Spark Sports’ NFC East Season Preview

Authored By: @FreeCheeseKid

The Superbowl LII Champions, Philadelphia Eagles, took home the Lombardi trophy in a dominate performance against the New England Patriots without their number one QB. Carson Wentz said he will be ready week one after tearing his ACL late last season. Wentz may easily be the biggest question mark outside of Andrew Luck and Aaron Rodgers in all of the NFL story lines.

Odds: 

NFC EAST DIVISION WINNERS: -165 (Bovada)

NFC CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS: +500 (Bovada)

SUPER BOWL 53 CHAMPIONS: +900 (Bovada)

Team Win Total: O/U 10.5 (Westgate)

Schedule:
Week 1 vs. Atlanta (+4)
Week 2 @ Tampa Bay (-3)
Week 3 vs. Indianapolis (-10)
Week 4 @ Tennessee (-1.5)
Week 5 vs. Minnesota (-3.5)
Week 6 @ New York (Giants) (-3)
Week 7 vs. Carolina (-6)
Week 8 @ Jacksonville (PK)
Week 9 BYE WEEK
Week 10 vs. Dallas (-5.5)
Week 11 @ New Orleans (+2)
Week 12 vs. New York (Giants) (-8.5)
Week 13 vs. Washington (-7.5)
Week 14 @ Dallas (PK)
Week 15 @ Los Angeles (Rams) (+1)
Week 16 vs. Houston (-5.5)
Week 17 @ Washington (N/A)

Schedule Outlook

Favored in week one (-4) the schedule doesn’t slow down. The Eagles wont play back-to-back games at home until week 12-13. However, they ranked 19th in 2017 opponents’ combined win percentage (.492). Week one will give the reigning champions a solid test to start the year against the Falcons. Week 5 is a rematch of last year’s NFC Championship game. Week 8 will be a great test on the road going into the bye week against the Jaguars. Week 11 could potentially be another playoff match up in New Orleans. Week 14 in Dallas, may be for the division lead.

Key Team Additions and Subtractions 

Additions – DE Michael Bennett, DT Haloti Hgata, WR Mike Wallace, WR Markus Wheaton

Subtractions – TE Trey Burton, DT Beau Allen, TE Brent Celek, WR Torrey Smith, LaGarrette Blount, CB Patrick Robinson

Draft – TE Dallas Goedert, CB Avonte Maddox, EDGE Josh Sweat, OT Matt Pryor, OT Jordan Mailata

Offense

Philly ranked top ten in both yards per game(365.9) and points per game(28.6). Doug Pederson combines an explosive yet simple college game plan to his playbook. The group will be lead by Carson Wentz who threw for the second most touchdowns (33) in 2017 despite missing 2 full games. If his injury is nagging, Nick Foles who outplayed Tom Brady in the Superbowl is arguably the best back up in the league to handle the position.

The rush that is well balanced by Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement, Wendell Smallwood and Darren Sporles will return after amassing the third most yards in the NFL (2115). A full season of Jay Ajayi behind a stout line should allow him to fill into Blount’s role with ease.

Zach Ertz, Alshon Jeffery, Mike Wallace, Nelson Agholor, and draftee Dallas Goedert will give this team plenty of options. Leading the league in NFL recieving touchdowns (38), this team could very likely do that again. Ertz and Goedert give Wentz two huge options in the middle of the field and the red zone. Jeffery is a tall receiver with a great vertical making him a match up nightmare. While Agholor and Wallace can streak across and down the field to give Wentz space.

The offensive line should again be a strength for the Eagles. Jason Peters is coming off a torn ligament in his knee but that hasn’t stopped him before. The rest of the group returns minus the backup left tackle. Jason Kelce should continue to be a force on the line along side standouts in Brandon Brooks and Lane Johnson.

