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NFL Analysis: Handicapping NFC East

Eagles Favored to Win Second Straight Division Title

Will Offensive Departures Slow Cowboys?

There hasn’t been a repeat champion of the NFC East since the Philadelphia Eagles won division titles in 2004 and 2005. Coming off a trip to the Super Bowl and after strengthening the defense with two more former University of Georgia stars, the Eagles could change that with the NFL predictions favoring Philadelphia to make it back-to-back division titles.

The Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants joined Philadelphia in the playoffs in 2022 and the Washington Commanders … well, they will soon be rid of owner Daniel Snyder as that has garnered plenty of attention in the NFL news cycle.

NFL Analysis: Handicapping NFC East
Players celebrate Philadelphia Eagles | Angela weiss / afp

After having three of the top 15 selections in the 2022 NFL Draft, NFC East teams had just one top-15 selection in 2023 and that was the Eagles picking defensive tackle Jalen Carter.

This is still the Philadelphia Eagles’ division to win, although this could be one of the most competitive divisions in football and one that draws plenty of NFL betting action.

The Philadelphia Eagles are not just favored to win the division title but also have the best odds at +325 to win the NFC championship according to the sportsbook.

When looking at the NFL picks, the Eagles are tied for second, the Cowboys are tied for sixth and the Giants tied for 14th in the odds to win the Super Bowl.

Philadelphia Eagles

  • 2022 record: 14-3 (lost to Kansas City in the Super Bowl)
  • Odds to win the division: +105
  • Odds to win the NFC: +325
  • Regular season win total: 10½ (Over -150, Under +120)
  • Award candidates: Jalen Carter, +650 Defensive Rookie of the Year; Nolan Smith, +1400 Defensive Rookie of the Year; Jalen Hurts, +800 NFL Most Valuable Player and +2000 Offensive Player of the Year; A.J. Brown, +5000 Offensive Player of the Year.

Could the Eagles actually be better in 2023 than they were in 2022?

Former Georgia stars Carter, Nolan Smith and Kelee Ringo were added to the defense, giving them five members of the 2021 Bulldogs defense that will go down as one of the most dominant in recent college football history.

Another Georgia product, running back DeAndre Swift, comes in from the Detroit Lions after Miles Sanders landed in Carolina.

Greedy Williams, Justin Evans and Terrell Edmunds were added to a secondary that lost safeties C.J. Gardner-Johnson and Marcus Epps.

The Eagles also bid adieu to offensive tackle Andre Dillard, guard Isaac Seumalo, defensive tackle Javon Hargrave and linebacker Kyzir White.

Playing a first-place schedule will make things more challenging, but the offense should be even better if the line comes together with Jalen Hurts, A.J. Brown, Dallas Goedert and DeVonte Smith ready for an encore.

Dallas Cowboys

  • 2022 record: 12-5 (lost to San Francisco in division playoffs)
  • Odds to win the division: +180
  • Odds to win the NFC: +600
  • Regular season win total: 9½ (Over -140, Under +110)
  • Award candidates: Micah Parsons, +700 Defensive Player of the Year; Mazi Smith, +3300 Defensive Rookie of the Year; Tony Pollard, +4000 Comeback Player of the Year and +5000 Offensive Player of the Year; Dak Prescott, +2000 NFL Most Valuable Player and +5000 Offensive Player of the Year.

Once again, the question surrounding the Dallas Cowboys centers around the inability to get things done in the postseason.

The offense won’t have veteran running back Ezekiel Elliott or reliable tight end Dalton Schultz back. Tony Pollard will take over as the lead back with the Cowboys.

Running back Ronald Jones was brought in from Kansas City and the Cowboys also added guard Chuma Edoga.

The biggest additions could be receiver Brandin Cooks and cornerback Stephon Gilmore. Will that be enough for the Cowboys to exceed the Las Vegas NFL odds predictions by winning 10 games during the regular season?

The selection of defensive tackle Mazi Smith caught some by surprise. However, being in a division with run-heavy Eagles and Giants teams, it makes sense to improve the run defense.

With quarterback Dak Prescott, receiver CeeDee Lamb, pass rusher extraordinaire Micah Parsons and cornerback Trevon Diggs, the Cowboys don’t lack for talent.

New York Giants

  • 2022 record: 9-7-1 (lost to Philadelphia in division playoffs)
  • Odds to win the division: +550
  • Odds to win the NFC: +2000
  • Regular season win total: 8½ (Over Even, Under -130)
  • Award candidates: Saquon Barkley, +1800 Offensive Player of the Year; Jalin Hyatt, +2800 Offensive Rookie of the Year; Daniel Jones, +5000 NFL Most Valuable Player; Kayvon Thibodeaux, +5000 Defensive Player of the Year.

The Giants snuck up on teams in Brian Daboll’s first season as the head coach. That won’t happen again in 2023.

The Giants haven’t made consecutive playoff appearances since 2007 and 2008 so that is the goal heading into 2023.

New York did lose offensive linemen Jon Feliciano and Nick Gates via free agency.

The Giants made a big move with the acquisition of former Raiders tight end Darren Waller. Receivers Parris Campbell and Jamison Crowder along with third-round pick Jalin Hyatt will team with Waller to give quarterback Daniel Jones more options in the passing game.

Linebacker Bobby Okereke and cornerback Amani Oruwariye are among the offseason acquisitions on defense.

The top two draft picks (cornerback Deonte Banks and center John Michael Schmitz) could contribute immediately.

Washington Commanders

  • 2022 record: 8-8-1 (missed playoffs)
  • Odds to win the division: +900
  • Odds to win the NFC: +3000
  • Regular season win total: 7½ (Over +120, Under -150)
  • Award candidates: Emmanuel Forbes, +1200 Defensive Rookie of the Year; Chase Young, +4000 Comeback Player of the Year and +5000 Defensive Player of the Year; Terry McLaurin, +5000 Offensive Player of the Year.

Another year, another starting quarterback for the Commanders.

Second-year QB Sam Howell is being given the keys to the offense. Running back Brian Robinson and receiver Jahan Dotson, also drafted in 2022, will team with receiver Terry McLaurin to lead the offense.

There are plenty of options in the running game with Robinson, Antonio Gibson and Jaret Patterson joined by rookie Chris Rodriguez.

Offensive tackle Andrew Wylie comes over from the Super Bowl champion Chiefs.

The Commanders should have one of the best defensive fronts again with Chase Young, Montez Sweat, Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne all returning.

Cornerback Emmanuel Forbes was picked in the first round to help in the secondary.

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