This Sunday's matchup between the Redskins and Eagles is a prime case of two teams on drastically different paths.
Washington was supposed to struggle mightily, with Philadelphia finally on the right track after having too many new faces in town for 2011 to be a success.
In reality, the Redskins are in a three-way tie for the NFC East crown while the rival Eagles are firmly cemented in the division cellar with only a spoiler role to play for.
In what is all but assured to be the final game at Lincoln Financial Field coached by Andy Reid, here are three bold predictions to look for.
1) The Redskins will hold LeSean McCoy to under 75 yards rushing.
Washington currently has the NFL's sixth ranked rushing defense, holding opposing teams to just 95.6 yards per game so far. LeSean McCoy hasn't played in four weeks and while medically cleared from his concussion, I'm not sure I buy into a run-heavy game plan when you're playing for pride.
With just two games left before the focus on 2013 begins, the Eagles need all the time they can get to continue to evaluate their quarterback situation.
Andy Reid's obsession with not using the running backs he has to their full potential, McCoy won't see as many touches due to Washington's 30th ranked pass defense.
This is great news for offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg to dial up a heavy pass attack, even though it didn't work when the teams met in Week 11. I do believe McCoy will be effective, but it will come by way of the screen game rather than rushing yards.
2) The Eagles will not lose possession via fumble.
I'm not crazy, I swear. The Eagles fumbled the ball away four times vs. the Bengals and turnover woes are nothing new. In 2012, Philadelphia has fumbled 22 times, losing 13. To put that in perspective, the 2010 and 2011 campaigns saw the Eagles fumble 25 times (losing 13) combined.
That said, I do believe that this is the week the streak ends and a big reason is because the prime cause of those fumbles (Bryce Brown) will be on the bench more often than not with the return of LeSean McCoy.
Washington is well-equipped to test this prediction with linebackers Perry Riley and London Fletcher roaming, and the Redskins as a unit have a +13 turnover ratio. It will be very interesting to see how this particular prediction plays out, as the law of averages has to come into play someday for Philadelphia.
3) Redskins win; Andy Reid still receives a standing ovation.
I'm doubtful Philadelphia's defense can contain Robert Griffin III and I expect him to pick up right where he left off in Week 11 (14-of-15 for 200 yards and four touchdowns.) In turn, the Philadelphia Eagles drop to 4-11 and with a Week 17 win would tie their 1999 record of 5-11 (coincidentally, Andy Reid's first season as Head Coach) at best.
In a year where Jeffrey Lurie, owner of the Eagles, implied that anything below last year's record (8-8) would result in a coaching change, that's well below the minimum requirement.
Although the team's fan base has been scrutinized in the past for behavior, you won't see that on Sunday. Win or lose, Andy Reid will receive a standing ovation for giving the past 14 years of his time to this city, even though the ultimate goal eluded him. For one day, it won't matter.