggest shock in the NFC South was the Falcons fall from grace after winning 13 games in 2012. Worst to first runs in this division are not all that uncommon, which adds some solid value to Atlanta's chances for a quick turnaround from last year's misfortunes.

With the exception of the 2012 season when head coach Sean Payton was serving out a year's suspension levied by the NFL, New Orleans has been the most consistent team in the NFC South with a winning record in five of his seven seasons with the team. The Saints are once again favored to win the division title this year and my personal best bet to get it done.

The following is a link to breakdown of all the teams in the NFC South in terms of their chances to win the division title this season as part of my ongoing series for Doc's Sports.

2014 Odds to Win NFC South with Picks and NFL Predictions

Thursday, July 10, 2014

2014 Odds to Win NFC West with Picks and NFL Predictions

The NFC West has been a two-team race the last few seasons between two of the best teams in the NFL. The San Francisco 49ers have gone to three-straight NFC Championship Games and one Super Bowl, while Seattle has been in the playoffs three of the last four seasons and last year's ride ended with a Super Bowl title in a romp over Denver.

The Oddsmakers are giving the Seahawks the slight edge to win the division again this season over their bitter rivals, but nobody is paying any attention to an Arizona team that won 10 games last season. Even St. Louis has shown better consistency over the past two seasons with back-to-back 7-9 campaigns.

The chances that the Cardinals or the Rams upset the applecart this season with a stunning run to the NFC West title are slim at best, but this division is going to far more closer than expected with all four teams staying in the title race heading into the final few weeks of the season.

The following is a link to my preview and predictions for the NFC West in 2014 as part of an ongoing series for Doc's Sports.

2014 Odds to Win NFC West with Picks and NFL Predictions

Friday, July 4, 2014

2014 Odds to Win AFC East with Picks and NFL Predictions

This week I wrap-up my tour of the four divisions in the AFC with my preview and predictions for the AFC East. Picking the winner of this division is bit of a no-brainer considering just how dominant the New England Patriots have been under the guidance of head coach Bill Belichick. He has been at the helm in New England for the past 14 years and while the Patriots went 5-11 way back in 2000 during his first season with the team they have not posted a losing record since then. The most impressive stat besides five Super Bowl appearances and three world titles is 12 seasons of at least 10 wins.

Considering that none of the other three teams in this division have posted a winning season in any of the past three years, its pretty safe to say that New England is going to add another division title to its impressive resume in 2014. The one team that might be able to make some noise in the AFC East is the Miami Dolphins. Much of their success will hinge on the continued development of third-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill. He has already shown signs of becoming a legitimate franchise quarterback in the NFL and this season will be a key test to see if he can keep progressing in the right direction.

The following is a link to my preview and official picks for the AFC East this season as part of an ongoing series for Doc's Sports.

2014 Odds to Win AFC East with Picks and NFL Predictions

Friday, June 27, 2014

2014 Odds to Win AFC North with Picks and NFL Predictions

My continuing series for Doc's Sports covering the 2014 NFL futures odds in terms of each team's chances to win its division takes us to the AFC North this week. This should definitely be one of the most competitive races in the league this season as any of the four teams in this division have a shot at winning the title.

Cincinnati has the best odds to repeat as champions after going 11-5 last season, but both Baltimore and Pittsburgh follow close behind. Even Cleveland is expected to be in the mix this year with a projected win total of 6.5 and moneyline odds that favor the OVER. Division play among these four teams should eventually be the deciding factor as to which one climbs to the top, but to give you a sneak peak on my personal pick, there should be two NFL division winners in Pennsylvania this year!

The following is a link to this week's preview and picks for the AFC North as originally posted on Doc's Sports.

2014 Odds to Win AFC North with Picks and NFL Predictions

Friday, June 20, 2014

2014 Odds to Win AFC South with Picks and NFL Predictions

My trip around the NFL previewing each of the eight division title races for the upcoming 2014 regular season as part of an exclusive feature for Doc's Sports takes me to the AFC South for this week's installment.

The Indianapolis Colts completely dominated this division during Peyton Manning's long and successful run as their starting quarterback and right now it looks like his replacement Andrew Luck is poised to continue this high level on success heading into his third season as the Colts' starting quarterback after leading his team to the division title in 2013 with a record of 11-5.

