Philadelphia Eagles Will Contend in the NFC East

Each year there is a team that seems to jump off the paper and catch the attention of the media and fans. It is subject to hype that reaches another level. This season that team is the Philadelphia Eagles.

Last season, the Eagles were 10-7 SU, 8-8-1 ATS and 9-8 on the Over/Under.

Some football analysts have gone as far as saying a Super Bowl win is a possibility in Philly. Anything is possible but that is not probable at least this season.

The Eagles certainly have a good opportunity to win the NFC East, but even winning the NFC Championship looks too far out of their reach this year.

Last season it seemed that the Eagles received some unexpected breaks. Amongst them, the collapse of both the New York Giants and Washington Redskins, two bitter division rivals.

The Eagles also lucked out in games when they faced a number of backup quarterbacks namely the Green Bay Packers minus Aaron Rodgers and the Dallas Cowboys without Tony Romo, which was in the final game of the season and determined the winner of the NFC East.

Detroit was also whipping the Eagles when a blizzard hit and the Lions forgot to put on snow tires and the Eagles rallied to win.

The Eagles also defeated Tampa Bay during a stretch when the Bucs were winless early in the season. It seems many breaks went Philly’s way last season and those things do not always happen that way.

After all that drama in the regular season was behind them, the Eagles hosted a playoff game and lost to the New Orleans Saints. They should not be ashamed of the loss, but it showed they still have things that need improvement before they are an elite NFL team.

Nevertheless, the progressive offense of head coach Chip Kelly made for lots of headlines. Nick Foles won accolades that were deserved with a season that included throwing 27 touchdown passes while being picked off just twice.

The Eagles offense also was the NFL leaders in rushing.

However, the defense was less than stellar ranking a dismal No. 29 out of 32.

Only 37 quarterback sacks last season for the Eagles defense and it does not look as if they are any stronger this season.

The Eagles released their best wide receiver shortly after the season was over. DeSean Jackson caught 93 passes for over 1,300 yards and 9 touchdowns.

He will be hard to replace, but the offense of Kelly relies on execution and teamwork and they will find a replacement for Jackson even if it is by committee.

According to Bovada and betonline, the Eagles are co-favorites to win the NFC East. Online sportsbooks topbet and sportsbook.com have the Eagles at 28 to 1 to win the Super Bowl.

Prediction: NFC East winners at 11-6 and losers in the NFC Championship game

Odds to Win the NFC East Division for 2014

McCoy
McCoy
LeSean McCoy and the Eagles should win the NFC East behind a dynamic offense.

Today begins my journey through the six divisions of the National Football League as I look at the odds for each and give you my winner. First up, the NFC East.

Philadelphia Eagles +125 –  The Eagles made the playoffs in Head Coach Chip Kelly’s first season and it wasn’t behind Michael Vick who is now with the Jets. It was behind Nick Foles who played tremendously and got the Eagles a home playoff game where they were beaten by the New Orleans Saints. Gone from the team is DeSean Jackson who is now with the rival Redskins.

To make up for his numbers the Eagles brought in Darren Sproles who should provide an amazing compliment to LeSean McCoy. If the defense improves, the Eagles could be viable contenders in the NFC. The schedule features the AFC South and NFC West so it’s the extremes in that case.

Record prediction: 10-6

New York Giants +300 – The Giants have missed the playoffs the last two seasons and I for one thought Tom Coughlin would be out of a job after they started 0-6 last season. Coughlin is back but things are different on the offensive side of the ball where more of a West Coast offense is installed. It’s really pretty simple for there; Eli Manning has to take care of the football a lot better than he has in recent years.

Jason Pierre-Paul looked good in the team’s first two preseason games and that’s good because they need him to anchor the defensive line. The secondary is upgraded and should be better as well. The G-Men get Indianapolis, San Francisco and Arizona at home but do have to go to Seattle. If the running game is clicking then good things are on the horizon.

Record Prediction: 9-7

RGIII
Can RGIII handle the transition to Jay Gruden's new offense?

Washington Redskins +375 – The ‘Skins welcome new head coach Jay Gruden whose number one job is keeping Robert Griffin III healthy. We shouldn’t see nearly as much read-option if any at all which means RGIII is going to be more of a pocket passer. What will help that transition is Alfred Morris running the ball well again. DeSean Jackson should help balance the offense as well.

Defensively, there is plenty of talent on that side of the ball but it can’t be utilized unless the front seven can get to the quarterback. Trent Murphy, defensive end from Stanford should help in that department. The second half of the schedule is brutal with trips to Indianapolis, San Francisco and the Giants but they do finish with Dallas and Philly at home.

