Due to the way the season ended, with a weird quarterback run that killed the rest of the clock in a playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers, it might be forgotten how good the Dallas Cowboys were last season.
Dallas was excellent. They had a high-flying offense. Second-year cornerback Trevon Diggs and rookie phenom Micah Parsons transformed the defense. That's what made the playoff failure so tough to accept. It's a team that could have won a Super Bowl, but didn't even get out of the wild-card round.
The Cowboys were the class of the NFC East, but that doesn't mean they're guaranteed to repeat. The Philadelphia Eagles were a playoff team too and they had a nice offseason.
The Cowboys will be challenged this season, even though the odds at BetMGM don't seem convinced of that.
Cowboys favored to win NFC East
Dallas is still the clear favorite to win the NFC East at BetMGM, though the Eagles' odds moved from +250 to +200 after signing free-agent cornerback James Bradberry. The Cowboys moved from -105 to +110 to win the division. The Eagles have had a good offseason:
Washington Commanders +500
New York Giants +700
Let's get the bottom two teams out of the way so we can start the real conversation in the NFC East.
The Commanders had a bad season, albeit against a tough schedule, then overpaid for Carson Wentz in the offseason. The Indianapolis Colts didn't even try to hide they wanted to move on from Wentz, but the Commanders couldn't wait to trade for him. Wentz has his good moments, but also has come nowhere near recapturing his form of 2017, when he was a frontrunner for NFL MVP. It's hard to believe Washington can win the division, even if they did so in 2020.
The Giants are a bigger mess, though perhaps new coach Brian Daboll starts an immediate turnaround. Still, if you're betting the Giants to win the NFC East, you're brave.
OK, now let's talk about the top two teams. There's intrigue there.
Cowboys, Eagles will battle
The Eagles made a huge move in the offseason, trading for receiver A.J. Brown from the Titans. That could transform their offense.
Philadelphia led the NFL in rushing last season, and now have a passing game that includes Brown, DeVonta Smith and tight end Dallas Goedert. There is some question about quarterback Jalen Hurts, but maybe he takes a step forward. Plenty of MVP bettors think it's possible. The defense should be better after adding Bradberry, pass rusher Haason Reddick and defensive tackle Jordan Davis, the team's first-round pick.
The Eagles were taking steps forward and the Cowboys took some steps back. They traded Amari Cooper. Michael Gallup was brought back but he's coming off a torn ACL. Ezekiel Elliott looked like he was in decline. They lost defensive end Randy Gregory and offensive linemen La'el Collins and Connor Williams in free agency. It's hard to say the Cowboys are better than they were at the end of last season, though they're still very good.
Have the Eagles done enough to close the gap? At +200 odds to win the NFC East, it's worth betting them to find out.