Houston filled the gap as the top team in the AFC South during a brief two-year hiatus by Indianapolis in 2011 and 2012, but the Texans rapidly plummeted to the bottom of the NFL last season with just two wins after going 12-4 the year before. Many experts believe that this team is poised for a dramatic improvement this season given the overall talent on both sides of the ball, but it remains to be seen if it will be enough for a worst to first finish in this division in 2014.

Tennessee continues to plod along from year to year with a combined record of 36-44 in its last five seasons. The Titans did win nine games in 2011, but they followed that up with a 6-10 record in 2012 and a 7-9 mark last season. Where they go from here is anyone's guess, but any future success will likely hinge on the play of fourth-year quarterback Jake Locker. He has shown flashes of brilliance in his first three seasons in the NFL, but the only thing that matters in this league is wins and losses.

The perennial doormat in the AFC South for the last few years has been the Jacksonville Jaguars (although they did finish third in 2013). The good news about last season was the fact that they doubled their win total from the year before. The bad news is that they only won two games in 2012. Things could get interesting in Jacksonville in 2014 with a whole new cast of characters on offense with the addition of quarterback Blake Bortles and wide receivers' Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson in the first two rounds of this year's NFL Draft.

The following is a link to this week's piece as originally posted on Doc's Sports.

2014 Odds to Win AFC South with Picks and NFL Predictions

Friday, June 13, 2014

2014 Odds to Win AFC West with Picks and NFL Predictions

The start of a new NFL season is still a couple of months away, but this is a perfect time of the year to take a closer look at each of the eight divisions in terms of a team's future odds to win this year's title. The odds for some of the divisions such as the NFC East suggest a wide-open battle between a number of teams, while a few of the other divisions have a prohibitive favorite and three also-rans.

As part of an eight week series produced exclusively for Doc's Sports, I will preview each division as well as provide my predictions for which team ends up on top at the end of the 16-game regular season. This week I am delving into the odds to win for the four teams that make up the AFC West.

2014 Odds to Win AFC West with Picks and NFL Predictions

Friday, June 6, 2014

NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year

The 2014 NFL Draft is in the books so it is time to start the debate over which of newest members of the league will earn top honors as "Rookie of the Year" for their play this upcoming season. This award is broken down between offense and defense so I decided to look at Bovada's futures odds for the top players on the offensive side of the ball given all the hype that some of the quarterbacks in this class received leading up to the actual draft.

Below is a link to an article I recently wrote for Doc's Sports covering the Offensive Rookie of the Year and while none of the Eagles picks have any posted odds, the rival New York Giants added a player that has a good chance at ending up at the top of this list.

NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Props Odds and Betting Picks

Thursday, May 29, 2014

NFL Countdown to Kickoff: Season Win Totals Value Picks

Most of the bigger sportsbooks have released their win total projections for the 2014 NFL regular season as well as the moneyline odds for the "over/under" on a team's specific number. The bad news for Eagles' fans is that Oddsmakers are calling for a slight step backwards with a projected total of nine wins after the team won the NFC East Division title last year with a record of 10-6. The moneyline favors the "under" on nine wins at -130, while the moneyline on the "over" is an even-money 100 on Bovada's current NFL team props betting board.

The good news is that the Eagles still have the highest projected win total in the NFC East. The New York Giants' odds are set at -115 for both the under and over on eight wins. Dallas is also projected to win eight games, but the odds on the under are set at -150 and the odds on the over are +120. Washington is projected to win 7.5 games with a -130 moneyline on the under and an even 100 line on the over.

I went through all 32 NFL teams to come up with my top three value plays as part of my first installment of "NFL Countdown to Kickoff" for Doc's Sports. This is a new weekly article covering various topics in and around the league. The following is a link to this week's piece.

NFL Countdown to Kickoff: Season Win Totals Value Picks

Friday, May 23, 2014

An Early Look at Week 1 NFL Odds in the NFC East

Earlier this week Cantor Gaming in Las Vegas released its opening betting odds for every NFL game through 17 weeks of the regular season. If you take a look at just the Eagles' games on that list, they have been opened as favorites in eight of their games with one game listed as a pick. If you check some of the early odds released for the Birds projected win total for the season the number settles-in at nine.

The Eagles will open the 2014 regular season at home as 11-point favorites over the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars followed-up a 2-14 record in 2012 with a 4-12 mark last season so it is pretty easy to see why the spread is so high.

