Two Super Bowl champions over the past decade have come out of the NFC East, but a champ hasn't repeated in the division since the Philadelphia Eagles won four straight titles from 2001 to 2004.
Oddsmakers and bettors expect that trend to continue, with Philadelphia priced as the odds-on favorite to knock the Dallas Cowboys from their 2018 perch.
The Eagles opened with even odds at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook in March, but their price has been trimmed to 5-8 a few weeks before the season. Bettors also love them in the Super Bowl market, where Philadelphia has been bet from 20-1 to 12-1, tied for the fourth-shortest championship odds.
Philly's only competition in the NFC East appears to be Dallas, which opened with 3-2 division odds before being nudged to 8-5. The Cowboys could enter the year without star running back Ezekiel Elliott. He's still holding out, and his backups didn't impress during Week 1 of the preseason.
Then there's the Washington Redskins and New York Giants, two teams that are both 18-1 to win the division and 200-1 to win the Super Bowl, tied for the second-longest odds in each category. Both clubs would need miracles at quarterback to make a push for the division crown. Washington is mired in a three-way battle at the position, while Giants fans can only hope the Daniel Jones era looks more like his preseason debut than his Duke career.
Here are the best bets, value plays, and picks to avoid in the NFC East for 2019.
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It's been a long 13 seasons since the Redskins last won a playoff game, but a seven-win campaign last year has generated some optimism for 2019. Don't buy it.
Washington's biggest strength is its defense, but early injuries and inexperienced youth complicate the unit's ceiling in 2019. Derrius Guice and Adrian Peterson, both carrying red flags, are likely the best pieces on an offense devoid of star power, and the Redskins can't afford to risk Trent Williams holding out into the season and weakening an already shaky offensive line.
The team's biggest hole is at quarterback, as last year's 1-6 finish coincided with Alex Smith's gruesome leg injury. Rookie Dwayne Haskins' early development hasn't drawn rave reviews, Colt McCoy is 7-20 as a starter, and Case Keenum finished dead last in QBR (44.5) and passer rating (81.2) among QBs with at least 14 starts in 2018.
That all spells potential disaster for Washington, a team that advanced metrics projected as one of the league's worst last year. Expect the Redskins' record to reflect that this season.
After drafting Elliott and quarterback Dak Prescott in 2016, the Cowboys have won at least nine games in each of the past three seasons (13, nine, and 10). They almost fell short last year, but closing out the season 7-1 kept the streak alive.
That successful stretch coincided almost perfectly with the acquisition of standout receiver Amari Cooper, whose career resurgence gave Prescott the weapon he's been missing since Dez Bryant's decline. Meanwhile, Dallas' defense is stocked with talent and widely forecasted to be one of the league's best in 2019.
As bettors fade the Cowboys in response to Elliott's holdout, grab the over while you can. Dallas opens the season against three below-average run defenses from 2018, and the team could easily be 5-2 heading into its Week 8 bye.
Advanced stats favored the Eagles last year when they finished 11th in Pro Football Focus' offensive grades and fifth in defensive grades despite pedestrian yards and points totals on both sides of the ball. That suggests Philly could bounce back in 2019 with performances more in line with the team's recent above-average play.
But "bounce back" doesn't mean "top-five team," which is the price bettors are paying on the Super Bowl futures market.
It would likely take an MVP-level season from Carson Wentz, who's 12-1 to win the award, for that wager to pay off. Can he stay healthy? And if he does, can he outperform his 62 QBR over 11 games in 2018?
There are too many questions in Philly - including the quarterback, an inconsistent offensive line, and offseason departures hampering the defense - for a short-odds bet, even with a tantalizing ceiling.