Record Projection: 8-8

Dallas Cowboys +400 – If I had looked at the Cowboys back in the spring I might have said this team had a chance to compete in the NFC East but then Sean Lee was lost for the season and then Orlando Scandrick was suspended for four games. Toss in a few other injuries and you’ve got a defense that could rival last year’s in terms of ineptness.

Offensively, the Cowboys will ride only as far as Tony Romo can take them and I think his health is a serious question mark. Jason Garrett knows they have to run the ball to keep Romo healthy and his defense off the field. The question is, will he be able to do that? It’ll be tough with all the ‘toys’ that Romo has to play with but if he wants to win, he’ll have to.

Dallas has a favorable schedule with only a trip to Seattle being the toughest out of division road trip.

Record Projection: 6-10

Overall Thoughts: I don’t know how you can go in any other direction here other than the Eagles. I can see a scenario where the Giants start pounding opponents with their running game but I don’t think it’ll be enough.

Eagles Favored to Take NFC East Title

The NFC East has been a very mediocre division the past couple of seasons, but this season looks to be much more competitive.

The race for first place in the NFC East will be a close one as three of the four teams are bunched together and one, the Philadelphia Eagles being the clear favorite.

Odds makers are Bovada and topbet have Philadelphia at 7 to 5, the New York Giants are 5 to 2, and both the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins at 7 to 2.

Most bookmakers say the division is the Eagles to win, but the team has a difficult regular season schedule.

The Cowboys did not do anything to help themselves over the offseason and will have for the second straight season one of the worst defenses in the league as Sean Lee will miss the entire year.

The Giants have an aging defense, but Eli Manning should play better than last season. However, New York will be lucky to finish higher than .500.

Washington could be a surprise and come out strong to start the season. They have a new head coach and their talented all-purpose quarterback Robert Griffin Jr. should be completely healthy for his third season.

All four teams from the NFC East are somewhat long shots for the Super Bowl, according to data taken from sportsbook.com and betonline.

Philadelphia is currently at 26 to 1 on most sites, with the Giants at 27 to 1, Dallas on 40 to 1 and Washington at 47 to 1.

Dallas has a season wins total of 8, with the UNDER sitting at -185. The Cowboys record last season was 8-8 SU and 9-7 ATS.

The Cowboys covered more games than any other NFC East club did. However, they did not cover in six of the last eight games.

Rod Marinelli is the new defensive coordinator, which should help, but he cannot work miracles. The defense was last in the NFL last season giving up 415 yards a game.

The New York Giants win total for this season is 8, with the OVER sitting on -110. New York was 7-9 SU and ATS last season.

The offensive line should be better this season, which could help Manning, who had 27 picks last season.

This will be the divisions most improved team and they should start better than last season’s 0-6.

The Eagles win total is 9 with the OVER sitting on -130. Last season, the Eagles were 10-6 SU and 8-7-1 ATS.

The high-octane offense of Chip Kelly surprised odds makers taking the OVER in five of the first six regular season games. However, 7 of the final 11 games were UNDER.

The team should start better than 1-3 and 3-5 of last season having a full year under Kelly’s program. The Eagles are the clear favorite, should end with as many as 11 wins and could challenge the powers in the NFC in the postseason.

The Redskins season win total is 7.5 with the OVER sitting on -120. Last season the Redskins were 3-13 SU and 5-11 ATS.

The Redskins should be stronger this season with a healthy Griffin and should not suffer through a slide of eight games like last season.

NFC Winner – Eagles 11-5

Giants Short Chalk on the Road at Washington

The New York Giants take on the Washington Redskins in a matchup of two teams that odds makers had as the top contenders for the NFC East in the start of the NFL season.

However, at this point both teams are virtually eliminated from the post season. New York would need to win out and then get lots of help from other teams to have a shot at a wildcard or the NFC East title. New York is 4-7 SU and ATS.

Washington is even worse off. The Redskins are 3-8 SU and ATS and their odds of grabbing a playoff berth are far, far less.

The meeting on Sunday in the nation’s capital, or close to it, will feature two rivals that are coming off losses. It is the first of two games the two will play head to head over their final five games of the season.

The Redskins struggled Monday night and suffered a humiliating loss to the San Francisco 49ers 27-6.

New York lost last Sunday to Dallas 24-21, after they rallied to tie only to see Dallas drive the length of the field and kick a game winning field goal.

At this time, the Giants are favored on Bovada and topbet by 1.5 points, while the point total on betonline and sportsbook.com is currently 45.5.

On topbet and Bovada the line opened at 2 or even as high as 2.5 but with Washington as the favorite. However, their dismal showing on Monday night had the bookmakers flip and repost the line with New York as a short chalk.

Washington also showed little if any ability to score and that was reflected in the total points for this matchup. The line opened at 48.5, but has been bet down on betonline to just 45.5.

