Many media members and fans believe the Dallas Cowboys have gotten worse since last season, yet they still own the best odds to repeat as NFC East champions.
It’s easy to see why people think Dallas regressed. Some key departures from the team include Amari Cooper, Randy Gregory, La’el Collins and Cedrick Wilson.
The group of players they brought in to plug the gaps left more to be desired until they signed free agent linebacker Anthony Barr yesterday. Besides Barr, the biggest names Dallas has signed are receiver James Washington and linebacker Dante Fowler.
The media and fans can continue speculating until the Cowboys kickoff Week 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Once Dallas takes the field, then we’ll really know if the lack of activity in the free agency and trade market will force Dallas to fall short of back-to-back division championships.
Until then, here are the odds for each NFC East team to win the division, courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook:
Dallas Cowboys +125
The Cowboys are tied for the easiest strength of schedule heading into the season. Dallas’ opponents had an average win percentage of .462 in 2021.
Ezekiel Elliott looked great early last year, but a partially torn PCL slowed him down, and he continued getting worse as the season progressed. Heading into this season, he’s fully healthy and Jerry Jones has been quoted as saying he’ll be featured in various ways this season.
On defense, Micah Parsons has said at training camp that his goal is to record 15 sacks this season, two more than his rookie campaign. While that may sound crazy, Mike McCarthy believes it’s doable. Here’s what the coach had to say:
“Obviously year two, and how people look at him and how they’ll have to game plan against him. We’ve had a whole year to implement the schemes around that and make sure we’re giving him the opportunities he needs. He’s definitely put himself in the position to take a big second-year jump.”
One thing Dallas has working against it is the fact that an NFC East team hasn’t won consecutive division championships since 2004, which is the longest streak in NFL history.
Philadelphia Eagles +185
The Eagles made a lot of improvements to the roster this offseason. On draft night, they traded for receiver A.J. Brown. They also drafted some defensive linemen who promise to be day one starters in Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean.
The secondary got some help, too, by way of James Bradberry, who ditched the New York Giants to join the Eagles.
The biggest question is whether Jalen Hurts can improve in year two as a starter and lead the offense to the postseason for a second-straight year.
Washington Commanders +500
The two bright spots on the Commanders roster are Terry McLaurin and Chase Young.
McLaurin is looking to post a third straight 1,000+ receiving yard season. The fourth-year wideout is an underrated player in the NFL, and it’s likely because his Washington team hasn’t been very successful.
Young played in only nine games before tearing his ACL last season. Now, his availability for the early parts of the 2022 regular season is in question, which would be a massive loss for the Commander’s defense.
The most notable move Washington made was trading for Carson Wentz, and it was the second time he was dealt away in just 13 months. Wentz lasted only one year with the Indianapolis Colts, and it’s been reported that he wasn’t a good presence in the locker room.
New York Giants +700
The Giants are in the midst of five consecutive losing seasons, and there’s not much hope that streak will end in 2022.
New York hired former Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll as its new coach, and while he’s likely going to be an upgrade over Joe Judge, Daboll isn’t good enough to have this team competing for a division title just yet.
Saquon Barkley was the offensive rookie of the year in 2018 and had another solid season in 2019. But after tearing his ACL in 2020, Barkley hasn’t looked the same.
One player Giants fans will enjoy watching this season is rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux, who was drafted with the fifth pick in the draft. The 6’5, 218-pound defensive end had a knack for getting after the QB during his college days at Oregon.