Edwards likes Eagles +100 to win NFC East

Edwards likes Eagles +100 to win NFC East

Originally published on 5/31/23. 
Updated on 9/4/23.

FanDuel had Philadelphia installed as the even-money (+100) ‘chalk’ to win the NFC East early this summer. But as of mid-August and into early September, Philadelphia has been moved to a -115 price. Dallas has the next-shortest odds at +175, followed by the New York Giants, who have moved from +600 to +700, and Washington, which was 10/1 in late May but is now a 13/1 longshot.

The Eagles lost seven starters in the offseason, but I think General Manager Howie Roseman did an outstanding job of plugging roster holes via the draft, free agency and a trade for running back D’Andre Swift.

Although Miles Sanders bolted for a free-agent deal with Carolina, I still think Philadelphia has one of the NFL’s best RB rooms. Swift, who Roseman shrewdly acquired for a 2023 seventh-round pick and 2025 fourth-round selection, had 156 receptions and seven touchdown catches in three seasons with Detroit. The Lions’ second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft also has 1,680 career rushing yards, 18 TDs and a 4.6 yards-per-carry average.

The Eagles signed veteran RB Rashaad Penny, who has a 5.7 YPC average for his career. He had 749 rushing yards, six TDs and a 6.3 YPC average for Seattle in 2021. They still have RBs Kenneth Gainwell (1,090 all-purpose yards and 10 TDs in two seasons) and Boston Scott (10 rushing TDs in 2021 and 2022), too.

The loss of defensive tackle Javon Hargrave was tough, but I felt Philadelphia might’ve got the best overall player in the draft with No. 9 overall selection Jalen Carter. The DT out of Georgia saw his draft stock drop after an offseason arrest, but he’s ready to be an immediate factor.

Roseman added more defensive help in the draft with No. 31 overall pick Nolan Smith, a LB who played with Carter and fourth-round pick, CB Kelee Ringo, at UGA under Kirby Smart. Sydney Brown, a safety out of Illinois who had six interceptions and one pick-six last year, was the team’s third-round selection and might start right away as a rookie.

QB Jalen Hurts is off a career season. In 15 regular-season games, he completed 66.5 percent of his passes for 3,701 yards with a 22/6 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Hurts added 760 rushing yards and 13 TDs with a 4.6 YPC average.

In three postseason games, Hurts threw three TD passes without an interception and ran for 143 yards and five TDs. He still has two of the NFL’s best WRs in A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, in addition to an elite TE in Dallas Goedert.

With some players who signed massive contracts off career-best campaigns like Hurts, you might worry about a drop in passion and hunger for the game. That’s not the case at all with Hurts, who has a spectacular attitude and approach to the game. He is as dedicated to his craft as any player in the NFL.

As for the NFL tradition that the Super Bowl runner-up often struggles the following season, it didn’t happen with the Bengals last year. They won the AFC North in 2022 and were one play away (and/or some shaky calls and no-calls by the zebras) from a Super Bowl return.

Much like Cincinnati last season with a strong defense and elite playmakers all over the place on offense, I fully expect Philadelphia to come into 2023 hungrier than ever. Remember, this team only lost twice – at home to Washington and by three to Kansas City – in 18 games with Hurts under center last year, and eight of those wins came by double-digit margins.

Dallas added some impact players in the offseason, including WR Brandin Cooks, CB Stephon Gilmore and draft picks like DT Mazi Smith and LB DeMarvion Overshown. However, I have the Cowboys finishing the regular season with a 10-7 record.

As for the Eagles, I have them at 12-4 going into their regular-season finale at the Giants.

The Play: Let’s back Philadelphia at +100 to win the NFC East for three units.