While I am almost sure that when I do get around to making my official picks for this season that I will pencil this one in as a win, I am not ready to lay 11 points against any NFL team when we are still talking about mini-camps and offseason workouts. What I decided to do was take a brief look at all the games in the NFC East for Week 1 in a piece I wrote for Doc's Sports as well as offer a preliminary pick for one of the four games.

The following is a link to my early look at Week 1 in the NFC East:

An Early Look at Week 1 NFL Odds in the NFC East

Friday, May 16, 2014

Eagles 2014 Draft Wrap-Up

We are about a week removed from the Eagles' recent draft and my overall reaction is that GM Howie Roseman and head coach Chip Kelly did a pretty good job at filling obvious positions of need with the team's seven picks. What I really loved was the way they traded up and down the board throughout the three days of the draft to position themselves to select the players they wanted. This wheeling and dealing mentality is starting to become a trademark of this duo in an effort to build a championship-caliber roster.

Starting with selection of outside linebacker Marcus Smith from Louisville with the 26th overall pick, my only issue with this move was trading out of the 22nd position with Cleveland when Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard was still on the board. There is little doubt that the Eagles needed to improve their pass rush with an outside threat in their 3-4 scheme, but Dennard graded out as the best cornerback in this draft. The main thing that this defense lacks is a meanness and nastiness that was a mainstay of the Jim Johnson days as the team's defensive coordinator and Dennard would have been a solid move towards changing that.

The next two picks of wide receivers' Jordan Matthews from Vanderbilt and Oregon's Josh Huff should be enough to fill the void left by the sudden departure of DeSean Jackson. While neither of these two players have the big-play explosiveness that Jackson brought to the table, they are solid possession type receivers that will give quarterback Nick Foles a few more targets on passing downs. Matthews was considered a first round pick on several expert's mock draft boards and Huff adds value with a proven ability to gain yards after the catch.

The Eagles addressed their need at cornerback with the fourth round selection of Jaylen Watkins from Florida. I like the fact that this guy played some big-time football in the SEC which should allow him to contribute right from Day 1. The Birds also added safety Ed Reynolds from Stanford in the sixth round. He decided to come out early, but draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. had him projected as a potential second round pick if he stayed in school another year.

Kelly added another one of his former Ducks to the roster with the selection of defensive end Taylor Hart in the fifth round. You have to go with the theory that the people close enough to the situation know best, so I will defer to Kelly's belief that Hart can also help bolster his defense's less than stellar pass rush.

The final pick of the draft was Wisconsin defensive lineman Beau Allen, who is projected to add some depth at the nose tackle position.

All-in-all, my official grade for the Eagles' draft would be a solid B. Draft grades and a couple of bucks will get you a coffee at your local Wawa store so do not read too much into my grade one way of the other. What I really like about the direction of this team is the way that Kelly has quickly changed this roster to reflect a team-first mentality that has brought so much success to his buddy in New England, Bill Belichick. All seven of these picks are Kelly-like players that can provide an immediate upgrade to a team that should continue to be on the rise in the NFL after winning the NFC East title in his first season at the helm.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Eagles Draft Recap- Rounds 1 through 3

The first three rounds of this year's NFL Draft are in the books with four more left to go this Saturday afternoon. Even though the Eagles only had one scheduled pick in each round heading into Thursday night's first round, general manager Howie Roseman and head coach Chip Kelly kept fans on the edge of their seats by trading down to add picks only to trade them away again as the draft wore on. The end result was the addition of three new players and an extra pick in Saturday's fourth round. The following is a brief look at the newest additions to the team.

1st Round (26)- OLB Marcus Smith, Louisville

When Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks came off the board at No. 20 of the first round to New Orleans the Eagles decided to move down the board from 22 to 26 through a trade with Cleveland. This added some additional leverage with another second round pick. The Eagles went on the clock at 26 and they selected outside linebacker Marcus Smith from Louisville. While this pick is already being called a "head scratcher" by many, I am beginning to see a method to the madness of both Roseman and Kelly's approach to the college draft.

Since they did not see the value in any of the wide receivers and or defensive backs that were available with their first pick, the Eagles decided to fill a specific need on a defense that still has some major holes to fill. Smith proved to be a very versatile player with the Cardinals the past few seasons and at 6-foot-3 and 25l lbs. his specialty became rushing the passer. Philadelphia already have Trent Cole and Connor Barwin at the outside linebacker position so defensive coordinator Billy Davis will most likely use Smith in some sort of rotation or special package situations. It seems like a first round pick is a high price to pay for a part-time player, but if Smith can bolster a pass rush that put tremendous pressure on an already sub-par defensive secondary, his addition could actually end up being better than adding a top-flight cornerback with this selection.

