It is officially July which means we are only a little more than 2 months away from the 2021 NFL season kicking off. After a tumultuous 2020 for the entire NFC East, the Washington Football Team emerged as the division winners with a 7-9 record. I think in 2021, we’ll have at least 1-2 teams that finish over .500 considering almost every team got better and the NFL has officially added a game onto the season.
Beginning in 2021, the NFL is expanding to a 17-game regular season. pic.twitter.com/skNisJwPS2
— NFL (@NFL) March 30, 2021
It’s a little more difficult to value wins and losses and evaluate how good a 7 win team will be in 2021. But as we inch closer to the season, I thought it would be an interesting exercise to go through the projected win totals for each team in the NFC East, and give my opinion on whether or not the team will exceed the win total or finish under it. Without any further ado, the first team on the list will be the Dallas Cowboys.
Dallas Cowboys: Over/Under 9.5 Wins
Over: -130 / Under: +110
The Dallas Cowboys will undoubtedly look entirely different in 2021 with the return of Dak Prescott. Everyone knows about how high powered the Dallas offense is. They have 3 exceptional wideouts including Amari Cooper, Ceedee Lamb, and Michael Gallup, not to mention Ezekiel Elliot at halfback and a number of other options. The Cowboys will be scoring a lot of points in 2021 but will all that scoring directly translate to the win column? I’m not so sure.
The Cowboys receiving duo is pic.twitter.com/I30VSWpt5C
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) June 30, 2021
The obvious glaring weakness of this team is their defense and they didn’t really do enough this offseason to change my stance on them. They drafted top linebacking prospect Micah Parsons in this year’s draft but the linebacking core isn’t the weakest point of the Dallas defense. It’s the secondary. According to PFF grades for the 2020 season, the Dallas secondary finished 29th out of 32 teams. I don’t see that improving much this year. I think most of their games will be shootouts due to their situation so it’s a difficult team to project. With their win total standing at 9.5 wins, my gut feeling is to say under. I think they’re a 9 win team even with the extra game. Like I said earlier I think they’ll be one of the 1-2 teams that finish above .500 in the NFC East, but their defense is holding me back from saying they’ll win 10-11 games.
Washington Football Team: Over/Under 8 Wins
Over: -135, Under: +115
The Washington Football team will win more than 8 games this season. They’ve added two significant pieces to their offense in Ryan Fitzpatrick and former Panthers wideout Curtis Samuel. Those 2 paired with Terry McLaurin and Antonio Gibson will definitely produce more offense than they did in 2020. Even though Alex Smith’s story is amazing and he won the CPOY award, he limited them on offense to a certain extent. According to stats from footballoutsiders.com, Alex Smith led the league in highest percentage of screen passes, with 26.5% of his completions coming via the screen.
Washington’s defense finished No. 2 in the NFL in yards allowed per game, its highest ranking since finishing second in 1974.
Washington has finished 1st five times (1932, 1936, 1937, 1939, 1946) and 2nd five times (1942, 1945, 1965, 1974, 2020). (via @pfref)
— Jake Russell (@_JakeRussell) January 4, 2021
Fitzpatrick will enable them to stretch the field and take more deep shots down the field. With 2 speed threats like Samuel and McLaurin, they’ll have more success in the passing game this season. The slightly concerning part is that their defense is more talented than their offense. In 2020 they ranked 2nd in the NFL in yards allowed per game. Chase Young, Montez Sweat, Jonathan Allen, and others are all young and extremely athletic. They won 7 games in 2020, and they’ve only gotten better so I’d put them anywhere at 8-10 wins.
New York Giants: Over/Under 7 Wins
Over: -120, Under: +100
This might be a little controversial but I think the Giants will win over 7 games in 2021. The Giants are another team in the NFC East that has their best player returning from a season ending injury. With Saquon Barkley back at running back and the offseason addition of WR Kenny Golladay, the Giants will definitely have more firepower at their disposal.
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) June 28, 2021
Of course Daniel Jones is still the starting quarterback so there’s some people that would say it might not matter how much talent he has. While I’m not the biggest Daniel Jones fan, he has shown flashes of extreme athleticism and deep throwing ability. The problem with him has always been the turnovers so that’ll be something to keep an eye on. It’s hard to win football games when you’re constantly giving the other team shortened fields and scoring opportunities, but the Giants showed enough on the defensive side of the ball in 2020 to give me confidence they can stay in games. If Daniel Jones can figure out his turnover problem, the Giants should be in a good position to match or exceed 7 wins.
Philadelphia Eagles: Over/Under 6.5 Wins
Over: -135, Under: +115
Unfortunately, I think the Eagles are still a year or two away from really being in a position to compete for the division. Who really knows with the NFC East, it could come down to the final few games of the season like it did in 2020, where no team really takes command. But if I were putting money on this bet, I’d side with under 6.5 wins. I think a 6-11 season or worse for the Eagles is very realistic. There’s no other team in the division that has a new head coach, so it’d be natural to see some early struggles from the Eagles.
Eagles report to training camp 1 month from today
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) June 29, 2021
All reports from training camp have said that the Sirianni/ Steichen offense is easy to pick up, and things seem to be going well. We won’t really know until we see it in a game, but there are definitely good reports of a culture change/ reset which was needed. Jalen Hurts and Devonta Smith together is really exciting, especially for the future. There’s definitely a lot to be excited about as an Eagles fan, but I think 6-7 wins is realistic for a young team with an entirely new coaching staff.
Featured Image: (NFL Analysis Network)
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