The NFC East continues to be a division that is extremely hard to predict. The East has not seen a back-to-back divisional champ since the Eagles did it in 2003 and 2004. This trend does not bode well for the Dallas Cowboys who finished 10-6 last season and ended up on the top of the division standings. This year, the two teams that are favored to compete for divisional honors are the Eagles and the Cowboys. Eagles win line is currently at 9.5 and the Cowboys sit at 9. Both the Redskins and Giants are looking to make improvements on last year’s records, but in all likelihood will finish in the 3rd and 4th places when all is said and done.
The team that ends up winning this division will need to have their star players on the field for at least the majority of the year. Dallas continues to work toward getting the best running back in the league, Ezekiel Elliott, back on the field with a new contract. The Eagles will have to protect Carson Wentz and keep him healthy, especially since there will be no Nick Foles to bail them out if Wentz goes down this year. Assuming that everyone is healthy, has a contract, and is out on the field, we should have some great competition in this division. Let’s take a look at each team, how they are going to work through each of their schedules, and see what the likely outcomes are.
New York Giants
2019 Line: 5.5 Wins
2018 Record: 5-11 (2-6 Home, 3-5 Away)
This year’s version of the New York Giants will have a hard time winning football games. Eli Manning hasn’t looked like a competent quarterback in quite some time, and he has fewer weapons this year than he has had most of his career. New York fans are simply waiting for the Eli era to come to a close and hand the reigns over to their top draft pick, Daniel Jones. Odell Beckham Jr. was obviously traded away to Cleveland in the offseason, and the possible replacement brought in, Golden Tate, will be out for the first 4 games of the year after failing a PED drug test after allegedly taking fertility medication. The one shining light on the Giants roster is their stud running back, Saquon Barkley, who should get plenty of reps and some solid statistics.
As we look through the schedule we are going to start with the Divisional games. New York has been beaten up within the division lately, and I don’t see that trend ending this season. The Giants have lost 5 straight games against Philadelphia and only 1 out of the last 10. Against Dallas they have dropped 4 consecutive games. The Redskins and the Giants have split the season series for 4 straight years. Based on these statistics alone, I see the Giants going 1-5 against the NFC East opponents this year. Outside of the division the Giants will face Buffalo (Week 2), Minnesota (5), Arizona (7), Green Bay (13), and Miami (15). The Giants have won the past 2 against Buffalo, but the Bills look to be a much improved team this season. New York has dropped the past 2 games against Minnesota and the Vikings are hoping to compete for a playoff spot this season. The Cardinals still have something to prove with a new QB and head coach after going 3-13 last year, but the Giants have lost 2 straight against the Cards. Green Bay will be a tough game, and yet again, the Giants have lost 2 straight against the Packers. Miami in week 15 should be a game they will compete it, as they have won the past 2 meetings and the Dolphins are not expecting much this season. New York may only end up taking 2 out of 5 games at home this season outside of the division. On the Road the Giants will face Tampa Bay (Week 3), New England (6), Detroit (8), NY Jets (10), and Chicago (12). The Giants have seen recent success over Tampa Bay by winning 4 out of the last 5 matchups including their most recent meeting. New England should overpower the Giants in week 6. Detroit will be an interesting matchup depending on how the Lions play in year two under Matt Patricia. The “away” game against the Jets in Week 10 should be a game in which the Giants compete in. Week 12 against Chicago will be a tough game as well, but the Giants have won the past 2, including a week 13 win against the Bears last year. New York could win 1 to 2 games on the road outside of the division this year.
Overall, the Giants success will be dependent on who is taking snaps and the supporting cast surrounding the quarterback. Saquon Barkley will provide consistency to this offensive unit, but the play by QB1 will either win the Giants a few games or cost them a few games. A best case scenario for New York is an 8-8 finish, and a worst case scenario puts them right around 2-3 wins.
My Prediction: 4-12 (UNDER 5.5 Wins)
2019 Line: 6.5 Wins
2018 Record: 7-9 (3-5 Home, 4-4 Away)
Fans in Washington should have an optimistic outlook on the 2019 season. Yes, you read that correctly. Despite having a couple tough divisional opponents in Dallas and Philadelphia, this Washington team could surprise some people in 2019. The 2018 version of the Redskins started off with a promising 6-3 record before injuries derailed this team and they finished the remainder of the year 1-6. That being said, this team could also find themselves in the basement early on if they don’t start hot. Case Keenum appears to have won the starting QB position over first round draft choice Dwayne Haskins. Keenum led the Minnesota Vikings to the Conference Championship just two years ago. Haskins has a ton of NFL potential and a cannon of an arm. Regardless of who ends up taking the majority of the snaps this season, there will be the possibility of some surprising QB play in Washington.
