Jim Sez NFC East Preview

PHILADELPHIA AND DALLAS SET FOR QUITE A RACE IN THE NFC EAST THIS SEASON

The Philadelphia Eagles begin 2015 Preseason action Sunday afternoon against the Indianapolis Colts. This could be a make or break season for the Chip Kelly regime. He's won enough games to make the Eagles a contender. But, there's so much turmoil behind the scenes about how he treats players, and about whether or not a college gimmick system can win BIG games that his leash is still very short. And...any team that brings in Sam Bradford as the "answer" to their quarterback question might need to have its head examined!

Let's run JIM HURLEY'S key indicator stats to see how the Eagles will stack up against the Dallas Cowboys and the rest of the NFC East this season. This is the fifth of eight NFL divisional previews here in the NOTEBOOK. We'll finish off the last three when exhibition action resumes this coming Thursday.

2014 NFC EAST DIVISION STANDINGS
Dallas: 12-4 (+6 turnovers, #31 rated schedule)
Philadelphia: 10-6 (-8 turnovers, #24 rated schedule)
NY Giants: 6-10 (-3 turnovers, #23 rated schedule)
Washington: 4-12 (-12 turnovers, #18 rated schedule)
Notebook: This group had it fairly easy last season in terms of overall schedule...so you can argue that the top three weren't as good as their records. Philadelphia, in particular, could have been in real trouble turnover-wise if they faced a lot of better defenses. They hope Bradford will fix that...but he's also mistake-prone when pressured! There's symmetry in the won-lost records above, which tell you the division played .500 ball for the season. A soft group when you adjust for context. So, we may have a great race between the Eagles and Cowboys...but it won't be epic in terms of overall team quality.

2014 YARDS-PER-PLAY
Dallas: 6.1 on offense, 5.8 on defense
Philadelphia: 5.6 on offense, 5.4 on defense
Washington: 5.7 on offense, 5.9 on defense
NY Giants: 5.4 on offense, 6.0 on defense
Notebook: Wow...some really soft defenses! Nobody in the whole AFC was as bad as 5.8. Yet, we have three teams in this one division that were 5.8 or worse. Dallas looked awful on defense all season long...yet were second best because Washington and NYG couldn't stop anybody either. When you remember that Dallas played the #31 schedule...that's just pathetic. Preseason media buzz has Dallas optimistic about their defense in 2015...which makes them think they have a shot at the Super Bowl. Do they have a firm grasp of how BAD last year really was? For Eagles fans...good news that you may have the best defense in the division.

2014 THIRD DOWN CONVERSIONS
NY Giants: 43% on offense, 36% on defense
Philadelphia: 44% on offense, 38% on defense
Dallas: 47% on offense, 44% on defense
Washington: 32% on offense, 43% on defense
Notebook: Good offensive marks except for pathetic Washington...though some of that was composite shine comes from playing in a weak defensive division. Philadelphia's strength is moving the chains with Kelly's system. Tony Romo of Dallas really emphasized fundamentals last season...which helped in this category and turnover differential. Even veteran Eli Manning shows up well in what was otherwise a disastrous Giants season (by recent standards). An area where the division can be proud except for the offensively confused Redskins.

2015 PROJECTED WIN TOTALS IN LAS VEGAS
Dallas: 9.5
Philadelphia: 9
NY Giants: 8.5
Washington: 6
You can see that the market was paying attention to those bad defensive numbers! Nobody's projected to reach 10 wins...though Dallas and Philly are within arm's reach. Obviously somebody's going to win the division. Figure out who that is and the Over for their team victory count will follow easily. Are the Giants getting too much respect? They sure didn't show any electricity in their Preseason opener in Cincinnati. Seattle and Green Bay are still seen as the class of the NFC (win projections near 11), so the market isn't buying Dallas or Philadelphia as a real threat just yet. A lot of work to do for this division to regain its past glory.

Maybe the Eagles will give everyone something to think about Sunday. They're certainly getting market respect in their home opener as a favorite of larger than a field goal (high for August). You can get JIM HURLEY'S play in this game plus Sunday baseball right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453 Sunday before the first games start or Monday-Friday during normal business hours.

We head back to baseball for a couple of days beginning Monday. These pennant races are something else! Here's the upcoming schedule that includes our final three divisional previews and then some NFL TV matchups next weekend...

Monday: MLB Series Preview...SF Giants at St. Louis Cardinals
Tuesday: MLB Series Preview...NY Mets at Baltimore Orioles
Wednesday-Thursday: AFC North Preview to get you ready for Cleveland hosting Buffalo
Friday: AFC West Preview to get you ready for Kansas City hosting Seattle
Saturday: NFC South Preview to get you ready for New Orleans hosting New England
Sunday: NFL TV Preview...St. Louis Rams at Tennessee Titans
Monday August 24: NFL TV Preview...Cincinnati Bengals at Tampa Bay Bucs

Keep printing out these divisional previews. You'll definitely want to refer to them during the Week Three dress rehearsals that will be here shortly. Obviously they'll help with Regular Season Win propositions in Las Vegas and early season NFL as well.

We provide helpful information here in the NOTEBOOK...and BIG, JUICY WINNERS are always just a few clicks away with JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK!

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