The narrative on the NFC East has been a rollercoaster ride in recent years. From the lows of 2020 where Washington topped the table with a 7-9 record, to now, where you could make quite a convincing argument that it was the most competitive division in the NFL last season.
It featured an Eagles team that was tied for the best record in the league and also took a trip to the Super Bowl. Two more teams made it to the Wild Card round, while the worst team went 8-8, making it the only division without a losing record. But, with some major changes across the league, this year could be far less predictable than the last.
Today, we'll be diving into the odds, analysing each team's upcoming season and doing our best to predict the outcome of the NFC East.
NFC East Best Odds
|New York Giants||+850||DraftKings|
Philadelphia Eagles (-110)
Unsurprisingly, the reigning NFC champions are favorites to win their division at -110 in the bet365 sportsbook.
After just barely losing the 2023 Super Bowl to the Kansas City Chiefs, the Eagles are under another season of high expectations. Not only did they finish with the best record in the league last year, but they also cruised through the NFC playoffs, beating every team by at least 3 touchdowns. And when facing KC on the biggest stage in football, they led at half time and lost by just 3 points after some tough penalties cost them a shot at a game-winning drive.
Jalen Hurts put up some incredible numbers last season - including 3,701 passing yards, 34 total TDs and just 6 INTs - showing the potential to lead an MVP campaign in the next few years. Of course it'll be tough to compete with Patrick Mahomes for that honour, but I fully expect him to be well within the conversation.
But Hurts is just one name on a long list of talented players that amount to one of the most complete rosters in the league.
Star wide receivers DeVonta Smith and A.J. Brown lead the passing game - both logging over 1,100 receiving yards and combining for 18 TDs last season - while legendary center Jason Kelce will return for another year of dominating the line of scrimmage. They also bolstered their backfield this offseason after picking up D'Andre Swift and Rashaad Penny, who will lead the ground game with Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott playing back up. This is perhaps the greatest running back room in the NFL.
Sean Desai will now lead a defensive unit that ranked 1st in yards allowed per game and 7th in points allowed per game in 22/23, and the roster has only improved since then. The Eagles drafted a number of talented prospects in April, including edge Nolan Smith and tackle Jalen Carter in the first round, followed by Kelee Ringo, Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean. This now totals four core starters from Georgia's 2021 and 2022 national championship squad in the Philly defense.
Carter is easily the top rated d-tackle in the draft class, projected as a potential first overall pick until some off-field controversy saw him fall down the board. He will join an already terrifying line that ranked 1st in team sacks by a margin of 15, and has already earned a starting spot alongside Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox and Josh Sweat. This is undoubtedly the best D-line unit in the league and is backed up by the likes of Haason Reddick and James Bradberry.
Long story short, there isn't a spot on the Eagles roster that lacks talent. It was already one of the most complete units in the NFL last year, and has only improved in the offseason. It's nearly impossible to imagine Nick Sirianni's squad will slow down this season.
Dallas Cowboys (+190)
The Cowboys are second in the odds to win the AFC East at +190 in the BetRivers Sportsbook.
Dallas has been a fairly consistent team over the past decade, winning four division titles in the last 10 seasons, but regularly falling short in the playoffs. The San Francisco 49ers have knocked them out of Super Bowl contention in each of the past two years. One came at the hands of a failed quarterback sneak in the closing moments, while the Cowboys only managed to rack up 12 points in the 2023 divisional game.
If Mike McCarthy hopes to make a deeper run in the 2024 postseason, it's crucial that Dak Prescott stays healthy. After suffering a hand injury in Week 1 last year, he returned in Week 7 vs the Detroit Lions and threw an interception in all but one game the rest of the season. It's clear that he never quite regained his composure after 6 weeks on the sidelines, producing his lowest passing yards per game in the last six seasons.
While Ezekiel Elliot is still in free agency, Tony Pollard has proven his ability as a solid 3-down back and is prepped to take over the starting role. The only worry is that without much depth at the position, the run game could be in trouble if he ends up on IR.
The other key loss is Dalton Schultz moving to the Saints. Dallas picked up Brandin Cooks this offseason, so Prescott has more to work with behind Ceedee Lamb and Michael Gallop. You could say this provides less need for a receiving tight end, but Schultz will be sorely missed with rookie and 2nd-round pick Luke Schoonmaker set to start Week 1.
