• Deej

NFC East Preview & Predictions

This is the moment I hope you all have been waiting for! Welcome to Happy Hour Sports, the best place to get sports and sports betting insight after the workday. I am on a mission to breakdown each division in the NFC. Today I, Deej, am tackling the NFC East. The last three weeks I broke down the NFC South, NFC North, and NFC West and threw in some of my best bets, check those out if you have interest in those teams. My counterparts (@AndyHHSports and @RickHHSports) have been providing their breakdowns of the AFC, and college Power 5 here at Happy Hour Sports as well, so be sure to check those out too. We are committed to providing you with the best possible content around the sports we love, so please like, share, follow and all that good stuff with the links at the top (or bottom on mobile) of the page. So, without further ado, let's get into the NFC East!


To reiterate, my goal here is to lay out the foundation of each division, what has happened over the offseason, and how I think the year will play out for each team. I will also provide some of my best bets for the season and where I think we can make some money, because who does not want that (scroll to the end of each team if you’re just here for picks).


2021 Final NFC East Standings

Team

Record

Cowboys

12-5

Eagles

9-8

Football Team

7-10

Giants

4-13

Above are the 2021 Final Standings for the NFC East. In the NFC East, we have the new look Eagles. We have the new head coach playoff winless Dak Prescott and the Cowboys. Then come the Commanders who cannot decide on a good team name. And finally, we have the Giants who are trying to sort themselves through a rebuild.


Ahhh the NFC East. The bread and butter of the NFL. Each of these teams has an incredibly passionate fanbase, and each team pretty much consistently underwhelms. I am so excited for this preview as I have been a lifelong Eagles fan, and in-the-know of the NFC East for a long time. So here we go!

 

Philadelphia Eagles:

2021 Record: 12-5

2021 Outcome: Loss to Bucs in Playoffs

2022 Win Total: 9.5, -130

Key Losses (some, not all):

  • Nate Herbig, OL

  • JJ Arcega-Whiteside, WR/TE

Key Gains (some, not all):

  • AJ Brown, WR

  • Hassan Reddick, DL

  • James Bradberry, CB

  • Zach Pascal, WR

There is so much to say about the Philadelphia Eagles’ offseason. The trade for AJ Brown significantly improves the offense; not to also mention the pickup of Zach Pascal. The drafting of Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean adds a much needed SEC presence to the defense. Finally, a full offseason and year of learning under the belts of Jalen Hurts and younger players like Jordan Mailata is exciting Philadelphia Eagles fans around the country.

Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images


The main question mark this year is will Jalen Hurts take the very necessary next step to being a perennial dangerous starter in the NFL. He did not have a bad season by any means in 2021, but in 2022 he needs to be a much more accurate and much stronger quarterback to take the Eagles to the next level. He does now have the tools to become that player, though. Devonta Smith showed in his rookie season he is capable of being the star Alabama receiver he was drafted to be. Add to this roster the likes of pro-bowler and YAC maniac AJ Brown and the supplemental pickup of Zach Pascal, and the Eagles have the best receiving core they have seen in years.


Jordan Mailata and the Eagles offensive line is one of, if not the, best in the NFL. They also managed to retain Super Bowl winner and hungry-dogs-run-faster Center, Jason Kelce. As long as this line stays healthy, the Eagles run-by-committee Running Backs and Jalen Hurts will be very blessed. Miles Sanders also returns and while there is some local debate as to whether he is an elite RB, I think he has what it takes to make the star plays that are needed to get to the playoffs. His backups are also good, and fantasy relevant, so the Eagles will thrive with the next man up mentality. I should also mention Boston Scott, the Eagles backup RB, was picked up this offseason by the eSports organization Dignitas as a Rocket League player; if you follow me on twitter you will know I tweet about Professional Rocket League and think this an incredible gap to begin to bridge between eSports and physical sports. A lot of potential for numerous things. Anyway, back to the Eagles.


Defensively, the Eagles seriously made some impacts through the draft and free agency. Jordan Davis, the first-round defensive lineman, looks like he will need 3 Mack trucks to defend him on the line and Nakobe Dean is a much needed future star linebacker. I was very surprised to see him drop to the third round, and the Eagles picking Dean led to very good draft grades from top tier analysts. Through free agency the Eagles were able to also secure Kyzir White, Hassan Reddick, and James Bradberry. The defensive line has always been a focus for the Eagles and putting Hassan Reddick next to Fletcher Cox, Jordan Davis, and a healthy Brandon Graham just sounds like chaos. I would have liked to see more focus on the secondary this offseason as well from the Eagles, but the pickup of James Bradberry should add some needed depth and contrast to Darius Slay.


The coaching staff enters its second year of what they hope is to be a long tenure. However, if they do not end this season in the playoffs I could see that tenure ending quickly. This roster is just too deadly to not have that type of impact. As stated before, the main focus will be on Jalen Hurts all year. Philadelphia radios have debated all summer whether he is the one to take them to the promised land again. I think he can be.


