AccuScore odds: Three-way battle atop NFC East

Jonathan Lee

AccuScore provides football predictions and projections by calculating the precise probability teams have of winning each game, their division, and making the playoffs. Using projected lineups, football predictions are created by simulating each game of the season one play at a time,10,000 times. Visit AccuScore for weekly updates for all football and sports predictions.

The NFC East is annually an all-out brawl for the division title, and this season should be no different. AccuScore projects basically a three-way tie between the Eagles, Cowboys, and defending Super Bowl champion Giants. The Redskins are bringing up the rear, but they should be much improved this season with the addition of rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III.

TEAM

WIN

WIN%

DIV

PLAYOFF

Philadelphia Eagles

9.0

56.3%

34.0%

50.9%

Dallas Cowboys

8.9

55.6%

33.0%

50.1%

New York Giants

8.7

54.4%

29.5%

45.8%

Washington Redskins

5.9

36.9%

3.5%

6.9%

The reason why New York is currently third in the pecking order is strength of schedule. In addition to the NFC East squaring off against the NFC South and 2011 playoff qualifiers, the Buccaneers and Saints, the Giants also play the Packers and Niners – teams that combined for 28 regular-season wins last season. The Eagles get Arizona and Detroit. Meanwhile, the Cowboys play Seattle and Chicago.

The Eagles were touted to be the "super team" in 2011, but Philadelphia flopped big-time, finishing 8-8 and needed to win their final four games just to do that. Again, they should be explosive on offense with Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, and DeSean Jackson back in the fold. The real question will be the health of Vick, who has missed 11 games over the last three seasons and was twice forced out of preseason action this year.

[Around the NFL: Maurice Jones-Drew ends holdout; returns to Jaguars]

The Cowboys are also super talented, as always, but they need to figure out how to put it all together late in the season. Tony Romo, again, has a plethora of skill talent surrounding him, but coach Jason Garrett remains a question. The Giants might be third for now in projections, but they are proven winners, having won two Super Bowls behind Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning. All the pieces are back in place for another run at a championship, yet the G-men are considered underdogs in the division, once again.

The difference between the top three teams in the NFC East is marginal. Health, coaching, and luck will likely all make a massive difference in the playoff race. Washington is out to play spoiler, and while not equal to the other teams on paper, could potentially surprise with Griffin a threat to make plays in every game.

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