2016 NFL Predictions: Can the Redskins Win the NFC East Again?
The Washington Redskins shocked everyone in 2015, as they benched Robert Griffin III and seemingly randomly rode Kirk Cousins to an NFC East title. A year later, we have to wonder if the Redskins were merely a product of a terrible division, or if Cousins is the real deal and can lead Washington even further in his second full season as the starter.
It’s a fair argument, considering the Dallas Cowboys were sunk with a Tony Romo injury, the Philadelphia Eagles appeared mismanaged by Chip Kelly and the New York Giants continued to be sub-par on the defensive side of the football.
Romo is back, Kelly is gone and the G-Men seemingly made enough adjustments on defense to spark hope for 2016. Suffice to say, the NFC East is as murky as ever. Let’s dive in, take a look at this year’s NFC East odds and see which team makes for the safest bet, per Bovada:
Dallas Cowboys (+175)
Dallas is getting a lot of respect from Vegas here, as they’re both suggesting the Cowboys will be the best team with Romo back, and that he’ll also stay healthy. Those are two fairly bold statements, especially given that Dallas has major issues (and a lot of suspensions) on the defensive side of the football.
Romo can still ball with Dez Bryant and Jason Witten at his disposal, however, and incoming rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott is certainly a threat to be the monster rusher the ‘Boys drafted him to be.
If Romo and Elliott can team up to give Dallas that elite balance they had just two years ago, Vegas could be right about the Cowboys winning the NFC East. It does feel like an awful lot has to break their way for it to happen, though.
New York Giants (+250)
New York is also getting arguably too much respect here, as if they’re suddenly supposed to put it all together after cutting ties with Super Bowl-winning head coach, Tom Coughlin. There is no doubt that Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. formulate one of the most dangerous passing attacks in the league, but there remain very real questions about New York’s pass protection, their ability to run the ball consistently and a defense that hasn’t been remotely close to elite in years.
That’s a mouthful, but the good news is the Giants have taken positive steps toward bettering themselves. Adding pass rusher Olivier Vernon could help give New York a boost on the defensive line, while the development of young safety Landon Collins could also prove to be key.
Offensively, the Giants have a ton of talent, but consistency will be the name of the game. Can they take care of business at home and get some big wins on the road? Only time will tell, but based off the last few years of mediocrity, this is an incredibly tough team to trust.
Washington Redskins (+300)
While Dallas and New York get some NFL betting respect, it’s the Redskins who ultimately suffer. Kirk Cousins looked like the real deal en route to a division title and playoff appearance last year, yet the oddsmakers don’t love his chances of producing a winner again in 2016.
It’s hard to hate these odds, either, as Washington came out of nowhere last year and still have question marks. The Redskins still have major issues on defense, Matt Jones is an unproven turnover machine at running back and Cousins could easily flop after a dream season.
There is reason to hate on the Redskins, but the beauty here is Vegas is giving you money to bet on a team that in a lot of ways should still be the favorite to win the division. The Redskins did soar unexpectedly in 2015, but if Cousins is the real deal, he’s got a loaded supporting cast that could continue to be one of the more dangerous units in the entire league. Should Jones be the answer at running back and the defense be even serviceable, last year’s NFC East champ could be out to prove they’re the real deal.
Philadelphia Eagles (+400)
Your NFC East odds go to die with Philly, who really doesn’t feel like a playoff contender – let alone a team ready to storm the castle that is the NFC East crown. Sam Bradford does lead an offense that has upside – especially with big target Dorial Green-Beckham coming over in a trade with the Titans – but the floor is also low with stud offensive lineman Lane Johnson being suspended the first 10 games of the season.
In addition, Ryan Mathews leads a shaky rushing attack, no other Eagles receiver has consistently dominated and Philly’s defense has a ton of holes. Throw in rookie head coach Doug Pederson and a potential shift to rookie passer Carson Wentz at some point, and the Eagles are the odds on favorite to finish 2016 at the bottom of the division.
NFC East Prediction
If you’re just looking for a prediction, then go bet on the Dallas Cowboys. They’re the favorite to win and if Romo and Zeke are healthy and as good as they seem, the Cowboys could be truly nasty. No one else in this division is scary enough to take us off of them, either.
From a betting perspective, this is all about the Redskins. Not only do they have killer odds for a team that won this very division in 2015, but they have talent and momentum on their side. Again, this division doesn’t have one dominant team in it, so if the Redskins are merely hanging around late in the year, they’re going to be the funnest bet of this group.