The NFC East is often the worst division in football, and last year it was historically bad. There is no guarantee that it will be any different this time around, either. Neither the Dallas Cowboys, the Washington Football Team, the New York Giants, nor the Philadelphia Eagles are expected to be serious Super Bowl contenders in 2021-22.
Of course, someone has to win the division. Last season it was Washington, despite compiling a thoroughly unspectacular 7-9 record. New York and Dallas came in one game behind at 6-10, while Philadelphia was last at 4-11-1. Who will back their way into a division title a few months from now? Or will one of these teams actually deserve to make the playoffs? Let’s break down the NFC East.
If you’re looking for more in-depth analysis and futures picks ahead of the 2021 NFL season, be sure to check out our predictions for who wins Super Bowl 56, as well as our assessment of which three teams will improve dramatically this year, and which teams will regress. As for individuals, we have also taken a look at the main player markets—including MVP and Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Dallas Cowboys (+150)
Super Bowl odds: +3500
2020 record: 6-10
2020 ATS record: 5-11
Coaching hires: Dan Quinn (defensive coordinator), Joe Whitt Jr. (secondary coach), Aden Durde (defensive line coach), Harold Nash (strength and conditioning coordinator)
Top draft picks: Micah Parsons (LB), Kelvin Joseph (CB), Osa Odighizuwa (DT)
Free agency adds: Jourdan Lewis (CB), Tarell Basham (LB), Keanu Neal (S)
Free agency losses: Andy Dalton (QB), Cameron Erving (OT), Chidobe Awuzie (CB),
Dallas has gone two straight years without compiling a winning record and it has not played in the NFC Championship since the 1995 season. The Cowboys had realistic aspirations to contend in 2020, but Dak Prescott going down all but ended those ideas. Owner Jerry Jones and head coach Mike McCarthy are hoping a healthy Prescott and new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn will make for improvement on both sides of the ball. The Cowboys have the most talent in this division, but will talent doesn’t always win out—especially not in the chaos that is the NFC East.
Washington Football Team (+260)
Super Bowl odds: +5000
2020 record: 7-9
2020 ATS record (inc. playoffs): 10-7
Coaching hires: Jim Hostler (senior offensive assistant), Drew Terrell (WR coach)
Top draft picks: Jamin Davis (LB), Samuel Cosmi (OT), Benjamin St-Juste (CB)
Free agency adds: Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB), William Jackson (CB), Curtis Samuel (WR), Charles Leno (OT)
Free agency losses: Ronald Darby (CB), Kevin Pierre-Louis (LB), Morgan Moses (OT)
A record of 7-9 was good enough for the Football Team to secure the NFC East crown. They actually played the eventual Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers tough in round one of the playoffs, too. That gives Washington some momentum heading into 2021. Ryan Fitzpatrick should be able to stabilize the quarterback position and a Chase Young-led defense is on the rise. Head coach Ron Rivera has this franchise going in the right direction—finally.
New York Giants (+450)
Super Bowl odds: +8000
2020 record: 6-10
2020 ATS record: 9-7
Coaching hires: Rob Sale (OL coach), Freddie Kitchens (senior offensive assistant), Derek Dooley (TE coach), Jeremy Pruitt (senior defensive assistant)
Top draft picks: Kadarius Toney (WR), Azeez Ojulari (LB), Aaron Robinson (CB)
Free agency adds: Kenny Golladay (WR), Adoree’ Jackson (CB), Kyle Rudolph (TE)
Free agency losses: Kevin Zeitler (OG), Dalvin Tomlinson (DT)
A 6-10 record is never going to be confused with being good, but it certainly wasn’t bad under the circumstances. The Giants were not expected to be serious contenders to begin with, and they lost Saquon Barkley right away due to a torn ACL. Nonetheless, they managed to give themselves a shot at the NFC East title all the way until the final Sunday. Now that Daniel Jones has some more weapons in receivers Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney, New York should be in the division mix once again.
— Giants Videos (@SNYGiants) August 17, 2021
Philadelphia Eagles (+525)
Super Bowl odds: +12500
2020 record: 4-11-1
2020 ATS record: 6-10
Coaching hires: Nick Sirianni (head coach), Shane Steichen (offensive coordinator), Jonathan Gannon (defensive coordinator), Brian Johnson (QB coach), Jemal Singleton (RB coach), Jason Michael (TE coach), Kevin Patullo (passing game coordinator), Tracy Rocker (DL coach), Nick Rallis (LB coach), Dennard Wilson (DB coach), Michael Clay (special teams coordinator)
Top draft picks: DeVonta Smith (WR), Landon Dickerson (OG), Milton Williams (DT)
Free agency adds: Anthony Harris (S), Joe Flacco (QB), Steven Nelson (CB)
Free agency losses: DeSean Jackson (WR), Jalen Mills (S), Jonathan Ford (S), Malik Jackson (DT), Cameron Johnston (P)
It was the end of an era for Philadelphia in 2020, and it did not end well. Doug Pederson got relieved of his coaching duties following a 4-11-1 effort and Carson Wentz has taken his talents (and perhaps his injury woes, too) to Indianapolis. Nick Sirianni is in as head coach, and to say the jury is still out on him would be a gross understatement. Speaking of unproven commodities, Jalen Hurts is set to take over under center. The Eagles are without question in full-on rebuilding mode.
NFC East best bet: Giants to win the division (+450)
As usual, Dallas is a considerable favorite to win the division. It is true that the ‘Boys boast the best roster, but the bottom line is that the public likes hammering American’s Team regardless of the on-field product. The odds are driven up higher than they should be; the Cowboys have no business being an overwhelming favorite to take the NFC East title. They aren’t great, and the Giants and TWFT are not bad. There is plenty of value on both of those two challengers, and with New York at longer +450 odds that is the way to go.
Obviously the Giants’ overall outlook hinges on Barkley’s health, and as of August 24 there is a chance he will be ready for Week 1 of the regular season. With Jones, Barkley, and Golladay leading the offense plus a defense that ranked 12th in the NFL in 2020 and is largely intact, there is a lot to like about the G-Men—especially at relatively long odds. And, of course, what you have to like the most is the relative lack of competition. Philadelphia will likely be the worst team in the division by an even wider margin than the odds would suggest. Dallas and Washington cannot be discounted, but New York +450 should be the play.