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Here is the 2021 Pro Football Betting Guide preview for the NFC East.
THE FAVORITE: WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM
By definition, Dallas is the division favorite (+ 130 at DraftKings) and Washington (+ 230) is the second choice. But the Cowboys too often are talented underachievers, and they face two big problems at important spots. The same problems tripped up the Cowboys last year -- quarterback Dak Prescott has injury problems and coach Mike McCarthy finds ways to lose by making costly game-management mistakes. Remember the Thanksgiving Day massacre? Washington’s 41-16 win was the low point of McCarthy’s first season in Dallas. He called for a fourth-and-10 fake punt from the Cowboys’ 24-yard line in the fourth quarter, and it failed spectacularly. McCarthy enters this season as the only coach in the division on a hot seat. Dallas’ dismal 6-10 finish had a lot to do with Prescott’s broken ankle. The Cowboys averaged 32.6 points in Prescott’s five starts and 21.1 points in the 11 games he missed.
A disastrous Dallas defense was another huge problem. On the flip side, Washington ranked No. 4 in the NFL in scoring defense at 20.6 points per game and again will be led by a dominant front four. If Prescott can get past a shoulder injury that sidelined him in the preseason, the Cowboys will feature the division’s best quarterback and most explosive offense. If Prescott’s injury problems linger, the Cowboys could be a lost cause.
The Eagles face much uncertainty with second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts, and the Giants are hoping quarterback Daniel Jones’ third season will finally be a charm. Washington played four quarterbacks last year and somehow won the division with a 7-9 record. The new quarterback is an old one. Ryan Fitzpatrick, 38, is joining his ninth team in 17 years and seeking his first playoff appearance. Fitzmagic will try to pull a rabbit out of the hat and help Washington end another trend: The NFC East has not had a repeat winner since 2004, a 16-year streak that is the longest in any division in league history. Mostly due to its defense, Washington appears to be the most reliable bet. But the division probably is up for grabs, much like last year, when Washington was the long-shot winner at 25-1 odds.