The NFC East holds the distinction as the only division in the NFL in which all teams have won the Super Bowl, with the Philadelphia Eagles joining the club in 2017. It’s probably the most proud division in football—but all of that glory is a thing of the past now. The state of the NFC East is currently calamitous.
The Dallas Cowboys have the worst record of any division leader in football at 2-3, the Eagles are 1-3-1, the Washington Football Team, who haven’t won a playoff game in 15 years, sit at 1-4, with their lone win coming against Philly, and the New York Giants have yet to win a game this season.
The division-leading Cowboys won a Pyrrhic victory in Week 5, losing their franchise quarterback, Dak Prescott, to a grisly ankle injury I would not recommend watching. Despite that significant injury, oddsmakers still have the Cowboys as the favorites to win this division of losers, at 1.87 odds on Betway.
But it’s not just Prescott the Cowboys have lost. Top tight end Blake Jarwin (ACL), linebacker Leighton Van Der Esch (collarbone), left tackle Tyron Smith (neck), and right tackle La’el Collins (hip) have all been lost for the season. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Their defense has given up 34+ points in four of their five games, even allowing the winless Giants, who scored 47 points in their first four games, to put up 34 in Week 5. The Cowboys, who were also the preseason favorites, seem like they’re on the downswing, so who will take their place atop the division?
The aforementioned Giants (23.00 odds), like the Cowboys, lost their best player, running back Saquon Barkley (ACL), for the year, and the offense has been anemic ever since. The Washington Football Team (10.00 odds) has already gone through three QBs. They’ve now landed on Alex Smith, who is a capable player, but that much quarterback turnover is never a good sign, not to mention Smith’s legitimately scary injury history.
With all of those issues elsewhere in the division, it seems that the door is wide open for the Eagles to swoop in and steal the division, and they still have great value at 2.20 odds on Betway. They have a ton of injuries as well, specifically on the offensive line and in the defensive secondary, but they still find guys to make plays.
Quarterback Carson Wentz has really struggled this season, committing a turnover in every game so far, but there’s positivity on the horizon. Wideout Travis Fulgham, who was signed off the practice squad two weeks ago, promptly scored a game-winning touchdown against the 49ers, then put up 152 receiving yards and a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers, arguably the league’s best defense.
With a go-to guy like Fulgham emerging and the rest of the wide receiving cavalry on the mend, not to mention sophomore running back Miles Sanders’ emergence as star, I predict the next five games will go much better for Wentz and company than the last five.
Though the Eagles have four tough matchups against division-leading teams to look forward to, they also have five games left against NFC East opponents and very winnable games against the Arizona Cardinals and Cleveland Browns. The winner of the NFC East probably won’t have more than eight or nine wins, so if Philly can take four or five of those division games, and two or three of their other six contests, they will be in great shape to win the division, punch their ticket to the playoffs, and payout nice value on these 2.20 odds through five weeks.
It will take a little bit of confidence in Wentz to rediscover some of his old MVP-caliber form and head coach Doug Pedersen to regain his killer instinct, but in a wasteland like the NFC East, it won’t take a herculean effort to get this job done.