Does Anyone Want To Win the NFC East?

November 18, 2020

Good things were supposed to happen in the NFC East this season. The Dallas Cowboys were favored to win with the Philadelphia Eagles not too far behind. Both even had decent odds to win the NFC and had a good shot at Super Bowl glory even.

As for the Washington Football Team and New York Giants, fans had reason to believe their teams would make progress this year. But that was about it.

But then the Dallas Cowboys struggled out of the gate and then lost Dak Prescott for the year. The Philadelphia Eagles had injury issues of their own and have not played well. Dwayne Haskins failed to progress and got benched, and the Giants lost Saquon Barkley for the season—again.

Oh—and Daniel Jones did not appear to be progressing either. Just like that, a division that held promise before the season began became the worst division in the NFL.

Heading into Week 11, the NFC East has seven wins (the Eagles and Giants have three each; Cowboys and Washington have two each). There are six teams in the league with as many wins or more than the entire NFC East.

So—yeah, it is safe to say things have gone really wrong for the NFC East. But regardless of how bad the whole division is, someone must win it.

Oddsmakers held out hope for the Dallas Cowboys for a couple of weeks after Dak Prescott went down, but the Eagles eventually became the new favorite despite their struggles. Washington looked like a potential threat for a couple of weeks but have seen their odds go back up (+800; odds via WilliamHill) as they continued to lose games.

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At one time, the Giants saw their odds to win the NFC East climb as high as +4000, now look like they might have a shot (+280). They are on a bye in Week 11 but will look to win their third in a row in Week 12 when they take on the Cincinnati Bengals.

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Anyone Can Still Win The NFC East

Oddsmakers and gamblers are likely still holding out hope for the Philadelphia Eagles (-150) because they were not supposed to be as bad as they have been this year. In recent years, head coach Doug Pederson has shown a unique ability to get the team on track midseason for a second-half run.

If he can do that again this season, winning the division will not be hard. But with their injury issues and Carson Wentz’s struggles, it is hard to see him pulling off such a turnaround this year.

With how the Cowboys looked against the Steelers last week, an argument could be made that they are not out of it yet (+650). If the defense can continue to improve and the offense can move the ball as it did against Pittsburgh, there is hope.

However, it sounds like the team will be turning back to Andy Dalton now that he is out of the concussion protocol. With Garrett Gilbert behind center, the offense looked decent; with Dalton, it did not.

But Dalton has more of an NFL pedigree, so McCarthy will likely go with him—which means the end of any hopes of a turnaround for the Cowboys.

As for Washington, their defense is certainly good enough to keep them in most games. But they must win the games they have a chance to win and can’t afford to lose any more close ones (the last three losses came by a field goal or less). 

Of the four teams, the Giants may have the most potential. They have won three of their last six and had a chance to win all six. Daniel Jones is starting to play better, the defense is playing well, and they may have found a decent running game between Wayne Gallman and Jones.

They are still not a good team, but they may be the best of the worst.

So – How Should You Bet?

Betting Play: The Giants to win the NFC East, but a little something on Washington, too (just in case).

Eagles fans will remain confident in their team, but there is no reason for a non-fan to believe in them. Diehard Dallas fans are probably going to hold out hope as well. But it just isn’t going to happen for them, either.

Washington is an intriguing option. Their defense is one of the better ones in the league. They have good skill position players, and Alex Smith looked promising in his first two starts. If he can continue to improve and limit the interceptions, Washington may be able to go on a run.

But a similar argument can be made for the Giants. Their defense is also one of the better ones in the league, and they also have some good skill position guys. While Daniel Jones has had his share of struggles, he has looked good the last two weeks.

Neither has a favorable schedule down the stretch, so it will likely come down to who can win the game(s) they are not supposed to win.

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