Washington has had similar success within the division as the Giants have had in recent years. They like to splint the series with the franchise from New York, yet they struggle against both Dallas and Philadelphia. They were swept by Philly last year and have dropped the last 4 meetings with the Eagles. They were able to split the series with the Cowboys in 2018, however have only won 3 out of the past 10 meetings with the team from Texas. A likely record within the division is 1-5. Outside of the division the Redskins will matchup with a mixed bag of teams at home. They face Chicago (Week 3), New England (5), San Francisco (7), NY Jets (11), and Detroit (12). The Redskins have had success against the Bears winning the pat 4 meetings, however they have not had to go up against this Bears defense anchored by Khalil Mack. New England has beaten Washington the past 2 meetings and I don’t see the Pats dropping this one either. San Francisco should be a winnable game and the Giants took the last matchup back in 2017. The Redskins also have active losing streaks against both the Jets (L2) and Lions (L4). If Washington is able to win 3 out of their 5 home games outside of the division it will be a successful run for this team. I would pay attention to the Week 3 matchup against the Bears however. If Washington drops that game, they could be looking at an 0-5 start out of the gate and we might see Dwayne Haskins earlier than anticipated. On the road this season the Redskins will face off against Miami (week 6), Minnesota (8), Buffalo (9), Carolina (13), and Green Bay (14). Miami should be a game that the Redskins try to take advantage of and come away with a win. Minnesota will be a tough order, but if the Vikings perform as they did last year the Redskins will have a chance. Buffalo is a very similar team to Washington, so I anticipate this being a good game, with the slight edge going to the Bills with home field advantage. Carolina is a team they typically struggle with, although Washington was able to beat them in 2018. Green Bay is also another team they beat in 2018, but the Packers will be much better if Aaron Rodgers remains on the field in 2019. A road record of 2-3 outside the division remains a likely fate for the 2019 Redskins.
In all honesty, this team is still a year or two away from making any real noise in the NFC or the division. Their success is going to be determined by the quarterback play. If things click and the Redskins play above their means their ceiling is right around 9 wins. If things head south and the injury bug bites this team yet again they could be faced with a 4-12 season.
My Prediction: 5-11 (UNDER 6.5 Wins)
2019 Line: 9 Wins
2018 Record: 10-6 (7-1 Home, 3-5 Away)
To nobody’s surprise, the Cowboy’s offseason has been filled with drama and questions regarding their biggest stars. Ezekiel Elliott remains sidelined as he hopes to find a new contract and get paid the money that he feels he deserves. Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper have avoided the dramatics for the most part, but that hasn’t stopped reporters and analysts across the country from debating who should be getting paid what and when. If Zeke is able to come to an agreement and get back on the field, this Dallas offense should have enough firepower to compete with the strongest teams in the league. The Dallas defense is also going to be be solid with some young talent anchoring Rod Marinelli’s squad. Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, Byron Jones, and Demarcus Lawrence are planning on terrorizing offenses all season long.
The 2018 Dallas Cowboys success was largely solidified by their Divisional play. They finished with a 5-1 record within the division. If they look to repeat as NFC East Champs they will have to replicate that success as well. They swept the series against both the Eagles and Giants, and split with Washington. I expect the Eagles and Cowboys to play a couple tight games and likely splitting the season series. The Cowboys should be favored to win the other 4 matchups against the Redskins and Giants. A 5-1 record against the division this year is not out of the question again. Outside of the division the Cowboys will host Miami (Week 3), Green Bay (5), Minnesota (10), Buffalo (13), and the LA Rams (15). Miami will be a team that the Cowboys look to take advantage of and get an early season win. Green Bay has beaten the Cowboys in their past 2 meetings, but the Packers have not been a dominant team for a few seasons now. Minnesota will be a tough matchup, but Dallas should be favored to win this game as well. Buffalo is an opponent that Dallas should match up well against and should be able to handle. Week 15 against the Rams will be a fun game. It will be a rematch of last year’s divisional round game in which the Rams won. Dallas will definitely be marking this one on the calendar as they try to avenge last years defeat. Four wins at home in these five games is a definite possibility. Dallas’ road schedule is where the Cowboys will see some major challenges. They travel to New Orleans (Week 4), NY Jets (6), Detroit (11), New England (12), and Chicago (14). New Orleans will be a tough opponent, but Dallas proved that their defense can shut down even the strongest opponents when they held the Saints to only 10 points in their game last year. The Jets are improved, but the Cowboys should go into this game as the favorite. Detroit hopes to be better this season as well, but Dallas has been able to handle the Lions in recent years. New England is New England, so a win in Foxboro will be a tall order for this team. The Bears will also be a tough defense to break, especially late in the season in the Windy City. Getting to 3 wins out of this set of games will be a challenge, and I expect that number to be around 2 or possibly 1.
