NFC East preview: Stiff competition presents value
The competition is fierce in the NFC East.
Dallas narrowly missed the postseason and put Monte Kiffin in charge of revamping a porous defense. The Giants faltered down the stretch after jumping out to a great start last season. The Redskins rode the RGIII train all the way to the division title before the quarterbacks' injury cut their greater aspirations short. Finally, Philly brings in a talented head coach to take the team in a new direction.
Who is going to come out of the East as king of the hill?
Dallas Cowboys (2012: 8-8 SU, 6-10 ATS)
Odds to win division: +200
Season win total: 8.5
Why to bet the Cowboys: It was another 8-8 season for the Dallas Cowboys, and like their 2012 season, they failed to reach the post-season after losing their final regular season game. So they are close, and with solid offensive line play, Romo is capable of leading the Dallas offense to good things. Overall, the Cowboys have talent all over the field to make the playoffs this season.
Why not to bet the Cowboys: The Dallas defense once again allowed 400 points on the season; their second time in three years. That got defensive coordinator Rob Ryan fired and in steps the grizzled veteran Monte Kiffin. Head coach Jason Garrett is terrible, and he should have been sent packing as well. Dallas has the players, but they do not have the right head coach to lead them.
Season win total pick: Over 8.5
New York Giants (2012: 9-7 SU, 7-8-1 ATS)
Odds to win division: +240
Season win total: 9.0
Why to bet the Giants: After beginning last season at 6-2 SU, the New York Giants ended on a disappointing 3-5 run to finish at 9-7 and out of the playoffs. However, the Giants were a much better team than their record indicated. They ranked higher in my power ratings than seven teams that made the playoffs, so there should be value in playing on the Giants this season. Their offense was terrific last season as they scored 429 points which averaged out to 26.8 points per game, 6th best in the NFL.
Why not to bet the Giants: Their problems last year came on defense, not in points allowed (21.5 ppg), but in staying on the field for long stretches which wore them down late in games. That is a concern once again this season, especially since the Giants are not getting any younger.
Season win total pick: Over 9.0
Philadelphia Eagles (2012: 4-12 SU, 3-12-1 ATS)
Odds to win division: +450
Season win total: 7.0
Why to bet the Eagles: Chip Kelly is a tremendous coach, and we really like that the Philadelphia Eagles took a risk by relieving longtime head coach Andy Reid in order to give Kelly a chance. He’s a brilliant football mind, and we saw the spread-read option offense have a lot of success in the NFL last season. Teams will definitely adjust and be ready, but we expect Kelly will be a few steps ahead with his intricate offensive system.
Why not to bet the Eagles: The Eagles still need a lot of holes filled on both sides of the football, and they spent a ton of money to improve their leaky defense. Philadelphia is a team we anticipate watching a lot this season because of Kelly’s exceptional football acumen. However, he will need a couple of years to get his type of players on the team and to get the Eagles back to their winning ways.
Season win total pick: Under 7.0
Washington Redskins (2012: 10-6 SU, 11-5 ATS)
Odds to win division: +250
Season win total: 8.0
Why to bet the Redskins: After starting last season at 3-6 SU, the Redskins finished on a 7-0 run in the regular season to win the division title. Quarterback Robert Griffin III was fantastic and head coach Mike Shanahan used his quarterback to perfection. Unfortunately for Washington, the injury to RGIII in the playoffs sealed their fate. If he can bounce back strong and show no ill-effects from his knee injury, then Washington could possibly repeat last season’s results.
Why not to bet the Redskins: Washington made the playoffs last season despite being out-gained in total yardage on the year. The Redskins had major defensive issues, especially their secondary which ranked #30 in passing yards allowed. Washington still has question marks on defense entering this season, along with a huge concern involving the health of their quarterback RGIII.
Season win total pick: Under 8.0