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Who Could Crash the Eagles’ Party in NFC East?

No Repeat Champ in 19 Years

The Philadelphia Eagles could be entering one of the best stretches in franchise history. After falling short in Super Bowl 57 with a 38-35 loss against the Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia is hungry with a Lombardi Trophy on its mind. The Eagles will likely begin the 2023 season as the favorite to win the NFC. NFL odds currently have Philly at +325, compared to the San Francisco 49ers at +375.

The Eagles lost a handful of key defensive players in free agency, including defensive tackle Javon Hargrave and safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson. However, they replenished with an outstanding 2023 NFL Draft class, including first-round defensive tackle Jalen Carter. Philadelphia also made quarterback Jalen Hurts one of the highest-paid players in the league with a five-year, $255 million extension. The Eagles have their core locked up and are ready to contend for years to come.

Who Could Crash the Eagles’ Party in NFC East?
Jalen Hurts #1 of the Philadelphia Eagles - Christian Petersen/Getty Images/afp

However, the NFC East has been one of the league’s most fickle divisions for years. No team has won back-to-back titles since Philly did it from 2001-04. Could an NFC East rival knock the birds off their flight path?

Cowboys & Giants Go Bird Hunting?

The NFC East will likely be a two-horse race between the Eagles and Dallas Cowboys. The sportsbook has Philadelphia priced at -105 to win the division with Dallas closely behind (+175). The New York Giants come off a surprise nine-win season. Few expected the G-Men to do much last season. They should not be counted out for a divisional crown (+650). The Washington Commanders are clearly the team behind the rest. If they managed to win the NFC East (+1000), this would likely be the most surprising story of the NFL season.

The Cowboys are clearly the Eagles’ best competition in the NFC East. Despite annual collapses, NFL expert picks are labeling Dallas as a potential contender, as it sits at +600 to win the NFC. The Cowboys finished two games behind Philadelphia last season. They also kept pace with the Eagles in the offseason by adding cornerback Stephon Gilmore and wide receiver Brandin Cooks.

Dallas winning the NFC East is a realistic choice for your NFL predictions. This could come down to head-to-head matchups, and Philadelphia is 1-4 in its last five games against the Cowboys. On paper, Dallas should match up as well. Its offensive line is usually good enough to hold up against the Eagles’ elite defensive line. Edge rusher Micah Parsons is always a handful, even for Philadelphia’s stacked O-line.

Wide receiver Ceedee Lamb was also a nightmare for Philly last season, totaling 120 receiving yards in the most recent matchup. With the addition of Cooks and Michael Gallup nearing full health from an ACL tear in the 2021 season, the Cowboys’ wide receiving corps could vastly improve. This gives Lamb more freedom to wreak havoc.

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New York made upgrades as well with the additions of tight end Darren Waller and rookies cornerback Deonte Banks, center John Michael Schmitz and wide receiver Jalin Hyatt. Despite a lack of talent on offense last season, the Giants managed to finish sixth in rushing yards per game while averaging over 20 points. Brian Daboll won Coach of the Year in 2022; he could pull off another masterclass. With an improved supporting cast around quarterback Daniel Jones, the passing game should take noticeable strides.

NFC East Always Surprises

Few seasons go as expected in the NFC East. Are the Eagles the best team heading into the season? Absolutely, one could argue by a landslide. Philadelphia could fail to win the division and still have a more successful postseason compared to the Cowboys or Giants. Ultimately, leaning on the trends could yield success for NFL picks. No team has repeated in 19 years. It’s difficult to go against that.

The favorite won the division in consecutive seasons – the Cowboys in 2021 and the Eagles in 2022. However, 2020’s winner was something no one saw coming. Washington had the longest odds, coming in at above +1000 on most online NFL betting markets. In 2019, Dallas and Philadelphia were the favorites, and the Eagles won the NFC East to prevent a Cowboys repeat. Philly had the shortest odds in 2018 (-150), followed by Dallas at +350. Guess who won the division? You got it, the Cowboys to prevent yet another team from grabbing back-to-back divisional titles.

Most bettors will back the Eagles to win the NFC East heading into the 2023 season. Philly is clearly the team to beat. It has a loaded roster with elite units on both sides of the ball led by one of the NFL’s brightest coaches, Nick Sirianni. But this division is wonky and unpredictable. Even major underdogs, like Washington in 2020, have managed to win the division to fend off a repeat.

Maybe New York will be the next team to win the division with long odds. Dallas is the safest bet to spoil Philadelphia’s party. The two have won three divisional crowns apiece since 2016. Who knows what the NFC East has in store for us in the 2023 season? It could be another surprise with the reigning champs falling short.

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