Make no mistake, this Dallas team has a ton of potential to do some damage in the NFC, but they will need all of their weapons to do so. They have the possibility to make a deep playoff run, but if they don’t get everyone on the field and on the same page they could find themselves fighting for their playoff lives. A best case scenario puts this team around the 12 win mark. Worst case has them riding around 6 or 7 wins.
My Prediction: 11-5 (OVER 9 Wins)
2019 Line: 9.5 Wins
2018 Record: 9-7 (5-3 Home, 4-4 Away)
Philadelphia hopes to have a deep playoff run this season and they definitely have the potential to do so. Their offense is primed to have another huge year and Carson Wentz should thrive in Doug Pederson’s aggressive system as long as he can stay on the field. The receiving core of Alshon Jeffrey, Nelson Agholor, DeSean Jackson, and tight end Zach Ertz will give Wentz plent of options to sling the ball around. Jordan Howard should provide the Eagles with plenty of balance on offense running the ball. The Eagles defense is hoping to gain some consistency this season, especially when it comes to defending the pass. Last year’s Eagles ranked 30th against the pass, and dead last in the NFC. This will have to improve, or the Eagles will drop a couple shootouts throughout the year.
Philly had success in the division last year, but they were swept by the Cowboys which ultimately let to them sliding into a Wildcard spot rather than hosting a playoff game as a divisional champ. This year the Eagles are hoping to keep Wentz on the field which should lead to 2 wins against the Giants, 2 wins against the Redskins, and a likely split with the Cowboys. A 5-1 record inside the division gets this team off on the right foot. The Eagles home slate outside of the division looks like this: Detroit (Week 3), NY Jets (5), Chicago (9), New England (11), and Seattle (12). This list of home games is going to be extremely challenging for this team. Detroit is improved, but the Eagles should be favored despite dropping the last 2 games against the Lions. The Jets will be a team that the Eagles try to take advantage of and pad the win column here. Chicago will be out to avenge their Wildcard loss against the Eagles last year and the Bears defense should give Philly some headaches. New England faces off against Philly for the first time since the Super Bowl a couple years ago. Brady and Belichick haven’t forgotten about that one, so they will be out for blood. Seattle has recently owned the Eagles winning the pat 4 matchups against the birds. No matter how you break it down, the Eagles will be challenged on their home field this year. Expect 2-3 wins coming from this group of games. The Eagles road games are a little less challenging, but they are not in the clear. They face off against Atlanta (Week 2), Green Bay (4), Minnesota (6), Buffalo (8), and Miami (13). Atlanta will be a challenge going up against the high flying passing attack featuring Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. This will not be a favorable matchup considering Philadelphia’s struggle against the passing attack last year. Green Bay is always a challenge at Lambeau, and once again the pass defense will be key as they try to slow down Aaron Rodgers. Minnesota matches up well against the Eagles and I am excited for this game. Philadelphia’s offense against one of the best defenses in the league should be high value entertainment. Buffalo will put up a fight, but Philadelphia needs to take advantage of the Bills in this matchup. Lastly, Miami is a game that Philadelphia will need late in the year to solidify a playoff spot heading into their last 4 games which are all within the division. An optimistic outlook for Philly on the road gives them 4 wins here, but dropping another to either the Falcons, Packers, or Vikings could drop this to 3.
Eagles fans should be optimistic heading into this year and they should expect to compete with the Cowboys for the NFC East title. An optimistic outlook for the Eagles gives them 12 wins, but a pessimistic point of view can see them only getting to 8.
My Prediction: 10-6 (OVER 9.5 Wins)