Defense

The Eagles were in the top five in total defensive takeaway (31). They will be losing Robinson who lead the team in interceptions but should have the role replaced by Sidney Jones or Ronald Darby. Malcom Jenkins also solidifies the secondary with his veteran presence and defensive skill set.

The linebacking core lost Mychal Kendricks the second leading tackler but return their leader Nigel Bradham. This could be the biggest weakness of the Eagles this season. They may struggle to defend against teams using two tight end sets.

The defensive line will be lined with veterans including Derek Barnett, Michael Bennett, Chris Long, and Fletcher Cox. Draftee Josh Sweat may be a sneaky late round pick and end up making some big plays. They should be able to get after the opposing teams quarterback quickly.

Special Teams

Jake Elliot was a trust worthy kicker for Pederson to turn to. He hit a 61 yard field goal and only missed three extra points attempts. The Eagles only allowed 29 total punt return attempts with a total of 259 yards allowed but they do fall in the middle of the pack in both categories.

Outlook

Repeating a championship in any sport is tough. With the rest of the NFC looking strong, the Eagles will have a tough shot at lifting the trophy again. The season will most likely hinge on the health of Wentz since the rest of the team is relatively compete.  Their division should be competitive with the Giants improving from last year.

Plays – 

NFC EAST -165

Of all the plays, the NFC East Title is the only safe bet.

Based on the way the schedule lines up 10.5 wins is right on the number. The rest of the NFC closed the gap in the off season. With some tough road games and constant travel the entire year, stay away from the win total. Last year’s win total was misleading since they only played three playoff teams, which may lead to a regression. They should easily win the division which a Superbowl future is something to hedge against, however the odds aren’t near the same as other title contenders.


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2017 was plagued the entire season on whether or not Ezekiel Elliott would be suspended or not. Jason Garrett and the ‘Boys will look for a return to the playoffs with virtually the same roster as last year.

Odds: 

NFC EAST DIVISION WINNERS: +350 (Bovada)

NFC CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS: +1200 (Bovada)

SUPER BOWL 53 CHAMPIONS: +2500 (Bovada)

Team Win Total: O/U 8.5 (Westgate)

Schedule: 

Week 1 @ Carolina (+2.5)
Week 2 vs. New York (Giants) (-6)
Week 3 @ Seattle (+1.5)
Week 4 vs. Detriot (-4)
Week 5 @ Houston (+3)
Week 6 vs. Jacksonville (-1)
Week 7 @ Washington (-1)
Week 8 BYE WEEK
Week 9 vs. Tennessee (-3.5)
Week 10 @ Philadelphia (+5.5)
Week 11 @ Atlanta (+3)
Week 12 vs. Washington (-6)
Week 13 vs. New Orleans (-1.5)
Week 14 vs. Philadelphia (PK)
Week 15 @ Indianapolis (-3)
Week 16 vs. Tampa Bay (-6)
Week 17 @ New York (Giants) (N/A)

Schedule Outlook

The scheduling gods did not do the Cowboys any favors this year. So extremely tough road test this season early on could have Dallas looking from the outside of the playoff picture quickly. Week 1 at Carolina against a retooled Panthers is a heck of a way to start the year. In Seattle week 3 will be a rough test even with a down year for the Hawks. Week 5 against the instate rivals will be a battle of the young quarterbacks. The beginning of the second half will be back-to-back weeks on the road against the Eagles and the Falcons. The Cowboys will have a three game home stretch following but two of the three teams won their divisions last year.

Key Team Additions and Subtractions 

Additions – WR Allen Hurns, DE Kony Ealy, ATH Tavon Austin

Subtractions – TE Jason Witten, WR Dez Bryant, RB Alfred Morris

Draft – LB Leighton Vander Esch, OT Connor Willams, WR Michael Gallup, DE Dorance Armstrong Jr., TE Dalton Schultz, QB Max White, LB Chris Covington, and WR Cedrick Wilson

Offense

Dallas is going to rely heavily on their top tier offensive line, Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot. Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan will finally be able to put Zeke’s suspension talk behind them and have a full year of production. Dak Prescott took a step back in almost all categories in his sophomore year. Dallas will need him to be a productive for them to be a playoff contender.

