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In a little over 10 weeks, the greatest sport and the best sport to gamble on returns. People have started to break down who will be on their fantasy team, and fans have convinced themselves that this will be their year, even though their team missed the playoffs last year. This is the time when fans are the most hopeful, no injuries are happening in training camp, and your heart isn’t broken because you haven’t yet realized that your team sucks.
Today we look into the NFC East. My favorite team is the Eagles, but I’m going to push down my fandom and my hatred for the Cowboys. Last year, the Washington Football Team won the division going 7-9. The Cowboys and Giants both finished the year going 6-10. The Eagles were the worst team in the division, going 4-11-1. There has been no repeat division winner in the NFC East since the Eagles went back to back in 2004.
Another year of Cowboys hype has passed, and once again, they didn’t live up to it. Last year they finished 6-10. Their failures were large because Dak Prescott broke his ankle on October 11th and missed most of the season. Cowboys fans will say it was all because of Dak, but those same fans will ignore how horrendous their defense was. Dallas’s defense was ranked 28th, 28th for points allowed, 23rd yards allowed, 31st rushing yards allowed, and 27th in passing touchdowns allowed.
The Cowboys have gone all-in on offense with a star wide receiver corps in Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb. The Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott didn’t show up last year, and maybe that was because they were without Dak, or maybe it was the beginning of his decline. In 2020, Elliot had 979 yards in 15 games, 65.3 yards per game, 6 touchdowns, 22.5 passing yards per game and 6 fumbles.
Dallas has tried to upgrade their defense by drafting LB Micah Parsons, CB Kelvin Joesph, and DT Osa Odighizuwa. They also tried to upgrade through free agency but could only sign DL Brent Urban and EDGE Tarrell Basham. Some of their key losses were obviously QB Andy Dalton, who I don’t think was a huge loss if Dak is going to be healthy, CB Chidobe Awuzie and LS L.P Ladouceur. If Dak isn’t healthy, they will have Garrett Gilbert starting at quarterback.
Even with my hatred gone, I still don’t trust the Cowboys’ defense, Mike McCarthy, or Dak Prescott’s health. This team hasn’t greatly approved this offseason, was tied for 2nd and still barely gets positive odds. No use picking them to win the division. I will also be taking their under in wins. Some key highlights from their schedule are Week 1 vs. the Buccaneers, Week 8 vs. the Broncos, Week 10 vs. the Chiefs, and Week 16 vs. the Cardinals. Week 8 and 16 are games that the Cowboys need to win if they want to get over 9.5 wins.
Remember when I said that nobody had won the NFC East back to back since 2004? Well, Washington is trying to break that streak this year. Last year, they won the division going 7-9. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins was dismal at the beginning of the year, but then Alex Smith returned from his horrible injury and helped Washington make the playoffs. Both Haskins and Smith are now gone, and Ryan Fitzpatrick is now leading the team. It’s not great for Washington fans and gamblers that Fitzpatrick has never made the playoffs in his 16 seasons. Everybody thinks of Fitzpatrick and his magical games where he goes scorched earth and throws for 400 yards. Those games normally happen at the beginning of the season, and by the end, he’s a mediocre quarterback.
Washington last year had the 6th best overall defense, 4th points allowed, 2nd yards allowed, 2nd pass yards allowed, and 2nd in passing touchdowns allowed. The main reason they made the playoffs was because of their great defense led by superstar Chase Young. They added more defense by drafting LB Jamin Davis.
Their offense didn’t help out their defense last year; if anything, it hindered their ability to win games. They had the 28th overall offense, 25th points, 25th passing yards, 28th passing touchdowns, 26th rushing yards, and 13th rushing touchdowns. Washington’s offense should be fully overhauled with the addition of Fitzpatrick, but the Football Team didn’t stop there. They added WR Curtis Samuel and WR Adam Humphries in free agency. Through the draft, they added OT Samuel Cosmi and WR Dyami Brown.