2nd Round (42)- WR Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt

It was no big secret that the Eagles needed to add a wide receiver to the roster after the sudden departure of DeSean Jackson, but many people (including myself) thought it would be USC's Marqise Lee, who was still on the board when the Eagles were on the clock in the first round. They decided to trade up with Tennessee in the second round with the selection of Vanderbilt's Jordan Matthews. The main reason I like this pick is Matthews' size (6-foot-3, 212 lbs). The Eagles have been lacking a big target downfield with the exception of their tight ends, so this gives them another weapon over the middle and in the red zone. The main knock on Matthews is a lack of explosive speed, but he there is little doubt in his ability to contribute from Day 1 at the next level.

3rd Round (86)- WR Josh Huff, Oregon

Kelly has already shown his affinity for players from the Pac-12 simply because of his recent experience coaching in this conference, but he really hit home with the selection of wide receiver Josh Huff form his old team. This pick should finally firm up the Eagles' receiver corps with another reliable target. At 5-foot-11, 206 lbs, he has the size and proven ability to catch the ball in traffic. He has also excelled in yards after the catch and he is a solid blocker on running plays. Huff has average speed and will need to develop better rout running skills, but he should prove to be an excellent addition as a possession receiver when the Eagles need to move the chains on third down.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

2014 NFL Draft- Handicapping the First Round

The Houston Texans will be on the clock around 8 p.m. this Thursday to kickoff the 2014 NFL Draft. This has been the most anticipated pick in recent memory even though South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is at the top of almost every list ranking this year's prospects.

The Eagles will be on the clock at No. 22 of the Thursday's first round and we are still seeing reports they could go with a cornerback even though many expects have the Birds taking the top wide receiver on the board with that pick. I am still leaning towards Oregon State's Brandin Cooks as their top pick if he is still available. Do not forget about USC's Marqise Lee, who is another Pac-12 wide receiver that has caught head coach Chip Kelly's eye.

I decided to spend my energy the past few days trying to handicap the opening round in terms of a few prop bets that on BetOnline's current betting board for this year's NFL Draft. The following is a link to an article I wrote with my picks for Doc's Sports.

Sports Betting Insights: Handicapping NFL Draft First-Round Prop Bet Odds

Saturday, May 3, 2014

2014 Eagles Draft Preview

We are just days away from the start of this year's NFL Draft and expectations continue to run high over which player the Eagles will select with the 22nd pick of Thursday night's first round. Last year, in Chip Kelly's first draft as Philadelphia's new head coach, the Birds followed the same path as many of their previous drafts by selecting offensive tackle Lane Johnson to fill a huge whole on the line.

Going back to the days of Andy Reid, trying to figure out which player the team was going to select first was a pretty easy task. All you had to do was find the biggest road grader on offense or run stuffer on defense that was still on the board and go from there. Reid made 12 first round picks during his tenure with the team and eight times he selected either an offensive or defensive lineman.

Heading into this year's draft the two biggest areas of need are at wide receiver and cornerback. You have to go back to 2009 to find the last time the Eagles drafted a wide receiver in the first round with the selection of Jeremy Maclin with the 19th overall pick. The last time they took a cornerback in the first round was in 2002 with Lito Sheppard coming off the board as the 26th overall pick.

When you take a look at the multitude of mock drafts that are out there, the general consensus is that Kelly will fill the hole left by the sudden departure of DeSean Jackson by taking a wide receiver. The short list of names on most boards include Brandin Cooks from Oregon State, Odell Beckham Jr. from LSU or Indiana's Cody Latimer. This draft is extremely deep at the receiver position so it would be easy to add three or four more names to that list.

A few of the boards still have the Eagles taking a cornerback first with names such as Kyle Fuller from Virginia Tech or Ohio State's Bradley Roby at the top of that list. I have the Birds taking a defensive back with the 54th overall pick in the second round. Some of the names floating around for this selection include Utah CB Keith McGill or CB/S Lamarcus Joyner from Florida State.

After that it is anyone's guess what the Eagles will do with their remaining four picks over the next five rounds (they do not have a pick in the sixth round). Day 3 of the draft (Saturday) is actually when a team can do the most damage depending on how well its scouting department has done its homework. I would look for the Birds to add both an offensive and defensive lineman as well as another defensive back. When you get to this part of the draft it really does come down to taking the best available players still on the board.