Ezekiel took the league by storm and really hasn’t looked back since. Even with him being out for six games last year he was top ten in rushing yards (983). He will see a heavy workload and try and eclipse his rookie year. With a good line to open up huge holes he should again be one of the top backs in the league. Bo Scarbough is a nice draftee pickup for the Boys to pair with Elliott.

Losing their number one wide receiver (Dez Bryant) may hurt a little in the passing game. However, losing their tight end and Hall of Famer in Jason Witten on the field and in the locker room will be an even bigger blow. Allen Hurns will likely slot as their new number one option. If he can get back to his early days, he may be a nice target for Dak. Cole Beasley should continue to be a productive slot receiver as well. Gallup was projected between the first and 3rd round on most mock draft. The Cowboys may have stole a nice pick up in the middle rounds with his size and speed.

The offensive line is going to be a unit. This group is rock solid. Zach Martin, Travis Frederick and Tyron Smith were all Pro Bowl selections. La’el Collins started all 16 games for Dallas and draftee Connor Williams should slide easily into the other guard spot. This group could all get Pro Bowl/All Pro honors this year.

Defense

The front line should be around the middle of the pack in terms of sacks again this season. DeMarcus Lawrence is a freak athlete and has 49 sacks in his four year career. If Kony Ealy can make an impact this group should be better than average.

The Cowboys linebacking core will be the defense’s driving force. Sean Lee is one of the best outside linebackers in the game and will be surrounded by first round pick Thad Castle (Leighton Vander Esch) and Jaylon Smith. Both young and motivated to help this team succeed.

The secondary will could still use a free agent or trade in the safety spot. But currently Byron Jones will move back to the a corner spot while Chidobe Awuzie and Joudan Lewis will battle for the number two cornerback vacancy. Xavier Woods is a nice complimentary piece but he isn’t what you want starting for a playoff team.

Special Teams

Dan Bailey wasn’t as efficient as seasons past. He also had a groin injury and missed a few games. Tavon Austin is an electric positionless player but gives his team something special in the return game. Traded over from the Los Angeles, Austin should give the Cowboys an exciting player to watch.

Outlook

Dallas is looking like a playoff contender, more a wild card and less like a division winner. However, the NFC has so many teams that are in the same seat as the Cowboys. The offense should be rushing a ton of plays and burning the clock. While the defense should be able to manage the run, they may be exposed in the passing game. Unless they can find some help in the secondary and a tight end emerges, these issues may keep the ‘Boys out of the playoffs.

Plays – 

Lean Under 8.5

Under 8 wins seems like the best of the lines. The schedule is not in favor of the Cowboys. Many of their home games are not favorable match-ups and it doesn’t seem like they will steal more than a win or two on the road. This team really is missing some important pieces. 7-9 or 8-8 seasons are very likely outcomes here.


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The prize jewel of the NFL draft fell right into the laps of the New York Giants. Touted as the next best thing since slice bread, the world will be witness to what he can do in the Meadowlands.

Odds: 

NFC EAST DIVISION WINNERS: +600 (Bovada)

NFC CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS: +2800 (Bovada)

SUPER BOWL 53 CHAMPIONS: +5000 (Bovada)

Team Win Total: O/U 7 (Westgate)

Schedule:

Week 1 vs. Jacksonville (+4)
Week 2 @ Dallas (+6)
Week 3 @ Houston (+6)
Week 4 vs. New Orleans (+2.5)
Week 5 @ Carolina (+6)
Week 6 vs. Philadelphia (+3)
Week 7 @ Atlanta (+6)
Week 8 vs. Washington (-3.5)
Week 9 BYE WEEK
Week 10 @ San Francisco (+6.5)
Week 11 vs. Tampa Bay (-3)
Week 12 @ Philadelphia (+8.5)
Week 13 vs. Chicago (-3.5)
Week 14 @ Washington (+1.5)
Week 15 vs. Tennessee (+1.5)
Week 16 @ Indianapolis (PK)
Week 17 vs. Dallas (N/A)

Schedule Outlook

These lines are skewed because they had a disastrous 2017. Drama, injuries and lack of trust in Eli Manning took a huge toll on this team. Through week 7 the Giants will face a tough slate of games. However, outside of the Week 12 match-up the G-men should have a much easier ride.