The other side of the ball could be the saving grace for 'America's Team'. They surrendered just 20.1 PPG last season, ranking 5th in the NFL, and they have only improved in the offseason. New additions come in the form of 1st-round pick Mazi Smith who will tighten the defensive line and elite cornerback Stephon Gilmore who was traded from Indianapolis. Not to mention, hybrid lineman/linebacker Micah Parsons is currently tied with Myles Garret to win DPOY at +700 and will continue to be a driving force for Dallas.
So, the Cowboys did win 12 games last season, even with Prescott throwing a career-high 15 interceptions. If he can take better care of the ball and stay healthy, that could be enough to see them improve to 14-3. Plus, the defense is only set to improve. We could see them compete for the top spot but one major injury could ruin any chance at reclaiming the title.
New York Giants (+850)
The New York Giants currently have odds of +850 to top the 2023 AFC East division in the DraftKings sportsbook.
The team was left in pieces by previous management, but Brian Daboll and Joe Schoen stepped up to the challenge and exceeded all expectations. Despite a projected win total of 6.5, they finished with a 9-7-1 record and even found a win in the playoffs.
The Giant's focus this offseason was giving Daniel Jones more weapons after having a solid year with limited outlets. They added wide receivers Parris Campbell, Jamison Crowder, Jalin Hyatt with the 73rd draft pick and former Raiders TE Darren Waller. So, any worries about relying on Saquon Barkely too much have been very much silenced.
The concerns for New York come on the other side of the ball. Last season was very mediocre for Big Blue's defense - ranking 22nd in yards allowed per game and 18th in points allowed per game - and they haven't made any major improvements, besides picking up cornerback Deonte Banks in the second round of the draft.
Despite beating the odds last year, the bookmakers still aren't sold on the Giants just yet. Their predicted win total is just 1 game higher than last season at 7.5 games. They might not have the easiest schedule - with their Bills, 49ers and two Eagles matchups being near-certain losses - and they didn't do much to improve their lacklustre defense, but I still expect them to match their 9-7 record, if not improve upon it. Jones has a lot more to work with and Barkley will continue doing Barkley things.
Washington Commanders (+1600)
The Commanders are bottom of the odds to win the division at a long +1600 in the DraftKings sportsbook.
After their failed experiment with Carson Wentz, there's a lot of uncertainty surrounding the Commanders. The 30-year-old veteran quickly lost steam in the league despite his No. 2 pick status in 2016. He may have played well in Philadelphia, where he even ranked 3rd in the 2017 MVP voting. But once he landed in Washington, he never found that level again. He only started 8 games recording a 62.3 completion percentage, 219 ypg average with 11 TDs and 9 INTs.
As a result, the Commanders let go of Wentz in February and Sam Howell now runs the offense. The addition of former-Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy should help Howell progress over the next few years, but with such limited experience on NFL turf, it's very unlikely we'll see Washington compete in the NFC anytime soon.
So, the Commanders have a second-year QB at the helm, with a very long way to go before he can compete with the best, and that's enough to put them out of contention by itself. There's not much more to say...
Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles
Despite being known as the NFC “Least” for quite some time, the division turned things around to produce three playoff teams in 2022 and not a single losing record in sight. The Eagles, Cowboys, and Giants each logged 10+ wins, and took 3 out of the 4 spots in the NFC divisional round. The Commanders aren’t the worst team in the league, but in a very competitive division it's tough to see them battling for the top spot.
As boring as it might be to side with the favourites, it's extremely hard to bet against Philly. Not only are they the strongest team in the division, but they may well dominate the entire conference once again.
The Eagles boast one of the most complete teams in the NFL right now, with an already scary defense that only improved this offseason and a collection of very experienced star players on the other side of the ball.
The rest of the division could log some impressive records, but expecting them to compete with a team ranked 2nd in the odds to win the 2024 Super Bowl is a big ask.
The only downside is that as the heavy favourites, the return on your Philly wager isn't too appealing, but it is the safest bet of the group.
If you're looking for an underdog, the Giants at +850 are a solid choice. Head coach Brian Daboll has clearly transformed the culture in New York, managing to take a team with only a few standout players to an impressive 9-7 record and even to the divisional round. We could see the Giants make a deeper playoff run this season if Barkley and Jones can maintain the standard they set last season.
Will Philly keep their crown? Or will the Giants exceed the predictions once again and take it all the way this time?
(Header Image Credit: Bill Streicher - USA TODAY Sports)
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