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2018

NFC East

Betting Preview

Odds to Win

The last time someone won the NFC East in back-to-back seasons was 2004. That means betting on the Eagles to win it again is far from a guarantee. That was seen last year when the Cowboys were favored after a 13-win season and flopped. Now the Eagles take that mantle coming in as Super Bowl Champions.

 

Odds to win NFC East 

Courtesy of 5dimes (mid August)

Philadelphia Eagles -150 (field wins +130)

Dallas Cowboys +385

New York Giants +530

Washington Redskins +875

Can anyone stop the Philadelphia Eagles (over/under 10)? Well, it’s the NFL, so probably. That said, the Eagles got better from last year’s title-winning season with the only question being the status of quarterback Carson Wentz. He should be ready for the opener, but can he be as effective? The Eagles will likely move him along slowly with a bigger focus on the running game that features Jay Ajayi and a few others. Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz are the big names in the receiving game, while Mike Wallace could produce more than Torrey Smith did. It’s the same situation on defense as one of the best groups got better with Michael Bennett now helping on the line. The only way Philly is worse is if the offense doesn’t work under a hesitant Wentz and that’s a hard thing to bet against. 

At one point, the Dallas Cowboys (over/under 8.5) looked headed for a dynasty between Dak Preskott and Ezekiel Elliott. Instead, they fell back to earth last season, as Prescott couldn’t match his production as a rookie. Elliott will still rack up numbers behind a stout offensive line, but the receiving game is an unknown. Terrance Williams and Allen Hurns are the expected top options and Dallas still doesn’t know who will replace Jason Witten as a reliable third-down option. The defense has to make a jump, but they didn’t add much in the offseason and it’s a lot to ask of Sean Lee to stay healthy for 16 games, as he’s the only way they can be relevant.

It wasn’t long ago that the New York Giants (over/under 7.5) had one of the best defenses in the league to go with a competent Eli Manning. Now, there’s no telling what will happen with new head coach Pat Shurmur. Manning should be better if his receivers can stay healthy, namely Odell Beckham and Sterling Shepard. Throw in stud rookie Saquon Barkley and another year for Evan Engram and Manning has some of the best talent in the league. The question is whether the line can hold up with left tackle Nate Solder now in the mix. The defense added linebacker Alec Ogletree and should be better all around after dropping from second to 24th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA stat. If they can jump back into the top half defensively, that will keep them competitive and that’s without help from the offense. 

Once again, the Washington Redskins (over/under 7) have the worst odds to win the division. The change from Kirk Cousins to Alex Smith may not lead to improvement and the preseason ACL injury to running back Derrius Guice added to the issues. The offensive line is subpar and that won’t help expected top RB Samaje Perine, while Jamison Crowder and Josh Doctson are the top receivers. Unless Smith can repeat what he did for the Chiefs last season, the offense could be in trouble. The defense was surprisingly good last year under coordinator Greg Manusky, although matching that will be tough even if newcomers Pernell McPhee, Zach Brown and Orlando Scandrick can all come in and perform. To be competitive, the defense has to be a top-10 group because the offense could be in the bottom 10.

The same team never wins this division so that’s the best reason not to take the Eagles. Yet, they are the best team on both sides of the ball. The Cowboys need a better defense, the Giants need more offensive consistency and the Redskins need an amazing season from Alex Smith. The underdog bet would be to roll with the Giants, but that's if you want to back Eli Manning at this point in his career.

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