Be sure to heck back in next Saturday as I will be recapping the Eagles first two picks as well as the NFL Draft in general.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Eagles 2014 Regular Season Schedule

The NFL released the 2014 regular season schedule this week and listed below is the Eagles' slate this year.

Philadelphia Eagles vs.
Jacksonville Jaguars
Sunday, September 7, 2014 at 1:00 PM
Lincoln Financial Field

Indianapolis Colts vs.
Philadelphia Eagles
Monday, September 15, 2014 at 8:30 PM
Lucas Oil Stadium

Philadelphia Eagles vs.
Washington Redskins
Sunday, September 21, 2014 at 1:00 PM
Lincoln Financial Field

San Francisco 49ers vs.
Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday, September 28, 2014 at 1:25 PM
Levi's Stadium

Philadelphia Eagles vs.
St. Louis Rams
Sunday, October 5, 2014 at 1:00 PM
Lincoln Financial Field

Philadelphia Eagles vs.
New York Giants
Sunday, October 12, 2014 at 8:30 PM
Lincoln Financial Field

Arizona Cardinals vs.
Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday, October 26, 2014 at 1:05 PM
University Of Phoenix Stadium

Houston Texans vs.
Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday, November 2, 2014 at 12:00 PM
NRG Stadium

Philadelphia Eagles vs.
Carolina Panthers
Monday, November 10, 2014 at 8:30 PM
Lincoln Financial Field

Green Bay Packers vs.
Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday, November 16, 2014 at 12:00 PM
Lambeau Field

Philadelphia Eagles vs.
Tennessee Titans
Sunday, November 23, 2014 at 1:00 PM
Lincoln Financial Field

Dallas Cowboys vs.
Philadelphia Eagles
Thursday, November 27, 2014 at 3:30 PM
AT&T Stadium

Philadelphia Eagles vs.
Seattle Seahawks
Sunday, December 7, 2014 at 4:25 PM
Lincoln Financial Field

Philadelphia Eagles vs.
Dallas Cowboys
Sunday, December 14, 2014 at 8:30 PM
Lincoln Financial Field

Washington Redskins vs.
Philadelphia Eagles
Saturday, December 20, 2014 at 4:30 PM
Fedex Field

New York Giants vs.
Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday, December 28, 2014 at 1:00 PM
MetLife Stadium

The one thing about this schedule that jumps out for me five prime time games including a huge Thanksgiving Day showdown against Dallas in Week 13. The Eagles get a bye in Week 7 after the first game against the Giants on October 12 which is another prime time matchup on Sunday Night Football.

Philadelphia does not have any Thursday night games this season, but it will play two Sunday night games and two on Monday Night Football. The Eagles' opponents outside the division include games against the AFC South, which should be a plus. That will be countered with games against the NFC West, which could be the most competitive division in the entire league. The remaining two games will be tough as well with Carolina coming to town in Week 10 followed by a Week 11 trip to Lambeau Field to face Green Bay.

Las Vegas has already opened the Birds as 11-point home favorites for the season opener against Jacksonville. Bovada's latest NFL futures has Philadelphia listed at 12/1 odds to win the NFC this season with four other teams having better odds (Saints, Packers, 49ers and Seahawks). When it comes to winning the Super Bowl, the Eagles have been listed as moderate 22/1 longshots.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Eagles' First Round Mock Draft Update-April 18

We are less than three weeks away from the start of this year's NFL college draft and the burning question for Eagles' fans is which player will be selected when Commissioner Roger Goodell puts Philadelphia on the clock with the 22nd overall pick in the first round.

There is always a possibility that Philadelphia tries to trade-up for a higher pick, but for the purpose of this update I have combed through the most reliable mock drafts out there in an effort to come up with a consensus as to the Eagles' probable pick at their current spot in the order. The overall feeling is that they will pull the trigger on a wide receiver given the sudden departure of DeSean Jackson, but there is a small minority of experts that have the Birds going for a cornerback in the opening round.

Starting with the top two NFL Draft gurus, Mel Kiper Jr. has the Eagles selecting Florida State wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin while Todd Mcshay is going with USC receiver Marqise Lee. I personally do not think Lee will still be on the board when the Eagles go on the clock at No. 22 since he is ranked by many experts as the second or third best receiver in this year's draft class.

