Cowboys still capable, but NFC East is going to be tough division to win
August 08, 2017 3:05 AM
by Alan Berg
Now it’s the big finale, part two, focusing this time on the NFC.
Just like in part one I will talk about each division, with any possible bets to make, including Super Bowl, Championship or division. Let’s go.
The Cowboys had quite the year and if you check GamingToday’s back issues, I said if given the opportunity Dak Prescott would surprise some people. It’s amazing how a quarterback can look amazing with a great line, great running game and wide receivers with a pulse.
Currently Dallas is 9-1 at Westgate to win the Super Bowl, 4-1 to win the NFC and the Golden Nugget has the best price on the division at +125. At these odds I want no part of the ‘Boys; they are sure to regress in 2017. They are missing some pieces from last year’s team that could have an impact, and that’s before the possible Zeke suspension.
Are the Cowboys still capable? Yes, but the NFC East is going to be a real tough division to win, meaning I expect the winner to have to play three games to get to the playoffs as a wild card team.
The Giants, Eagles and Redskins have retooled and reloaded their teams from a year ago. Philadelphia was a darling out of the gates as now-second-year QB Carson Wentz got the Eagles off to a hot start, but as teams realized Wentz handled the blitz better than the zone the Eagles weren’t as good on offense and the lack of a true star in the backfield didn’t make teams pay for staying back.
While I think rookie Donell Pumphrey has star potential I doubt they are in any rush finding a guy as they play the trend of finding running backs that catch 15 passes. Wendell Smallwood will probably get the first crack and fail. Pass on Philly. William Hill: SB 50-1; Westgate: NFC 20-1; Div. +375
Ah the Giants, does anyone ever believe you can count the Giants out? Eli “Better than my brother when it matters” Manning is getting older but they have plenty of weapons and the defense is upgraded. They are the likely division winner for me but I don’t care for their odds (Westgate: SB 20-1; NFC 10-1; William Hill: Div. +260).
Now it’s the Redskins and Kirk Cousins, I have seen the stats, the Skins didn’t fare well against the .500-or-better teams, but you know, I go with my gut here. I like Washington, they are completely dysfunctional. I mean, what front office would let a guy like Cousins go when QBs are the hardest thing to find in the NFL? But yet here we are; this is probably the last year of Cousins in the capital and I think he’s going to have a career year.
They lost DeSean Jackson, but he’s a one-dimensional guy, and added Browns’ all around wideout, former QB Terrelle Pryor. Redskins’ run game will be improved as Samaje Perine will win the job. If you like longshots, this is one to take a shot on. Westgate: SB 80-1; NFC 40-1; Div. 6-1
Not gonna spend much time here; this division is probably the least exciting and the one likely to not change much from 2016.
Westgate lists Green Bay at 12-1 to win the Super Bowl, next closest is Minnesota, 30-1. The best price on Green Bay to win the division is at William Hill, -180. I don’t care much for the Vikings or Lions; they strike me as same old, same old. The Bears have no offense, unless first-rounder Mitchell Trubisky shocks the experts and is ready day one, and Chicago can ride him and their underrated D to the playoffs. The Packers are a lock but only the Super Bowl is worth bothering with.
Seattle comes in as yet again the odds-on favorite after the fall of rivals San Francisco and more recently Arizona. The one intriguing aspect of this division is Jeff Fischer was finally fired as head coach of the L.A. Rams.
Now stay with me. Do I think the Rams can make noise in the playoffs? No. Los Angeles has tons of question marks no doubt, but remember all those years they were supposed to break out? What if highly regarded Sean McVay can groom Jared Goff, who was the No.1 overall pick in 2016, quickly?
Can the 30-year-old youngest coach in NFL history reimagine this running game in year one, to the point Todd Gurley comes back to life?
Can they finally put it all together led by that still solid defense? If you like a huge long shot this is the one, across the board. Station Casinos: SB 150-1; NFC 75-1; Div. 20-1
Atlanta should get another crack in 2017, because Carolina was the first team since 2008 to miss the playoffs after the Super Bowl year, and that was the New England Patriots going 10-6 minus Tom Brady. The Falcons have some decent numbers at 14-1 at William Hill to win the Super Bowl, 7-1 to win the NFC and for the division check out Station Casinos at +160.
Speaking of the Panthers, can they bounce back? I don’t think so. First off it sounds like they want Cam Newton to turn into Tom Brady, who is fantastic in the short passing game.
Meanwhile Cam has statistically been one of the worst. Why these sports coaches, this time Ron Rivera, try to fit round pegs into square holes baffles me.
Just wait Panther fans, this won’t end well. WH: SB 35-1; Div. +240; Westgate: NFC 15-1;
Tampa Bay might have the most hype coming in. I do think their offense should offer plenty of firepower but I am not convinced of them being a contender like their odds suggest. Pass. Station: SB 40-1; NFC 20-1; Div. +350
My dark horse last year, the New Orleans Saints, had some bad breaks. Look no further than the loss to the Broncos, blocked extra point returned for a 2-point conversion. While I do love the Adrian Peterson signing and still think Drew Brees has plenty left in the tank, I am not sure this team has the direction it once did with all the rumors of Sean Payton leaving and Brees also thinking of moving on. So stick with the other teams in this preview. Westgate Super Book: SB 50-1; NFC 25-1; Div. 5-1
In summary, here are my picks and recommendations:
Super Bowl: Green Bay over Houston
SB Dark Horse: San Diego over NY Giants
Recommended Bets – Super Bowl: Packers 12-1, Chargers 50-1, Bengals 75-1, Redskins 80-1, Bills 125-1, Rams 150-1; Conference: Patriots +125, Chargers 30-1, Bengals 30-1, Redskins 40-1, Rams 75-1; Division: Bengals 4-1, Chargers 5-1, Redskins 6-1, Bills 16-1, Rams 20-1.