The Philadelphia Eagles are again the favorites to win the NFC East coming into this season. Philadelphia struggled to deal with a brutal schedule the year after winning the Super Bowl, but the Eagles managed to rally at the end of the season to make the playoffs. Now, they are hoping that Carson Wentz can stay healthy for a full season with Nick Foles moving to Jacksonville in the offseason.
2019 NFC East Odds
Philadelphia Eagles +107
Dallas Cowboys +158
Washington Redskins +555
New York Giants +1700
The big question surrounding Philadelphia this season is the health of Wentz. Wentz tore his ACL near the end of a standout 2017 campaign, and he overcame expectations to become the team’s starter once more in Week 3 of the 2018 season. Unfortunately, a back injury submarined the end of the season, and Wentz missed out on playing in the postseason once more.
Wentz has to stay healthy, as the Nick Foles insurance policy is no longer there. Nate Sudfeld is set to be the back-up now, and the third-year quarterback out of Indiana does not have near the experience of Foles.
Provided Wentz stays healthy, the Eagles should be in good shape. He has put up good numbers when he has been on the field the last two seasons, and he has plenty of great options in the passing game. DeSean Jackson has come back to Philadelphia to join Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor in the receiving corps. The tight end situation is arguably the best in the league too, as Zach Ertz caught 116 passes last year and South Dakota State rookie Dallas Goedert showed he could be a future star at the position.
The running game is a major concern. The Eagles averaged just 3.9 yards per carry last year, and the best running back on the roster ended up being undrafted rookie Josh Adams. Philadelphia traded for Jordan Howard and drafted Miles Sanders out of Penn State in the second round to try to shore up the position.
On defense, there is a ton of talent. The defensive line is absolutely stacked, and that should make the Eagles tough to run on. Derek Barnett and Fletcher Cox are among the best 3-4 defensive ends in the league, and Malik Jackson and Timmy Jernigan are solid defensive tackles that can clog the middle.
The secondary is solid too. The Eagles’ problems last year revolved around their secondary being decimated by injury, so the team is hoping the unit will be healthy in 2019.
Dallas’ big news this offseason is the return of tight end Jason Witten. Witten was less than inspiring during his one season in the booth for Monday Night Football, and he has decided to play at least one more season with the Cowboys. The team did not have a great tight end last year, so he will give Dak Prescott a safety valve if he can’t find Michael Gallup, Amari Cooper, or Tavon Austin.
The running game should again be one of the best in the league as long as Ezekiel Elliott can stay out of trouble. Elliott has recently had another brush with law enforcement, but he is one of the best running backs in the league when he is on the field, and he has a fantastic offensive line to run behind. Zeke ran for 1,434 yards and averaged 4.7 yards per carry last season.
This front seven is very good at getting to the quarterback. Demarcus Lawrence was recently rewarded with a massive extension for being one of the best sackmasters in the league, and Robert Quinn was brought in this offseason to give him a solid bookend. Leighton Vander Esch has a bright future at outside linebacker, and Jaylon Smith has rewarded the Cowboys’ patience after waiting on him to get healthy.
Washington is enamored with its new quarterback. Dwayne Haskins has turned a lot of heads at mini-camp, and the Redskins might be set to make him the starter over Colt McCoy and Case Keenum in Week 1. The team also drafted one of his top wideouts in college, Terry McLaurin, in the third round.
This is a crowded backfield, and at least two running backs are likely to be cut before the start of the season. Adrian Peterson is the nominal starter, but Derrius Guice could become the No. 1 running back after looking impressive prior to his knee injury in the summer. Look for Bryce Love to work his way into the mix too.
The defense is a concern. Montez Sweat was taken in the first round to help along the defensive line, and that’s now the third-straight year that Washington has taken a defensive lineman in the first round. The defense was mediocre last season, so this area needs to improve with a rookie quarterback.
The New York Giants could be the worst team in the NFL. Dave Gettleman has made a number of puzzling decisions this offseason, and he was widely mocked for drafting Daniel Jones sixth overall in this year’s draft. There are no real offensive weapons outside of Saquon Barkley, and the defense is a mess too. This team might be even worse than the 5-11 team they were in 2018.
Philadelphia is my pick to win the division. There are very few weaknesses on the team, and they should win 11 or 12 games provided Wentz stays healthy.
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