NFL Betting Preview
Odds to Win
For the second straight year, the NFC East was won by the unlikeliest of teams. Washington defied expectations (and +1600 odds) to win the division by two Games. Meanwhile, the Cowboys, who were the favorite, finished last with Four wins. Maybe partly because of how random the division has been, there isn’t a hands-down favorite to take the title in 2016. Even the Redskins, who probably have a better overall team than a year ago, have the third-best odds.
Odds to win NFC East
courtesy of 5Dimes
Dallas Cowboys +190
New York Giants +215
Washington Redskins +325
Philadelphia Eagles +430
The health of Tony Romo was everything for the Dallas Cowboys, who went from 12-4 to 4-12 in the matter of a year. Without Romo, this team has no chance to do anything, but now that he’s back and healthy (for now), a Super Bowl is possible. Romo makes the offense work behind the best offensive line in the league. They added Ezekiel Elliott in the draft and the hope is that he can repeat what DeMarco Murray did a couple years ago. The question comes on the defensive side where multiple starters ran into issues in the offseason, most notably Demarcus LAwreNCe and Rolando McClain. Already a mediocre unit with struggles in the pass rush, the Cowboys can’t afford to lose anyone else to off-field issues. That said, the return of Romo and Dez Bryant will be enough to make them competitive in every Game.
The New York Giants had the third-best odds to win the division last year and that’s where they finished, with a 6-10 record. This year, their odds are better and only slightly behind Dallas at top. Most of that has to do with what the Giants did in the offseason in order to bolster a bad defense. New York GAve big contracts to Olivier Vernon and Damon Harrison along the line as well as added Janoris Jenkins, Eli Apple and Leon Hall in the secondary. On top of that, Eli Manning had one of the best seasons of his career and now hopes to get back injured Victor Cruz and LArry Donnell, as well as rookie Sterling Shepard. They even added dynamic help in the backfield with Paul Perkins. After a mostly disappointing 2015, it would be a major blow if the Giants finished with a losing record again.
And finally, last year’s title winners, the Washington Redskins are getting forgotten again. But can they back up last season’s success, now with a tougher Schedule? That remains to be seen, but they didn’t do a whole lot to improve. The hope is that Kirk Cousins can repeat 2015 with the same tools around him plus big rookie wide out Josh Doctson. The defensive side is the bigger issue as they were GAshed often on the road last season. The addition of stud corner Josh Norman expects to give them a boost in the secondary, but overall, this defense still has a few questions. However, if the offense is as good as last year, they’ll have no trouble competing in the East.
The Philadelphia Eagles have fallen mightily after being one of the favorites to win the division last year. Despite finishing 7-9 and in second place, they decided to move on from Chip Kelly and roll with Kansas City offensive coordinator Doug Pederson. More or less, no one really knows what to expect in Pederson’s first year as head coach. Sam Bradford looks like the starter, but when he gets hurt, Chase Daniel is the presumed backup while rookie Carson Wentz is expected to watch form the sidelines all year. They didn’t do that many things to improve from a year ago, but if Bradford is at least competent, he has some tools around him, although Ryan Mathews probably won’t hold up at running back, either. The defense added coordinator Jim SChwartz, who should return the unit to being somewhat elite. They have the tools, it’s just about putting them together.
There’s no telling how the NFC East will play out, which is no different from previous seasons. The Cowboys no longer have the best offense, even with Romo healthy. The division may fall to which team has the best defense in closer Games and that could mean a revamped Giants unit combined with a top offense led by Manning wins the East.