Dating to 2010, Washington is 5-0 ATS head to head with New York. However, in its last three games of this season, Washington is 0-3 ATS.

New York has been the favorite in each of their last 12 head-to-head meeting. Since 2009, New York is 16-21-1 ATS as a favorite.

New York’s offense has struggled this season especially Eli Manning. The Giants quarterback has 14 touchdown passes and 17 interceptions.

Andre Brown returned to running back in November from injury. His presence has helped the maligned running game and given Manning another target in the passing attack.

Many people have scrutinized and criticized the play of Robert Griffin III the Redskins quarterback. He had an ACL tear in the playoffs last season, but returned to play this season, but has not been the same as he was last season.

Even though Washington has covered their past five games with New York, this game feels different.

With the problems Griffin III has faced with media and fans, this matchup leans in favor of New York.

Pick: New York 21-17

NFC East tighter than any division top to bottom

With the NFL season starting in four days, teams are making their final preparations to jump out of the gate running.

The NFC East is expected to be one of the league most competitive divisions in football, with very little if any gap between the first place team and the fourth place team.

Odds makers such as topbet, betonline, sportsbook.com and Bovada were giving at one time 8 to 1 odds on every team in the NFC East to be Super Bowl Champs, not a bad thing, to have those odds for the Cowboys, Redskins, Giants and Eagles.

All four teams have positive attributes, with most being on the offense. Even Philadelphia, with Michael Vick again calling the signals under center, is an interesting betting proposition.

With new head coach Chip Kelly putting into place an up-tempo offense, the Eagles, could surprise many if Vick can hold onto the ball.

Each team has a legitimate shot to be crowned NFC East champion. The past four seasons have seen each of the four teams in the division, win a division title, with the most recent being the 2012 Washington Redskins.

However, over the past three straight seasons, only the team to win the division has qualified for the postseason, which is due to parity in the division and no one team dominating their divisional games.

Most odds makers and online sportsbooks reflect the feeling that the division is an open race. Currently the Giants are favored to win the division with 7 to 5, while the Redskins and Cowboys are both at 9 to 5, with the long shot going to the Eagles at only 4 to 1.

As of now, the Eagles have more bets in their favor to win the NFC East than any of their other division rivals.

Some are backing the Cowboys and must have confidence Dallas has found a way to defeat Washington, as they lost both meetings against the Redskins last season.

Those betting on Washington have to feel that Robert Griffin III will return from his knee surgery and lead them to victory. As of this morning, the win total for Washington was still on 7.5 with some decent plays for the OVER.

The win total for New York was 9, with Dallas at 8 and Philadelphia 7.

Just two games are separating the four teams from the top to the bottom in the NFC East in win totals and no other division in the NFL is packed so tightly as this one.

Prediction: Dallas 11-5, division champs.

NFC East: Cowboys will win title with Redskins second and Giants third

The NFL Season is just a little over a month away as teams last week opened their training camps. The NFC East is expected to be tough again this season with three of the four teams vying for the postseason.

Offseason over/under win totals for the teams have been released by odds makers and have the Washington Redskins and New York Giants each winning 9 games, while the Dallas Cowboys are predicted to win 8.5 and the Philadelphia Eagles 6.5.

All of the betting lines for futures can be found at the top four most trusted sportsbooks: Bovada, Sportsbook.com, topbet and betonline. They will have the latest lines, spreads, game capsules and information needed to make an educated online wager.

The NFC East will be very strong this season and my prediction is that the Dallas Cowboys will win the division with a record of 10-6.

It will be their first division title since 2009, as they had a successful draft and are healthy on the offense with the return of Tony Romo, DeMarco Murray and Jason Whitten.

Add to that Dez Bryant and Miles Austin at the wide outs and the offense will be tough to stop. On defense, the Cowboys have one of the best front seven in the NFC starting with the likes of DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer, Justin Durant, Sean Lee and Jay Ratliff.

My second place finisher in the NFC East will be the Washington Redskins. Robert Griffin III has said he will be ready for the opening game of the season and will be wiser and more careful over center this season. With Pierre Garcon and Alfred Morris, they have two very good offensive weapons. On defense with Brian Orakpo and London Fletcher they are strong up the middle. However, look for them to go 9-7 and fight for a wildcard berth.

In third place, this season in the NFC East will be the New York Giants. This season I see the Giants missing out on the post season, as they have not added any impact players to their lineup.

They team has the firepower anytime Eli Manning is on the field, but the defense will not be strong and Manning does not have the players around him to bring them back from late game deficits. I see the Giants with an 8-8 record.

Bringing up the rear in the NFC East will be the Philadelphia Eagles, First year Head Coach Chip Kelly will see the up tempo offense is not quite as easy to accomplish in the NFL as it is in the NCAA when the talent on the field is not strong.

