Heading into what is supposed to be the OTAs period, the Eagles are sitting in a familiar situation. For almost the past five years, they have competed with the Cowboys for the top of the NFC East, taking it two of the last three seasons. It’s no secret that fans will argue until they’re blue in the face about why their team will win. However, record aside, who has the best value to win?
According to Fanduel Sportsbook, the Cowboys hold the best odds at -105 to win the division. They are followed by the Eagles with +140 odds currently. Then comes a big margin between those two teams and the next two, as the Giants and Redskins hold +900 and +1300 odds, respectively.
The Eagles sitting at +140 is pure gold to futures betters. And here’s why…
The Eagles entire team was plagued with injuries last season. Their offense, however, much more significant than their defense. Carson Wentz will be two years removed from an ACL tear, which is the alleged time of full recovery. They come into this season with a plethora of a wide receiving core. They parted ways with offensive coordinator Mike Groh and wide receivers coach Carson Walch earlier this offseason. And, they not only made several coaching changes but also changed the structure of the offensive staff.
Carson Wentz Wentz became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw 20 or more touchdowns and seven or fewer interceptions in three straight seasons. Only Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and Russell Wilson have done it twice. Last season, Wentz also became the first NFL player with 4,000 pass yards and no WRs with 500 receiving yards. Needless to say, Carson Wentz is on the path of an elite career. The best part of that?
Now he’s got a whole bunch of shiny new toys. Some fast, shiny new toys at that.
Miles Sanders is another reason why the Eagles could break out to ten or more wins again this season. In his first season, he accounted for more rushing yards (818), yards from scrimmage (1,327), and all-purpose yards (1,641) than any first-year player in team history. His 1,641 all-purpose yards led all NFL rookies and ranked eighth in the league (fifth in the NFC). As described in this video, Sanders is primed to have a breakout season.
The Eagles not only added some high power speed to their offense but their defense as well. In the offseason, they made agreements to sign defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, linebacker Jatavis Brown, and safety Will Parks. Along with this, they traded for cornerback Darius Slay. Then, the draft came, where K’Von Wallace, Davion Taylor, two speedy guys, were drafted to help fill instant defensive needs.
People can say what they want about the way the Eagles handled this offseason. However, the birds addressed things that they needed. The “bend, don’t break” mentality will hopefully shift into “don’t bend, nor break” as they enter this season with the new unit.
Matching up against the Cowboys
The Cowboys definitely got the better end of the stick when it came to the schedule. Four of the Cowboys’ first six games are at home, including a three-game stretch with very winnable games against the Browns, Giants, and Cardinals. They could build early-season momentum with that run. They do not have to deal with a three-game road trip. Along with this, the Cowboys’ hardest three-game stretch is probably the Eagles, Steelers, and Vikings, but it gets broken up by a bye week.
On the flip side, the Eagles schedule is much more difficult. Similar to the Cowboys, they could start off hot with three straight wins (Redskins, Rams, Bengals). That being said, early momentum won’t be as big of a decision-maker in this situation. However, that is followed up by a difficult three-game stretch in the 49ers, Steelers, and Ravens. The part that sets the Eagles’ schedule apart from the rest is the late stretch against Seattle, Green Bay, New Orleans, Arizona, and Dallas.
The division will likely come down to who wins their week 16 showdown in Dallas.
As much as it may pain to say, the Cowboys had a pretty good draft and offseason. Whether it was spite or not, they were able to grab CeeDee Lamb with #17 overall. They addressed a defensive need by taking Trevon Diggs. One of the more questionable Eagles’ moves was trading picks with the Cowboys, which allowed them to take center Tyler Biadasz following the retirement of Travis Frederick.
The Eagles offseason was described in more detail above, however, they easily filled more holes and added more talent. The Cowboys defense still looks to be Swiss cheese. If Carson Wentz is in his groove come week 16, he will tear that defense to shreds.
There are many analysts that think the winner of the NFC East will end up like last year, meaning the only winning record will win the division. In my opinion, I think that’s far from true. Bias aside, I could see both the Eagles and Cowboys finishing with around nine wins each. Whether fans want to agree on this or not, both teams are much closer than people may realize.
The Cowboys having odds of -105 is baffling to me. To see what Carson Wentz and the coaching staff pulled off last year and win the division and not make the two teams at least even in odds is baffling. The Eagles sitting at positive money should be a surefire futures bet if you’re making any. Mike McCarthy may bring a new type of style to Dallas, but Doug Pederson is slept on, to begin with. These two teams should bring a lot of energy to a very lackluster division that finished with a combined 24 wins last season.
In the end, though, the Eagles are the best value pick coming out of this division. For other divisional futures bets, check out the full video and analysis below:
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Avid Philly fan and future educator
Student at Stockton University