Friday, September 2, 2016

My Fearless Forecast for the NFC East

The Eagles just completed a perfect 4-0 run through the preseason, but that has not changed the fact that they still have the longest odds on the board at BetAnySports to win the NFC East this season. The race to a title in the NFC East this season is expected to be the tightest one in the league according to the NFL divisional futures odds now that Tony Romo is out of the lineup in Dallas for the foreseeable future. Things could easily come down to the outcome of Week 17's games with New York on the road against Washington and the Eagles playing host to the Cowboys.

The Redskins start the new season as the defending division champs after going 9-7 last year, but they have the third-best odds to repeat. Dallas had been the favorite to win the NFC East the entire offseason, but with Romo on the shelf they have fallen into the second-favorite position behind the Giants. The following is a direct quote from a NFC East preview piece I wrote for early last month detailing my official prediction for the NFC East this season:

2016 NFC East Prediction

The early money has been on the Cowboys as slight favorites, but Romo is just one hard sack away from another shoulder injury. The Redskins will have a hard time defending last season’s division title and Philadelphia is still a few years away from possibly turning things around. This all adds up to New York taking its turn in the rotation by winning the NFC East at 9-7.

I thought the Romo injury would have come in the regular season, but it just goes to show how vulnerable this team really is without him in the lineup in the eyes of the betting public. Cowboy fans can get as pumped up as they want about rookie quarterback Dak Prescott, but he is definitely in store for a few "welcome to the NFL' moments over the next few weeks. Romo could be back in as early as six weeks, but I have a sneaky suspicion that his days in Dallas as the starting quarterback could be in jeopardy if Prescott has any level of success in his place.

Washington still has the pieces in place to make a repeat run behind quarterback Kirk Cousins given the overall parity in this division and if Sam Bradford can stay healthy and upright while playing to his potential, the Birds can hang around in this race deep into December. With everything I have seen from all four teams this preseason, the scales still tip slightly in the Giants' favor. They have a veteran quarterback at the helm who has already guided this team to two Super Bowl victories and if Victor Cruz can return to form, they would have the most formidable receiving corps in the division (sorry Dallas fans).

None the less, it should be a very interesting season in the NFC East and the only change I might make to my earlier prediction is that 8-8 could be a realistic record to win the title in 2016.

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