The NFC East is often among the most difficult divisions to predict, and that remains the case in the 2015 NFL season. The Dallas Cowboys won the division a year ago, but they won’t have an easy time defending their title.
The Philadelphia Eagles were the last team to win back-to-back NFC East championships, doing so in 2003 and 2004. Even though Dallas is returning a lot of starters that ended last season in first place by two games, they aren’t favored to repeat.
Below is a look at the betting odds to win the NFC East, courtesy of Bovada.lv, as well as a predicted finish for each team.
Philadelphia Eagles (Even)
Philadelphia’s roster saw more turnover than any other NFC East team. They replaced starting quarterback Nick Foles with Sam Bradford, and DeMarco Murray takes over for LeSean McCoy at running back. No.1 wide receiver Jeremy Maclin signed with the Kansas City Chiefs, and the team’s top two wide outs have played just 16 combined regular season games.
If the Eagles stay healthy, they have a chance to be a top NFC team. Philadelphia might have the division’s best defense, and Chip Kelly’s offensive system helped give the Eagles a top-three offense last season. Much will depend on the health of Bradford, who has played just seven games in the last two seasons.
Dallas Cowboys (+170)
Dallas had been favored to repeat as NFC East champions, but that changed over the course of the preseason. Orlando Scandrick might have been the Cowboys’ best defensive player last year, and he’ll miss all of 2015 with an injury. Dallas’ offensive line was banged up throughout training camp, and it was the biggest reason for their success last year.
The Cowboys could have trouble replicating last year’s success, especially with the problems they might have in their secondary. But their offensive line should remain one of the NFL’s best, which means Jason Garrett's squad might still be the team to beat. Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten will put up big numbers, and Joseph Randle showed last year that he can be productive behind this line.
New York Giants (+500)
New York has plenty of reasons to be optimistic about their offense. Odell Beckham Jr. could be the league’s top playmaker, and he’ll be ready to start the season alongside Victor Cruz. Eli Manning is coming off one of his best statistical seasons, and he might be even better in his second year playing for offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo. But the Giants’ defense has numerous question marks in Week 1.
Jason Pierre-Paul has returned to the team, but it’s uncertain how he has recovered from the fireworks incident that left him without an index finger. New York is banged up in the secondary, and their linebacking corps is one of their weakest links. The Giants need their young players like safety Landon Collins and left tackle Ereck Flowers to step up if they want to win the division.
Washington Redskins (+1400)
A case can be made for the Eagles, Cowboys or Giants to win the division, but it might be difficult to do so for the Redskins. Their only chance to win the division seemed to be a bounce-back year from Robert Griffin III, and that won’t happen now that Kirk Cousins has been named the starting quarterback. Even though he’s been considered among the best backups in the league, Cousins only has a 77.5 career passer rating with more interceptions than touchdowns.
Washington ranked 30th in scoring defense last year, and it probably won’t be much better in 2015. It could be another long year for Washington, who has won just seven total games in the last two years. Yet head coach Jay Gruden probably has a few tricks up his sleave to pull off some upsets.
2015 NFC East Prediction
Dallas Cowboys 11-5
New York Giants 9-7
Philadelphia Eagles 8-8
Washington Redskins 5-11