It is never a good sign when a division winner has a losing record like the 2020 NFC East champs, the Washington Football Team (WFT). A litany of issues severely impacted several teams, making it hard for anyone to play well or with any consistency. But the 2021 NFL season is a new year, and we could see a new division champ emerge.
While there is a clear favorite to win the NFC East, there are questions about every team that could impact how the season plays out. However, that has not stopped sports betting apps from installing a clear favorite:
|Odds On NFC East Division Winner In 2021/22||DraftKings||Caesars||Pointsbet|
|New York Giants||+450||+425||+375|
|Washington Football Team||+230||+250||+260|
It is not hard to understand why the Cowboys are the clear-cut favorite despite lingering doubts about the defense. But that does not necessarily mean they are the best team to bet on in the division.
The Cowboys season appeared to be doomed from the start last year, prompting many to call for head coach Mike McCarthy to get replaced before the season finished. But Jerry Jones opted to keep McCarthy. However, he did get rid of defensive coordinator Mike Nolan.
New DC Dan Quinn is an upgrade, but since the Cowboys did little with the roster, how much the unit can improve remains to be seen. All the talk emerging from training camp has been optimistic about the defense. But do we expect the narrative to be anything else?
Since the best players will not see the field much (if at all) during the preseason, we will have to wait until Week One for our first glimpse of Dan Quinn’s defense.
On the offensive side of the ball, it is going to be all about health. Dak Prescott has already had injury issues, as has offensive lineman La’el Collins. According to reports, nothing has been severe. But since both missed most of the season last year, it is only natural to be concerned.
But if the offense can stay relatively healthy, it is not hard to see them putting up some serious points. With the talent level at the skill positions, they have no excuse if they fail to do so. Whether they win the division, though, will depend on whether the defense can step up to the plate this season.
Washington Football Team
Washington fans kept help but wonder what could have been last season if the offense could have been a little better. Their defense turned into a championship-caliber unit. But with the revolving door at quarterback, the offense struggled to do its part.
Head coach Ron Rivera will be hoping that veteran journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick can be the consistent presence at quarterback his offense needs this season. With Fitz-magic’s track record, it is not hard to imagine he could be just what the WFT needs.
As long as the defense stays relatively healthy, there is no reason to think it will take a step back this season. Should Fitzpatrick have another one of his magical seasons, the WFT could easily give the Dallas Cowboys a run for their money in the division this season.
New York Giants
Losing Saquon Barkley early in the year did not help the Giants in 2020. But getting him back this season may not make much of a difference since the Giants failed to do one thing—improve their offensive line. According to PFF, the group finished last season ranked 31st in the league and will start the 2021 NFL season ranked 32nd.
As good as Barkley is, even he needs a running lane. But more importantly, it is hard to see Daniel Jones taking the next step in his development without better protection. If he cannot, the offense is going to be in trouble.
Defensively, the Giants were not bad last season and should be at least as good this season. If the offense can do its part, there is an outside chance the Giants could become a contender within the division this season.
A disappointing 2020 season led to a change at quarterback and head coach going into the 2021 season for the Eagles. While change always brings with it the potential for good, it also brings a level of uncertainty. Yes, we saw some good things out of Jalen Hurts last season. But we also saw some bad.
Can new and first-time head coach Nick Sirianni get Hurts where the Eagles need him to be? Until the season starts, we do not know.
Luckily, his offensive line is decent (13th according to PFF). While they do not have a No. 1 running back, the running back by committee approach has been productive for the Eagles. Rookie DeVonta Smith gives them at least one playmaker at wide receiver, but the rest of the position group is not worth talking about.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Giants were not a good unit last season. While they did bring in a few new pieces via free agency and the draft, it remains to be seen if they brought in enough. New defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon has his work cut out for him.
NFC East Betting Recommendation
There are only two reasonable options in the NFC East this season—the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Football Team. Both the Giants and Eagles have too many question marks and issues to consider putting money down on them.
While the WFT defense makes them an enticing bet, it is hard to say whether the WFT will have enough offense this season. You could say the same about the Dallas defense, but there is more reason to believe in the Dallas D than the WFT O.
If the WFT odds were higher, there could be value in betting on them. But as is, the only bet worth making here is on Dallas to win the NFC East.
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