Benjamin is a very attractive prospect at 6-foot-5, 240 lbs. You might have to go all the way back to the 1970's to the days of Harold Carmichael to find a receiver with that kind of size playing for the Birds. This could be just the weapon the Eagles need to complement Chip Kelly's big play offense. What you lose in Jackson's pure speed would be made up with a huge target inside the Red Zone.

Walters Football is going with Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks as the Eagles' first round pick. This would make all the sense in the world given Kelly's ties to the Pac-12 from his days at Oregon. Cooks would almost be an exact replacement for Jackson at 5-foot-10, 189 lbs. with blazing 4.33 speed in the 40 yard dash.

Draft Scouts uses a panel of experts for their mock draft board and while the consensus includes names such Lee, Cooks and LSU receiver Odell Beckham Jr., a few members of the panel have Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby going to the Eagles with the 22nd overall pick. It remains fairly obvious that this position is another pressing need for this team so there is some logic behind this pick. He is rated in the top five at his position with a solid combination of size (5-foot-11, 195 lbs.) and speed (4.39 40). There are a few past off the field issues with Roby that could raise some character concerns, but he remains a solid prospect to bolster a weak Eagles' secondary.

Going back to Beckham Jr. as a first round option, he has decent size at 5-foot-11 but he lacks the blazing speed that some of the other top prospects at the receiver position possess. If both Lee and Cooks are off the board at No. 22 then the former Tiger could fit the bill as Philly's top pick.

Sports Illustrated also has Roby going to the Eagles at No. 1 and some of the other players that the team has shown interest in include wide receiver Brandon Coleman from Rutgers, UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr and Oklahoma cornerback Aaron Colvin. All three of these players have had individual workouts and/or personal visits in the past few weeks.

After carefully analyzing all of these mock drafts as well as some opinions from other NFL draft experts, I am leaning towards Benjamin as the Eagles' pick in Round 1. I think Kelly is salivating at the opportunity to add a big wide receiver to mix. Everyone knows that speed kills, but a huge target that can win the battle for jump balls tend to score a ton of points.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Eagles 2014 Preseason Schedule

We will still have to wait a few more weeks until the NFL releases this year's regular season schedule, but the opponents for the Eagles' four preseason games have been set. Three of the four contests will feature some of the usual suspects that the Birds traditionally face in their tune-up games including New England and the New York Jets from the AFC East.

Philadelphia's preseason will get underway against Chicago with a trip to Soldier Field in Week 1. The last time these two got together was last December at Lincoln Financial Field in Week 16 of the regular season and the Eagles put on a clinic in how the game is supposed to be played with their most dominant victory of the 2013 season. When the smoke cleared the Birds ended-up on top 54-11.

Last year, Eagles' head coach Chip Kelly joined forces with New England's Bill Belichick to stage a series of inter-squad practices before both teams opened the preseason at the Linc. Look for the same arrangement this August as the two teams will mots likely get together for a few days before a Week 2 tilt in Foxboro this time around.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back on the schedule after a one-year hiatus in the Eagles' preseason home opener at the Linc. The third week of preseason games is traditionally the final dress rehearsal in which the starters tend to play deeper into the second half. The Eagles will be going up against a Steelers' team that has missed the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2000.

The Jets are the lone staple on the Birds' preseason schedule. This year's annual clash will take place in Philadelphia in the final outing before the games start counting for real the first weekend in September.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Eagles Offseason Report- Drafting a Wide Receiver

In the wake of the whole DeSean Jackson debacle the one thing that is clear about this situation is that the Eagles will be looking to add a wide receiver in next month's college draft. The good news is that this year's draft is deep with quality receivers, but it remains to be seen which ones will still be available when the Birds go on the clock with the 22nd overall pick in the first round.

Clemson's Sammy Watkins is the top rated receiver in this year's draft class so unless the Eagles trade up into one of the top five picks he is going elsewhere. A couple of players that will hopefully be around when they do pick are Brandin Cooks from Oregon State and Marquise Lee from USC. The main reason I am pinpointing these two wide receivers is the fact that they both played in the Pac-12 which is head coach Chip Kelly's old stomping ground. He has already proven to have an affinity towards players from his old conference going back to his days at Oregon.

