The battle for the NFC East title heats up this week with Philadelphia playing host to Detroit at the Linc on Sunday afternoon followed by a Monday night battle between Dallas and Chicago. These are crucial games for all four teams considering that the Eagles and Dallas are tied at 7-5 and the Lions (7-5) lead over the Bears (6-6) in the NFC North is just one game.
The key to the Eagles' chances to extend their current winning streak to five games will be once again jumping out to an early lead. They have been able to do this in their last four games and, despite the fact that the defense tried to make things a bit too interesting against both Washington and Arizona, the net result has been a win. Detroit is a team that can put points on the board in a hurry, but it also has a tendency to shoot itself in the foot with costly turnovers, penalties and mistakes. This trend could be heightened if it is forced to play from behind on the road.
The other key is the play of Nick Foles. During this four-game run he has thrown for 1,169 yards and 13 touchdowns while completing an impressive 67.9 percent of his 106 attempts. Even more impressive is the fact that he has put the ball up 196 times this season and has yet to be intercepted. I would be thrilled to see Philadelphia go on and win the division at the expense of the Cowboys, but unless it ends up winning the Super Bowl, the biggest accomplishment in Chip Kelly's first season at the helm will still be the discovery of a franchise quarterback that can successfully run his complex offensive scheme. I think that even the most skeptical Eagles' fan out there would have to agree that the second-year gunslinger out of the University of Arizona is the real deal.
As far as which team will win on Sunday, I have to go with the Birds in what is actually a homer call. They have a huge advantage playing this game at home against a dome team. Weather is expected to be a factor with rain and snow in the forecast, but even if nothing is falling from the sky, the December winds at the Linc could reek havoc on a Lions' offense that relies heavily on the pass. If the Eagles' secondary can somehow contain Calvin Johnson (nobody stops him) and if they can get another huge effort from LeSean McCoy and a rushing attack that is ranked second in the NFL in yards per game (146.8) the winning streak reaches five.
For my complete preview of all the games in the NFC East in Week 14 as well as my 'pick of the week' follow to link below to Doc's Sports.
NFC East Weekly NFL Betting Picks: Week 14