Odds and Picks
After what had been a mixed bag of results in the NFC East, the Cowboys took charge last season en route to 13 wins. Similar to last season, the Cowboys are the favorite, but with a tougher Schedule and the Giants on their heels, winning the division isn’t a guarantee.
Odds to win NFC East
courtesy of 5dimes (early August)
Dallas Cowboys +155
New York Giants +225
Philadelphia Eagles +370
Washington Redskins +510
With the help of rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, the Dallas Cowboys (over/under 9.5) took the league by storm and didn’t look back. Matching that production will be key for the two players and word of an Elliott suspension are already creeping out. Another issue for the offense is that the line has a couple new pieces and a little less depth than a year ago with Doug Free and Ronald Leary out. And so, LA’el Collins and Jonathan Cooper move into the starting lineup. Prescott will have mostly the same receivers led by Dez Bryant, but he’ll undoubtedly have a bigger target on his back. The defense continues to be a coNCern with no major additions to the group unless Jaylon Smith can come in and make plays with a healthy knee. The secondary welcomes a few new faces with Robert Blanton and Nolan Carroll, but those guys aren’t going to make it an elite group.
Close behind, the New York Giants (over/under 9) added a big name to their receiving core with Brandon Marshall taking the spot of Victor Cruz. Marshall, Odell Beckham and Sterling Shepard (pending form a dynamic trio and that doesn’t iNClude rookie tight end Evan Engram, who is basically a wide receiver. Getting more consistent play out of the line and running Game will be just as important as the Giants haven’t been able to run much the past few years. Paul Perkins is expected to take the lead role with Shane Vereen still in the mix. Defensively, New York took a huge step last year and it’s hard to see them staying at the same level. That said, this will still be one of the better defenses in the division, if not conference.
The Philadelphia Eagles (over/under 8) got a bump in odds compared to last year and that’s mostly due an expected better passing Game with a more experieNCed Carson Wentz and better targets to throw to in Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith. Throw in bruiser LeGArrette Blount on the ground and this offense could be solid. Of course, that all depends on what Wentz can do in his second year under center and the same goes for head coach Doug Pederson. Defense has been the strong suit for the Eagles over the last few seasons and there’s no reason that will change with Timmy JerniGAn added to an already stout line with Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham. Cornerback is the biggest question with second-year Jalen Mills almost a lock to start, while they brought in Patrick Robinson to compete with rookies for playing time.
The Washington Redskins (over/under 7.5) have the worst odds to win the division, but won it two years ago with +1600 odds so it won’t be beyond them to do so. Then again, they don’t have the best offense or defense in the division so they’ll have to find ways to steal wins. Kirk Cousins is still around and has to work with some new targets in Terrelle Pryor and second-year receiver Josh Doctson. To go with that, they’ll work with a new offensive coordinator in Matt Cavanaugh. The defense was the biggest problem last season and Washington didn’t add much in that aspect unless safety D.J Swearinger takes charge or younger guys like Su’a Cravens or Jonathan Allen turn into immediate playmakers.
The Cowboys are the most bet on team because of popularity, but if the offensive line takes a small step back and Elliott has to miss a couple Games, that’ll open the door for the Giants or either of the other teams. If Manning and the Giants offense can show more consisteNCy with the help of red-zone threat Brandon Marshall, they’ll be in business to challenge the Cowboys. The Eagles and Redskins aren’t far behind, but Philly needs more from Wentz and Washington needs more from the defense.