NFL Picks, Week 15: Part I - Thursday Night Football, Eagles vs. Bengals

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Cincinnati @ Philadelphia:

The following is a candidate for least likely sentence of the year:

"What a play by quarterback Nick Foles, throwing a game winning touchdown pass to end the Eagles' 8-game losing streak."

Whoa, er, more like Woe. And it could have been worse. Philly's four wins are by a total of 6 points. That's ultimately a meaningless statistic, but it illustrates just how far from expectations this team has fallen. They've blown out no one. They've outclassed no one. They are officially the anti-Seahawks.

The Eagles were built for this season, in a large part, through free agency (also known as players other teams didn't want to pay anymore), and they have assembled talent based upon reputation and not by their fit to a scheme (Nnamdi, I'm looking at you). That problem has been exacerbated by slow developing investments through the draft, which haven't worked out either by way of the depth chart, injury or ineffectiveness.

Now, huzzah for Bryce Brown, and Foles did get you back in the win column. Vinny Curry hasn't done a whole lot yet (though with Jason Babin now gone he'll get his chance) and while many Seahawks fans lamented missing on Mychal Kendricks and instead got Bobby Wagner, the former has played at an unnatural spot - strongside linebacker - for much of the year and has racked up way too many missed tackles as the year has worn on. He's back at the weakside now, but it's probably safe to say that expectations for Kendricks, in general, were a little higher prior to the season. Finally, though he's now starting and has a total of four sacks to his name, with the underwhelming season the Eagles have had, I haven't heard the name Fletcher Cox all year either. The Eagles appear to be finally favoring a draft-oriented youth movement on their roster, but it's too little too late.

It's possible I'm biased and jaded, and I look fondly upon the results of the much-maligned process my Seahawks have employed to build the roster into what it is, but I take significant pride in the fact that it's the antithesis of what the much ballyhooed "dream team" did before falling squarely on their ass. They may switch things up now with Foles, Cox, and company, but they aren't there quite yet.

So maybe I'm being unfair to the Eagles, but Cincinnati's my choice. PICK: BENGALS

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