Redskins-Eagles (and Cowboys, and Giants) — Who ya got?

December 21, 2012

Starting off Friday morning with picks is perfectly logical. But this week, there’s no point in limiting it to just the Redskins’ game with the Eagles. I’d bet 95 percent of readers here would take Washington, and there aren’t many logical arguments for Philadelphia at this point.

However, Week 16 is not just about what the Redskins do in Philly. With the three-way tie atop the NFC East at 8-6, it’s also about what the Cowboys do at home against the Saints, and what the Giants do in Baltimore.

So this morning’s poll and call for picks involves all three games. How does each team fare, and where will things stand heading into the final week of the regular season?

[poll goes here]

I have two big beliefs about the NFL. One is that there’s a sense of poetry about it. Sometimes the results defy reason because they have to, because things would only be right if they occurred a certain way. The Redskins and the Cowboys playing in Week 17 with the division title up for grabs fits that bill. That faceoff is pretty likely to happen, barring a Giants win and Redskins and Cowboys losses this week, and it would be exciting if it did.

The second big belief, though, is that the more we think we know about the NFL, the less we really do. Right when we think the Redskins are rolling, and there’s no way they could lose to these Eagles, we get a surprise. Right when we think it’s gonna take 10-6 to win the NFC East, we find out that 9-7 will still get it done. I’ll cast my poll vote for all three losing — not because I think the Eagles, Saints or Ravens are better necessarily, but because there’s a sense of poetry, and of expecting the unexpected if it went that way.

Plus, the Redskins have already won five in a row. What are the chances they continue that to seven straight by the end of the regular season, plus four more in the postseason? Seems more realistic to expect them to stumble somewhere along the way. Might as well get it out of the way now. If the Cowboys and Giants stumble too, the combination of angst plus excitement will have the city at fever pitch by the time Redskins-Cowboys kicks off.

So my picks are that LeSean McCoy’s return sparks the Eagles in a game they’d be better off losing, Drew Brees carves up Dallas’s defense and Jim Caldwell, with the Ravens’ season slipping away, gives Ray Rice 25 carries and he responds with a huge game to sink the Giants. But what the heck do I know?

What are your picks for the weekend’s NFC East tussles? Creativity, and your thoughts on all three games, are encouraged.

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Mark Maske · December 20, 2012