The NFC East again shapes up as a two-horse race. Here’s a divisional breakdown with season total recommendations:
Dallas Cowboys (Over 9¹/₂, -170, PointsBet)
For an organization that often appears dysfunctional, Dallas has done a superb job of roster-building and putting together arguably the most talented starting lineup in the league. QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliott work behind a rock-solid offensive line, and Prescott has the type of big-play receivers Aaron Rodgers wishes he had in Green Bay. If anything happens to Prescott, Andy Dalton is a capable backup.
The Cowboys are strong on the defensive front, even after losing DT Gerald McCoy to a season-ending injury, and Leighton Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith and Sean Lee form a phenomenal linebacker group if they can finally stay healthy. The coaching staff held this team back, but Jason Garrett’s stale style has been replaced by a rejuvenated Mike McCarthy, who has good coordinators to help run the show. The NFC East is the only division in the NFL in which each team has won a Super Bowl. While the Eagles and Giants have done it recently, the Cowboys’ last title came after the 1995 season.
Dallas has the talent to get back to the top, so 15/1 odds to win the Super Bowl offer decent value. The schedule is certainly soft enough for the Cowboys to win at least 10 games.
Philadelphia Eagles (Under 9¹/₂, -120, Westgate SuperBook)
Some critics like to pick on QB Carson Wentz, but that hate is misplaced. He’s a leader and a winner (32-24 record, 97 touchdowns, 35 interceptions). The problem? Wentz has had injury issues. Health permitting, he should have another big year.
Philadelphia has an elite offensive line, a stud running back in Miles Sanders, a standout tight end in Zach Ertz and more speed at wide receiver, especially if Jalen Reagor was a wise first-round pick and DeSean Jackson can stay on the field. Potential problems lurk on defense, notably a weak linebacker corps and small defensive backs, but it’s foolish to count this team out. The Eagles were 5-7 last year before Wentz ripped off a four-game winning streak in December to take the division.
Philadelphia should start the season 3-0 (at Washington, home versus the Rams and Bengals) and make a run at nine wins and another playoff appearance. However, predicting 10 wins is too optimistic.
New York Giants (Under 6¹/₂, -140, Westgate)
Now that the Giants have moved on from QB Eli Manning, WR Odell Beckham Jr. and two of the worst coaches (Pat Shurmur and Ben McAdoo) in franchise history, what’s next?
As a rookie, Saquon Barkley finished second to Elliott with 1,307 rushing yards and accounted for 2,028 total yards, including 721 receiving. Barkley’s numbers dropped last year, but he missed three games with a bad ankle, and was banged up and bottled up behind a poor offensive line. Daniel Jones had 24 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions as a rookie in 2019, but he lost 11 fumbles.
Question marks litter the defense, which was a disaster last year (30th in scoring at 28.2 ppg). The jury is still out on 38-year-old new head coach Joe Judge. The Giants will be underdogs in seven of their first eight games, so betting on this team to win seven games is a fantasy. Take the Under.
Washington Football Team (Under 5, +110, Westgate)
If Ron Rivera can get the Washington Football Team to six wins, he deserves Coach of the Year votes. The absence of a nickname underscores what a joke this franchise has become in recent years.
Dwayne Haskins is expected to start at quarterback, though he was a deer-in-the-headlights rookie and should be looking over his shoulder at backups Kyle Allen and Alex Smith. The offensive line rates as mediocre and the wide receiver group might be the least talented in the league. A bright spot is the defensive front. Rivera and new defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio are switching to a 4-3 scheme and hoping No. 2 pick Chase Young develops into an elite edge rusher right away. Rivera’s plan appears to be to try to win low-scoring games with defense. As of now, Washington figures to be favored in no more than three games.
After a 3-13 finish, getting to four or five wins with this sad-sack roster would be a solid accomplishment. Look Under the season win total and Under the total in several of Washington’s games.