NFL Picks For The NFC East: Can The Cowboys Win B2B Division Titles?
We’re just two months away from the first game of the 2019 NFL Season. While we wait, there are plenty of NFL picks to make on online sports betting sites. Let’s begin by looking at NFC East win totals and division odds.
All lines are courtesy of William Hill at the time the article was published unless otherwise stated.
NFL Picks For The NFC East (Win Totals)
Philadelphia Eagles Over/Under 10 Wins
NFC East Odds: -120
Last season, the Philadelphia Eagles tried to duplicate their 2017 Super Bowl run with Nick Foles at the helm. Foles started the season, but Carson Wentz came back from his ACL injury in Week 3. The Eagles were 5-6 with Wentz as a starter in 2018 before a stress fracture sent him back to the sideline following a 23-29 overtime loss to Dallas in Week 14. Overall, Philadelphia was one of two teams impacted most by injuries. Their 9-7 record was enough to get them to the playoffs, but not enough to win the division or win over 10.5 games.
Their 2018 win totals are a half-game or a full game lower than last year’s depending on the sportsbook. The Eagles have one of the easiest schedules in the NFL (based on opponents’ combined 2018 records). As you’ll see, this is quite a theme for NFC East teams this year.
The defense loses inside linebacker Jordan Hicks, defensive end Michael Bennett and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. Losing Bennett and Ngata could especially hurt in divisional matchups against running backs Saquan Barkley and Ezekiel Elliot, which accounts for 25 percent of their games.
On offense, they lose Golden Tate and Jordan Matthews as receiving targets, but Desean Jackson returns to stretch the field for the same team that drafted him.
The case for Over 10 wins: With four divisional games against the Washington Redskins and New York Giants, home games against the Lions and Jets and road trips to Buffalo and Miami, Philadelphia’s schedule looks easy. They open as 8-point favorites against the Redskins in Week 1. Additionally, the Eagles are unlikely to endure as many injures as they did in 2018.
Note: If you like the Over, you can find Over (-118) 9.5 Wins at BetStars
The case for Under 10 wins: The Eagles are one injury away from losing starting quarterback Carson Wentz, but this time, Nick Foles can’t come to the rescue. Wentz has battled injuries throughout his short career, including a torn ACL, broken ribs, and a stress fracture in college. If Wentz goes down again, it’s Nate Sudfeld or fifth-round rookie Clayton Thorson who will be asked to fill in. On top of injury concerns, the defense loses its best run-stoppers in a division that has two of the best running backs in the league.
Dallas Cowboys Over/Under 9 Wins
NFC East Odds: +150
The Dallas Cowboys have won three of the last five NFC East division titles and they hope to make it back-to-back division championships for the first time since the ’95, ’96 seasons. They’re 10-win season was 1.5 games over their 8.5 win total.
Their schedule isn’t as easy compared to their NFC East foes. Their opponents combined for a 128-126-2 record in 2018 (T-14th in the NFL).
Despite losing defensive tackle David Irving, the defense returns most of its players, including second-year linebacker Leighton Vader Esch and his partner in crime, Jaylon Smith. The young linebacker duo should be even better this year, helping to improve a defense that was top 10 in yards allowed, points allowed and defensive efficiency, according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA.
The offense replaces Cole Beasley with Randall Cobb in the slot. Dak Prescott tries to continue the chemistry formed with Amari Cooper in the last half of the season. After arriving in a mid-season trade, Cooper led the Cowboys in receiving yards in six of his 11 games, including a 180-yard game against Washington and a game where he eclipsed 200 yards against Philadelphia. Cooper’s presence ignited a much-needed spark offensively, helping the Cowboys earn seven wins in the last nine weeks of the regular season, which eventually led to a wild-card win against the Seattle Seahawks.
The case for Over 9 wins: Another year of experience for young defensive stars will improve an already solid defense. Similarly, the Cowboys will have a full season with No. 1 receiver Amari Cooper, which will keep defenses from packing the box to stop Ezekiel Elliot. Cooper and Prescott were tough to stop with hardly any practice time together.
The case for Under 10 wins: The defense and the offense are both due for some regression, and games on the road in New Orleans, New England and Chicago will prove too difficult relative to their NFC East rivals.
Washington Redskins Over/Under 6.5 Wins
NFC East Odds: +900
The Washington Redskins used a 7-9 record to draft Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins. Haskins slipped down the draft board and the Redskins were ready to draft their quarterback of the future. It’s still to be seen whether Haskins will start over Case Keenum in Week 1, but if owner Dan Snyder has his say — and he usually does — you can bet Haskins will start sooner rather than later.
Washington has the easiest schedule in the NFL according to their opponents’ combined record, which could help them match seven wins from last season.
The Redskins’ lose Preston Smith, Zach Brown and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix on defense. On the offensive side of the ball, they lose offensive tackle Ty Nsekhe and receiver Jamison Crowder.
The front office will use a great draft and the key offseason acquisitions of Lance Collins, Reuben Foster and Eric Flowers to make up for any lost production.
The case for Over 6.5 wins: The Redskins won six times before losing Alex Smith and most of their offensive line to injuries. The line should be healthier this year and either Dwayne Haskins will adjust quickly or Case Keenum will provide quarterback play sufficient to win seven games in a fairly easy schedule.
Note: If you like the Over, you can find Over 6 Wins at FanDuel Sportsbook
The case for Under 6.5 Wins: The Redskins lost six of their last seven games after Alex Smith went out. With games against New England and at Minnesota and Green Bay, their schedule isn’t as easy as their opponents’ combined 2018 record implies.
New York Giants Over/Under 6 Wins
NFC East Odds: +1200
The New York Giants followed a dramatic 5-11 season with another controversial draft that included selecting Daniel Jones as Eli Manning’s successor with the No. 6 pick. Manning remains the starter heading into the 2019 season, but he’ll be without target Odell Beckham Jr.
Luckily, their opponents combined for a 120-134-2 record in 2018. With at-large games against Tampa Bay and Arizona, the schedule appears to be manageable.
The case for Over 6 Wins: The Giants kept games close in 2018, losing eight games by a touchdown or less. Coupled with an easy schedule, the Giants are due for positive regression. Not to mention the fact that public perception appears to be extremely bearish on Manning & Co.
Note: If you like the Over, you can find Over 5.5 Wins at DraftKings Sportsbook
The case for Under 6 Wins: Eli Manning can’t play at a high enough level to win seven games and the Giants will continue to run the ball in -EV situations. Their young defensive additions still need a couple of years before their impact is felt.
(Top Photo: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)