The Philadelphia Eagles’ win over the Dallas Cowboys last week felt like it decided the NFC East. But there’s just one problem.
The Eagles aren’t a very good team and even beating the 4-11 New York Giants to clinch the East can’t be taken for granted. Though, fairly, the Cowboys beating the 3-12 Washington Redskins isn’t a lock either.
Welcome to the 2019 NFC East.
The Eagles’ lone highlight in weeks was that ugly win over the Cowboys. Before that, they’d lost to the Dolphins, needed overtime at home to beat the Giants and barely beat the Redskins. It’s a team that has been struggling for a long time. Blame it on injuries or whatever else, but Philadelphia’s only strength is playing in the worst division in football.
The Giants aren’t good either, but rookie quarterback Daniel Jones has played well late in the season. He came back from injury last week and threw five touchdowns in an overtime win against the Redskins. Beating up Washington’s defense isn’t that hard, but it’s not like the Eagles are the 2015 Broncos either.
The winner of the NFC East will get the No. 4 seed and host a playoff game against the loser of Sunday night’s San Francisco 49ers-Seattle Seahawks game. Neither NFC East team really deserves a spot, but those are the rules. If the Eagles win, they’re division champs. If the Eagles lose and the Cowboys win, Dallas gets the spot. If both teams lose, the Eagles back into the title.
I can’t trust the Eagles to take care of business. I think the Giants will cover the 4.5 points and win outright. It would be the most fitting end to the NFC East’s season.
Here are the rest of the against-the-spread picks for Week 17, with odds from BetMGM:
Titans (-3.5) over Texans: I still can’t believe the Texans will play their starters the whole game, but who knows. It would be a dumb decision. My guess is Bill O’Brien pulls them, maybe early, and then the Titans walk to the No. 6 seed.
Bengals (+2.5) over Browns: The Browns seem like a team that has wanted to get away from each other for many weeks. I’m not sure they have one decent effort left, even against a bad Bengals team.
Bears (-3) over Vikings: The Vikings are locked into the No. 6 seed. They have no reason to play any key starters.
Colts (-3.5) over Jaguars: The Colts seem determined to finish the season on a good note. An 8-8 record isn’t something great but it’s something. I think they’ll play hard against a bad Jaguars team.
Falcons (+1) over Buccaneers: Did you know the Falcons are 5-2 in the second half of the season? That’s the reason coach Dan Quinn and GM Thomas Dimitroff are keeping their jobs. I think they want to end the season on a positive note.
Redskins (+11) over Cowboys: I think Dallas wins and ends up backing into the NFC East title. But nothing comes easy for any team in this division, and it’ll be a close game.
Saints (-13) over Panthers: Carolina gave up long ago. On another note, I just don’t get why the Saints would consider Antonio Brown. It’s not going to be any different or better than it was in Pittsburgh, Oakland or New England.
Ravens (+2) over Steelers: The Ravens are sitting starters, but this Steelers offense has fallen apart. It has been a tough end to a season in which Pittsburgh showed a lot of resilience.
Bills (-1) over Jets: The Bills have nothing to play for, but the Jets aren’t very good.
Patriots (-16) over Dolphins: New England knows what’s on the line. A win and they’re the No. 2 seed, with a week off. They won’t be messing around on Sunday.
Packers (-12.5) over Lions: A win and the Packers get a bye, with a chance at the No. 1 seed. For any teams that need the Lions to win to improve seeding, it’s best to not get your hopes up.
Chiefs (-8) over Chargers: The Chiefs still theoretically could move up to No. 2 in the AFC or down to No. 4, so they’ll be playing as usual.
Cardinals (+7.5) over Rams: The Cardinals haven’t packed it in. I wonder if the Rams will. It’s hard to go from a Super Bowl season to playing for pride in Week 17.
Raiders (+3.5) over Broncos: The Broncos have played better, but I’ll still figure the Raiders to barely keep it within a field goal.
49ers (-3) over Seahawks: Here’s a weird scenario: Are the Seahawks better off losing? If they lose, they’ll get the bumbling NFC East champ, albeit on the road. Win and they likely face the Vikings, who are a much better team than either NFC East contender. That’s not why I’m picking the 49ers. I think San Francisco is a better team and the Seahawks’ running back injuries really affect what they want to do. But hopefully we get a classic game.
Last week: 8-7-1
Season to date: 112-124-4
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