Michael Vick remains and is still one the league’s best athletes, but his performance is not what it was just two or three years ago and he turns the ball over too often. I see the Eagles 6-10 on the season, but with a very good future ahead of them.

 

Winner Takes All as Dallas Visits Washington

Robert Griffin III and Tony Romo will each look to lead his team to not just a victory but a playoff berth as the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys meet on Sunday Night Football.

The Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins clash on Sunday night in a winner takes all game that will decide the NFC East champion.

The two sides meet at FedExField in Landover, Md., on Sunday Night Football (8:20 PM ET) in a game that has serious playoff implications. If Washington wins, Dallas will be eliminated from postseason contention. If Dallas wins, Washington will need (a lot of) help from elsewhere.

Were the Redskins to lose, Mike Shanahan’s side would need Minnesota, Chicago, and the New York Giants to lose also, allowing the team to secure the final Wild Card berth. With Green Bay, Detroit, and Philadelphia respectively on the schedule for those sides, Washington would do best to win this one outright.

Win, lose, or draw, Washington (9-6, 4-3 home) has had its best season since 2007, a year in which the side went 9-7 and the last time a postseason trip was made. A win on Sunday would give the Redskins 10 wins for the first time since 2005 and only the third time in 21 years.

Quarterback Robert Griffin III has led the side by example, often playing beyond his years. He is the current favorite (10/11) to be handed the Offensive Rookie of the Year award, ahead of Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck (6/5) and Seattle’s Russell Wilson (13/4), both of whom have led their respective teams to the postseason. Griffin III will be hoping for a similar result this weekend.

The Redskins arrive in Week 17 with a six-game winning streak, the franchise’s longest such streak since a seven-game jaunt in 1997.

Meanwhile, the Dallas Cowboys (8-7, 4-3 away) arrive in Maryland on the back of last weekend’s nail-biting 34-31 overtime loss to the New Orleans Saints. As they seem to have done for much of the season, the Cowboys mounted a comeback late. This time however, the Saints squeaked a victory in the extra frame.

Prior to that loss, Jason Garrett’s side had won five of six, transforming from 3-5 underachievers to 8-6 playoff contenders. A win this weekend will cap that turnaround, and have the Cowboys hosting Seattle in next week’s Wild Card round.

With Minnesota, Chicago, and the Giants all taking to the field earlier in the day, Washington will enter the game knowing exactly what is needed. It’ll also arrive at kickoff confident of a win, thanks in part to a 38-31 win over the Cowboys in Texas on Thanksgiving.

That game saw the Redskins take a 28-3 lead into halftime, only for the Cowboys to claw back into the game. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo threw a staggering 62 pass attempts in that game while his counterpart, Griffin, tallied 304 yards passing with four touchdowns and one interception. In a rare instance this season, the rookie was limited to just 29 yards on the ground.

The Cowboys will need to limit Griffin again this week as well as running back Alfred Morris. The two have combined to give Washington the best running game in football, averaging 162.3 yards per game. Morris ranks fourth in the NFL with 1,413 yards on the season.

If Dallas needs to worry about Washington’s running game, then the Redskins need to worry about Dallas’s passing game. The Cowboys are third in the league in passing this year, averaging 302.2 yards per game. Only Detroit and New Orleans have dialed-up more yards through the air.

Tony Romo is a big part of that number. The nine-year veteran is third in the league – behind Drew Brees and Matthew Stafford – having tallied 4,685 passing yards on 611 attempts, with a 66.3 completion percentage (6th), and 26 touchdowns (6th).

Romo’s biggest problem came early in the season when he was prone to giving up the football. His 16 interceptions are tied for fifth most on the season, but things are vastly improved at this point in the season. Having thrown 13 picks in the first seven games, including four in one game against the Giants on Oct. 28, he has thrown just three since, and only one over the past four weeks. Romo threw two interceptions against the Redskins on Thanksgiving.

Washington’s defense – which allows 287.7 passing yards per game – could well struggle against this new, focused Dallas aerial attack. But then again, this is a Dallas side that went into New York on the final day of the season last year needing to win, but failing to get the job done.

Washington opened as 3½-point favorites, a spread that hasn’t changed with most online bookmakers. The Redskins have been terrific against the spread this season, compiling a 10-5-0 ATS record. Dallas meanwhile has struggled in covering, tallying a 6-9-0 ATS record. The Cowboys will need to upset the Redskins and the spread this week if they’re to make it to the postseason.

The over/under opened at 50, and has fallen to 49½ with most bookmakers. The total has gone over eight time for the Cowboys this year and nine times for the Redskins. The Thanksgiving game between these sides saw a 46-point total eclipsed by a 69-point game. The over certainly looks the smarter choice this weekend.