With everything said, the Eagles also have one of the easiest schedules in the NFL. Their win total began at 8.5 and has soared to 9.5 at -130. I think it is pretty telling how Vegas thinks things will go, but I also still love the over as the NFC East should not be much competition outside of the Cowboys this year. I will get into the Cowboys in the next section, but I think the Eagles are better.I love the Eagles to finish first in the NFC East at +170. I think they can easily hit 12 wins too.


DJ’s Best Bet: Eagles to finish 1st in the NFC East +170 | FanDuel

Eagles Projected Record: 12-5

 

Dallas Cowboys:

2021 Record: 12-5

2021 Outcome: Lost to the 49ers

2022 Win Total: 10.5, +105

Key Losses (some, not all):

  • Amari Cooper, WR

  • Greg Zuerlein, K

  • La’el Collins, OL

  • Blake Jarwin, TE

Key Gains (some, not all):

  • James Washington, WR

  • Dante Fowler, DE

  • Tyler Smith ( R), OL

Dissimilarly to the Eagles, the Cowboys did not have the greatest offseason in their illustrious history. They lost more impactful players than they gained, and one of them being a critical offensive weapon in Amari Cooper. This team seems to be getting further and further away from their goals of winning a playoff game, even when they are dominant in the regular season. How will they fare this year?

Photo By: AP


The age old question for the Cowboys is also centered at the Quarterback, and the question is: is Dak elite? America’s team has had this question surrounding them ever since Dak was a shining 4th rounder out of Mississippi State a few years ago. I feel like I can picture Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless screaming at each other for hours about this very topic. Personally, I never have thought Dak is elite. I may be a biased Eagles fan, but I just do not consistently see that X factor that elite quarterbacks require. Do not get me wrong, Dak is still the best QB in this division, I am just very curious to see how he fairs without his star receiver.


The Cowboys receiving core certainly takes a hit with Amari Cooper leaving, however, they may not feel that impact all that much. CeeDee Lamb is a possible perennial pro bowler and Michael Gallup will be a very solid number 2 option, once he heals his ACL. Zeke Elliot is always a threat in the backfield, but it's pretty hard to tell which Zeke we will get each year, I think his best seasons are very much in his past. Positively for the Cowboys, even though their offensive line is far from their days of being by far the best in the league, they still are strong at their core. A strong and healthy line is incredibly important for the Cowboys every year. The hole dug by losing La’el Collins is not going to be felt when the Cowboys have guys like Zach Martin and Terrence Steele. I expect these Cowboys to still be a major threat offensively, but I am not sold they can do it consistently this year.


The turnaround for the Cowboys defense from 2020 to 2021 was borderline miraculous, and there is a reason Dan Quinn received the NFL Assistant Coach of the Year Award. Most of the defensive core for the Cowboys remains the same with names like DeMarcus Lawrence and Micah Parsons, so they will hope to keep forcing turnovers like they did in 2021; they tallied up 34. Trevon Diggs is also a part of that key group, and if you sat in front of the TV for “seven hours of commercial free football” like I did every Sunday, you will also feel like almost every game Diggs was making a big play.


I have never really believed in Mike McCarthy after his days in Green Bay. If this year is anything similar to the last year for the Cowboys, I think they barely compete in this conference. I think their relatively easy schedule can help them make the playoffs, as long as they win some key games, like ones against the Vikings. Like I said, Dak is currently the best quarterback in the NFC East, but after this season it may be Jalen Hurts. Sadly, Dallas fans, the Cowboys do not have what it takes to win a playoff game this year.


I am really not a fan of much Cowboys futures this year, all of them are way too pricey. If you do want to play the Cowboys for money I recommend them to finish 2nd in the East at +200.

DJ’s Best Bet: Cowboys to finish 2nd +200 | FanDuel

Cowboys Projected Record: 9-8, make playoffs

 

Washington Commanders:

2021 Record: 7-10

2021 Outcome: Did not make playoffs

2022 Win Total: 8.5, +145

Key Losses (some, not all):

  • Carson Wentz, QB

  • Brandon Scherff, OL

  • Ereck Flowers, OL

Key Gains (some, not all):

  • Charles Leno, OL

  • Landon Collins, LB

  • Andrew Norwell, OL

  • Jahan Dotson (R ), WR

The Washington Commanders is, in my opinion, a horrible name for this franchise. Washington chose a new name over this offseason, and it does not seem like many people like it. The name “The Football Team” was past its days of being a meme and was actually genuinely liked by most football fans. However, Dan Snyder does what he wants at the end of the day. How will the Commanders do this year?

Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports


Another NFC East team has all the focus surrounding its quarterback, newly acquired Carson Wentz. Wentz is far past his days of being a possible MVP candidate and Super Bowl winner thanks to his ACL tear in 2017. It was also pretty clear that last year's reunion with Frank Reich did not solve the issues that came about in Philadelphia. I will be honest, since 2016 I was all in on the Carson Wentz train. He was a fighter with a cannon for an arm and I thought he could bounce back at any minute after that horrible injury. However, after watching last season with the Colts, I do not think Wentz has it in him to be the player he once was. Lets face it, there is a reason the Colts also decided to part ways with him one year after they gave up a first rounder for him.