Cooks is cut in the same mold as Jackson at 5-foot-10 and 189 lbs. and he has demonstrated excellent hands to go along with 4.33 speed in the 40-yard dash. He caught 128 passes last season for 1,730 yards and 16 touchdowns. He is also on some other teams' radar as a top pick so the Eagles may still have to move up to board if they want to get him.

Lee has a bit more size at just under six foot while carrying 192 lbs. on his frame. While he does not have the same speed as Cooks, he has gained a reputation as being a playmaker during his career at Southern Cal. He is more athletic than Cooks and he can fill a number of roles in Kelly's dynamic offense including catching the ball over the middle and in tight traffic.

Either of these two players could be an excellent replacement for Jackson as a bona fide starter from Day 1. If you look deeper down the list of receivers you will find names such as Davante Adams from Fresno St, Donte Moncrief from Mississippi and Allen Robinson from Penn State. As I mentioned before, this draft is deep at this position so the Eagles should be able to add a player to their arsenal that will make everyone forget about the skills (and aggravation) that Jackson brought to the table.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Eagles Offseason Report- DeSean Jackson Kicked to the Curb

The Eagles' offseason was pretty much flying under the radar with the exception of the signing of running back Darren Sproles, but that all changed this week with the team's decision to part ways with wide receiver DeSean Jackson by giving him his outright release with no compensation in return.

Rumors had been circling for weeks concerning a falling out between Jackson and head coach Chip Kelly. It was common knowledge that the team had been actively seeking a trade for the six-year vet who had earned Pro Bowl honors three times during the course of his career. Apparently a report that linked Jackson to a possible gang affiliation in his home town of Los Angeles was the tipping point that pushed owner Jeff Lurie into pulling the plug on one of his team's most electrifying players.

Anyone who read my previous post on this situation knows how I feel about Jackson. There is no denying that he is one of the top playmakers in the NFL, but so was Terrell Owens. I have never been a big fan of players that consistently put their needs above or at the expense of the team. Their never ending pattern of disruptive behavior when things do not go their way are not worth the headache no matter how much they bring to the table with their play on the field.

I still have vivid memories of the TO circus that featured videos of him doing sit-ups and push-ups in his New Jersey driveway instead of trying to help the Birds get back to the Super Bowl in 2005. Jackson was not nearly as flamboyant with his off-field shenanigans, but even his most die-hard fans would have to admit that he was filled with attitude and not always in a good way. To me, he was a major problem waiting to happen and something else tells me that this is not the end of the story when it comes to his alleged ties to gang members.

As far as replacing Jackson in Kelly's dynamic offense the Eagles are not nearly as bad off as some fans may think. They will get Jeremy Maclin back after missing the entire 2013 season rehabbing a knee injury and this year's college draft is loaded with some top-notch receivers that should still be on the board when Philly goes on the clock with the 22nd overall pick. The old adage that that 'there is no I in team' is alive and well in Chip Kelly's regime and that is a good thing. Just ask New England fans how that attitude has worked out for that franchise.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Are DeSean Jackson's Days in Philly Over?

It appears that DeSean Jackson will be playing somewhere else when the 2014 NFL regular season gets underway this upcoming September. In what has become an extremely terse situation between the big play wide receiver and the Eagles' front office, the latest report out of South Philly suggests that the two parties will part ways through a trade or an outright release.

Never known as a team player, Jackson started down the wrong road with his employers at the end of last season when he suggested that his current contract should be renegotiated after putting up the best numbers in his six-year career. Just a few years back he started to paint the picture that he was just another one of those prima donna wide receivers that never really cared that there is no I in team. He staged a brief holdout before the start of the 2011 season and then turned in a very mediocre effort with just four touchdown catches in 15 games. He eventually got paid, but he also branded himself as just another mercenary in the NFL.

There is no doubt that Jackson is one of the most electrifying players in the game with his blazing speed and big play capabilities, but just like TO before him, the added drama he brings to the table is just not worth effort of keeping him happy with a boat load of cash. Head coach Chip Kelly continues to build on the team concept he instilled in his first season in the NFL and keeping Jackson around after this latest disruption would only cause his program to take a step backwards with a franchise that is finally moving in the right direction. His up tempo, high-octane offense is predicated on having playmakers (plural). Jackson was a big part of that group, but definitely not the biggest.

It is a shame that the Birds will most likely get nothing in return for Jackson through a trade since it looks more and more that he will simply be cut, but I love the fact that Kelly is taking the bull by the horn by eliminating a problem that will just rear its ugly head somewhere down the road.