Odds to Win the 2018 NFC East - Picks and Analysis
The 2017 season was the first time a team from the NFC East won the Super Bowl since the New York Giants upset New England in 2011. The Philadelphia Eagles will now try to become the first team from this division since the 1993 Dallas Cowboys to win back-to-back NFL titles.
The NFL futures odds at BetOnline Sportsbook suggest a one-team race to this year’s NFC East title with Philadelphia set as the clear favorite. However, you would have to go back all the way to 2004 to find the last time any team has won back-to-back titles in this highly competitive division.
Philadelphia Eagles -150
The Eagles dominated the NFC East in the early 2000's with four-straight titles from 2001 to 2004, and they also won the division in 2010 and 2013 before last year's magical Super Bowl run. Philadelphia relished the role of the underdog all the way through its stunning 41-33 upset over New England in Super Bowl LII as a 4.5-point underdog. Those days are over with a bull’s eye squarely on its back heading into 2018.
There is a good reason why the Eagles are heavy favorites to repeat as division champs. They return most of the pieces from last year's championship run and all indications point towards third-year phenom Carson Wentz resuming his role as the team's starting quarterback in Week 1 against Atlanta. Nick Foles might have been the Super Bowl MVP, but Wentz was the reason the Eagles earned the top seed in the NFC before going down with that knee injury. If he does return to form, this will be a one-team race.
Dallas Cowboys +400
The Cowboys appeared to be the team on the rise in the NFC East going from four wins in 2015 to a 13-3 record and division title the following season. Last year's step back to 9-7 puts Dallas at a crossroads for 2018. Its projected win total for the regular season is set at 8.5 with an even betting line of -110 for the UNDER or the OVER. You would have to go back to 2009 to find the last time Dallas posted three winning seasons in a row.
The pressure to keep the Cowboys’ winning streak alive is firmly on the shoulders of Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott. As rookies in 2016, both players were the talk of the town in that 13-win campaign. Prescott suffered a sophomore slump with Elliott sitting out six games due to a league suspension. If these two players can return to form, that could be enough to keep things much more competitive with Philly this time around.
New York Giants +500
The Giants could probably be described as the team with the most potential to win the division. They are also the most unpredictable team in the NFC East. Unlikely Super Bowl runs in 2007 and 2011 started this pattern, and it was confirmed last season with a record of 3-13 after a playoff run the previous season at 11-5. The reins have been handed to Pat Shurmur as head coach with the goal of building a team that can successfully compete in this division every year.
Eli Manning remains at the helm at quarterback, but some of the pressure to move the ball downfield and score points will be shifted to the ground game behind Saquon Barkley as the second-overall pick in this year’s draft. Pro Bowl wide receiver Odell Beckham is back after an injury-riddled 2017 campaign to shore up the passing game, but multiple question marks remain on the other side of the ball.
Washington Redskins +600
Stuck in the middle would be a good way to describe Washington over the past few seasons. Going back to 2015, the Redskins won the NFC East at 9-7. They slipped to 8-7-1 the following season ahead of last year’s seven-win effort. Jay Gruden remains the team’s head coach, but he could find his job in jeopardy with another sub-.500 result.
If Washington does slide backward, fans will want to blame ownership for letting Kirk Cousins slip away in free agency. In his place is veteran quarterback Alex Smith, who enjoyed a pretty high level of success working with Andy Reid in Kansas City. The Redskins will need quite a few breaks to fall their way to remain competitive in this division since the -140 betting odds on the UNDER for seven wins is definitely not a vote of confidence.