Of all the bad things I could think about for Wentz, he is still a much better player than Taylor Heinicke and should help improve the offense. JD McKissick is returning and Scary Terry McLaurin will still be fun to watch. Jahan Dotson out of Penn State also looks to make a big impact, and if someone can take some focus away from Terry, things might look good for the Commanders this year. The offensive line is slightly improved from last year with the signing of Charles Leno, so Antonio Gibson and McKissick should be able to provide similar, if not better, output to last year. Lastly, this offense desperately needs a comeback season from Logan Thomas, and as we know Wentz loves his tight ends (like Zach Ertz), so if you believe in comebacks Thomas may be a great fantasy sleeper.


In a disappointing start to the season, Chase Young tore his ACL in week 10. Chase Young is an incredible athlete to watch and is the most important piece to the Commanders competing at all this year. He is the best player on this defense, so if he can do the opposite of Carson Wentz and find his form again, this defense will win the Commanders a few extra games. Albeit they will not win many to begin with. Landon Collins is also a huge loss to this defense, and with no real major signings to fill voids. I expect this defense to be lower tier to middle of the pack.


As for the coaching staff, I really like Ron Rivera. I think he is a coach a lot of players want to win for, but sadly I do not think Washngton fits that mold this year. This feels like a rebuild year to me, and if Carson can build back, we will be seeing more of the Commanders come the next few years.


All together and on paper, it seems like the Commanders have gotten incrementally better than last year in multiple facets. However, I am unsure how they can get to their total of 8.5 wins. They are a tier below both the Eagles and Cowboys and a few tiers below the rest of the NFC competition.


DJ’s Best Bet: Washington Under 7.5 wins -105 | FanDuel

Commanders Projected Record: 6-11

 

New York Giants:

2021 Record: 4-13

2021 Outcome: Did not make playoffs

2022 Win Total: 7.5, +125

Key Losses (some, not all):

  • Evan Engram, TE

  • Logan Ryan, S

  • Devontae Booker, RB

Key Gains (some, not all):

  • Jon Feliciano, OL

  • Max Garcia, OL

  • Mark Glowinski, OL

  • Ricky Seals-Jones, TE

Finally, we have the New York Football Giants. I feel pretty similar about this team as I do the Falcons, they are in a rebuild with a placeholder quarterback. Although, I think the Giants have slightly more talent. What can Giant fans look forward to this year?

Photo By: Getty Images, Mike Stobe


Let’s start out simply, Daniel Jones is not the quarterback of the future. He does have some talents and bursts of greatness, but he is pretty far from the dream predecessor of Eli Manning Giants fans hoped he would be. I think it is clear the Giants are in a full rebuild again, and it is a shame it is right in the middle of Saquan Barkley’s career. Barkley was once the most dynamic and exciting player to watch in the NFL. It seemed impossible what he was doing, but once he got hurt, that all went away. I genuinely think he still has it in him, but it really does not help that he runs behind one of the worst offensive lines in football.


Now, the Giants did make some important improvements to that horrible offensive line. They picked up a few veterans and really utilized the 2 top-7 picks in the draft. The hope is clearly that with a revamped offensive line, can Jones and Saquan get the job done. My initial thoughts are no. Although, after studying up some more on everything, they may be able to compete with the Commanders for that 3rd spot in the East. I am still on the train that Daniel Jones is not where he needs to be for the Giants to win, but I am happy to let him prove me wrong.


Defensively the Giants did not make many adjustments outside of Kayvon Thibodeaux, who will be a star in the NFL, or the loss of Logan Ryan. For a team that was in the lower tier of defenses last year, I am unsure that something can just click for this group. The hiring of Don “Wink” Martindale may jumpstart a few things for the defense, but they still need a few more years to be a top tier defense.


This is another team I do not have much to say about. It is crazy to me that the win total for the Giants is at 7.5 because I have them at a whopping 4 wins. My guess is that it is because they are a high profile team with a large fanbase and a finally upgraded offensive line. I think it's not good enough to win them games in this tough conference, so I love the under here. Please, if you disagree, let me know in the comments or tweet at me, I would love to try to understand over bettors here.


DJ’s Best Bet: Under 6.5 Wins +115 & Finish Last in East +120 | FanDuel

Giants Projected Record: 4-13

 

So there you have it folks. Thank you, seriously, it was so fun for me to write about the NFC and begin my content creation career. I am so excited to continue bringing content to you all and ask that you follow me on twitter @DeejHHSports to share what you think! I am open to all criticism and takes and would love to discuss football with you there. Share the article and follow the accounts because every little bit helps!


Check out my other pieces on the other divisions here: NFC West here, NFC North here , NFC South here and next week I I plan on bringing you guys a full schedule breakdown, projected records for each team, and my favorite futures/award winners! Also, my counterparts will be posting daily content you don't want to miss.


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