So who's going to win the NFC East this year? Either the Dallas Cowboys or the Philadelphia Eagles could go in your football picks, but stay away from D.C. if you like money.
If there is such a thing as a “glamour” division in the NFL, it has to be the NFC East. Since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, this division has produced 12 Super Bowl winners and 20 conference champions. Only one of the four teams has yet to win the big one, and that could all change this year, if things work out for Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles.
But will they? Unlike over in the AFC, we've got a significant enough difference of opinion between the football odds and the stat-geek projections when it comes to the fight between the Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys for first place in the NFC East. And there might only be one playoff spot to go around this time.
How the East Was Won
Let's start with our official “predictions” here at the home office for how the NFC East standings will look at the end of the regular season:
Philadelphia Eagles 9-7
Dallas Cowboys 9-7
New York Giants 8-8
Washington Redskins 6-10
This seems rather pessimistic for both the Eagles and Cowboys – and maybe a bit hopeful for the Giants. Looking at the win-loss totals, Dallas is on top at 9.5 wins with the OVER favored slightly on our NFL odds board, while Philadelphia is pegged to go UNDER 9.5 wins. Meanwhile, TeamRankings has Philly ahead, 9.6 wins to 8.7, while FiveThirtyEight has it much closer for the Eagles at 9.4 to 9.3.
Understandable. The Cowboys are coming off a 12-4 season, two more wins that the Eagles, and Kelly raised some eyebrows when he brought Sam Bradford in to be the starting quarterback. However, the two teams also ended up swapping some key players, and Philadelphia seemed to get the better end of the bargain with last year's leading tailback, DeMarco Murray (4.7 yards per carry, 13 TDs). So which team will win the NFC East? Either one, according to the projections and our dual forecast, but we're leaning toward Philly.
Everything's Coming up Milhous
The Giants have a chance, too: somewhere between +300 and +599, according to the NFL futures as we go to press. But the marketplace is a bit more keen on New York than the stat geeks, who have the G-Men getting around 7.6 wins. Sportsbooks like 5Dimes have them going OVER eight wins or UNDER 8.5, depending on where you shop. We'll split the difference and project New York to go .500, with no particular expectations in either direction. Some good health would be nice for a change.
The Washington Redskins took the one guy who gave them something special, Robert Griffin III, and they put him directly through the meat grinder. There's some hope for the future with new GM Scot McCloughan, but the present is a desert wasteland; according to the Elo Ratings from the end of last year, Washington is at its lowest point as a franchise since the merger. Even Richard Nixon had better ratings. So when does Dan Snyder get impeached?