I believe that their offense will be a lot better than last year, but I still don’t trust Fitzpatrick. This is why I’m not taking them to win the division, but I will be taking their over in wins. Last year, they won 7 games in 16 games, and this year, there will be 17 games. They will have some games they have no chance of winning, but Fitzmagic will pull them ahead.
Last year the Giants went 6-10, and like the rest of the division, they were plagued with injuries. Star RB Saquon Barkley missed most of the season with a torn ACL. The Giants missed his 1000+ yards and his 50+ receptions. Daniel Jones battled his own injuries, though he threw for 2,943 yards, a QBR of 61.5, 11 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. A healthy Saquon healthy should take pressure off of Jones, and some key free agency additions — WR Kenny Golladay, WR John Ross III, RB Devontae Booker, and TE Kyle Rudolph — will greatly help out the offense. These additions can’t make their offense worse than last year. They had the 23rd overall offense, 31st points, 31st yards, 29th passing yards, and 31st passing touchdowns.
Coach Joe Judge runs a strict Belichick-style of team that specializes in defense. The Giants’ defense was good, but not great. They had the 17th overall defense, 8th points allowed, 12th yards allowed, 16th passing yards allowed, 5th passing touchdowns allowed, and 10th rushing yards allowed. In free agency, they added CB Adoree Jackson and drafted EDGE Azeez Ojulari.
Between the additions that the Giants have made, Daniel Jones taking a step this season, Saquon being healthy, and Joe Judge running a great defense, I have the Giants winning the NFC East and their over in wins. At +400 odds, I’m willing to gamble on a team that was only one game behind the winner last year and that improved greatly.
Last year was the definition of a dumpster fire season for the Eagles. It was only 4 years ago when Nick Foles and Doug Pederson finished a great underdog story and brought a Super Bowl to Philly. Most of those players are now gone, including Wentz, and Pederson has been fired. The Eagles have a new coach, new quarterback and are fully in the rebuild mode. Rookie head coach Nick Sirianni will be the coach during this rebuild, and Jalen Hurts will be the quarterback. Truthfully I’m meh on both of them. Before joining Philly, Sirianni was the offensive coordinator for the Colts. You know, the team that is coached by ex-Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich.
I was preaching it all last year, but I don’t think that Jalen Hurts is the answer for the Eagles. I truly don’t think he’s a legitimate starting quarterback. Last year in the 4 games that Hurts started, he went 1-3, 52% completion, 6 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 1,061 yards, and a 41 QBR. Everyone seemed to blame Wentz that the offense was so bad, but Hurts didn’t light up the stat sheet when he started. Last year’s Eagles had the 21st overall offense, 26th points, 24th yards, 28th passing yards, 9th rushing yards, and 15th rushing touchdowns. The Eagles’ offense lost two dinosaurs who couldn’t stay healthy, WR DeSean Jackson and WR Alshon Jeffery. They added RB Kerryon Johnson in free agency for some reason, even though Miles Sanders has clearly shown he is the number one running back. The Eagles actually took one of the best wide receivers, DeVonta Smith, and tried to sell it that it was this magical find.
The defense for the Eagles wasn’t some stone wall that running backs couldn’t get through. They had the 13th overall defense, 19th points allowed, 19th yards allowed, 15th pass yards allowed, 23rd rushing yards allowed, and 25th in rushing touchdowns allowed. They lost S Jalen Mills but added DE Ryan Kerrigan and S Anthony Harris in free agency. During the draft, they added CB Zech McPhearson.
This isn’t a great team. Hopefully, Lane Johnson will be healthy, and the offensive line will be better. Maybe Fletcher Cox can turn back time and look great again. Unfortunately, I don’t think any of that matters with Hurts as the quarterback. I’m obviously not taking this team to win the division, and I’m taking their under in wins. I would rather be wrong with this pick and lose money and win with my fandom, but I don’t see that happening.