Key Team Additions and Subtractions 

Additions – RB Jonathon Stewart, WR Cody Latimer, T Nate Solder, LB Alec Olgetree, LB Connor Barwin, FS Curtis Riley, and CB William Gay

Subtractions – QB Geno Smith, RB Shane Vereen, WR Brandon Marshall, T Justin Pugh, DE Jason Pierre-Paul and LB Devon Kennard

Draft – RB Saquan Barkley, G Will Hernandez, LB Lorenzo Carter, DT B.J. Hill, QB Kyle Lauletta, DT R.J. McIntosh

Offense

Eli Manning is getting old, and he didn’t look great last year. It wasn’t his fault. His running backs were horrible. Orleans Darkwa and rookie Wayne Gallman are career back ups and nothing more. Not to mention Brandon Marshall was one of the worst free agent signings of 2017 and Odell Beckham Jr. played in four total games. With a band of misfits Eli still finished with 3468 yards and 19 touchdowns while missing a game. Eli isn’t elite but Eli can still sling it.

The running back spot is in full re-haul. Barkley is going to be relied heavily in the middle of the field. He will be a nightmare match-up for opposing teams. While Stewart should get the short yardage situations. This duo should bring this group into the top ten rushing duos.

Sterling Shepard lead the team in receiving yards with 731, missing 5 games. Pair him with a healthy Odell Beckham will improve the passing game immensely. Odell’s career average for yards is 1106 and 9.5 touchdowns. Those number are unbelievable seeings how hes played in 47 of the 64 possible regular season games since being drafted. Evan Engram the Giants rookie tightend was a pleasant surprise on what was a woeful year, look for him to add to his stellar rookie season.

Outside of Ereck Flowers this line is legit. Solder was the most sought after tackle this off season, Hernandez should be a solid rookie, Patrick Omameh played well in the playoffs last year, and Brett Jones is a smart center. Eli and Saquan should have a ton of time and room to operate behind this line.

Defense

The front office clearly didn’t think they need JPP to be a good team this year. Olivier Vernon will get a chance to showcase his skills as the big dog on the line.  They will move on with Kerry Wynn and Josh Mauro(following his suspension). Damon Harrison will be the starting nose tackle and Dalvin Thompson should also play a key role.

One of the worst linebacking core, got a new makeover this offseason. Trading for Ogletree will be a huge veteran presence. Lorenzo Carter should step in as a rookie and produced. B.J. Goodson will hopefully be healthy and contribute. This core got a lot better from last season.

Eli Apple hasn’t been the guy the Giants thought they were getting from Ohio State. However, he is still a solid corner across from Janoris Jenkins who is a very savvy cornerback. Michael Thomas will take over the safety positions and should be a stud. While Landon Collins will handle the other safety duties, expect nothing less than top flight talent from him.

Special Teams

A new punter and kick returner will join the G-men this year. Latimer will assume the role of return man. He has never filled the hype in Denver but still has potential. Current kicker Aldrick Rosas was horrible but the Giants will bring some players so camp to compete with him.

Outlook

The Giants will be better period. This team isn’t a cellar dweller. This team will surprise many. Eli will have another solid year alongside Odell and Barkley. The defense will also be a lot better as a whole. Don’t be surprised if this team competes for a division title.

Plays – 

Over 7 wins

Last year’s team was undeniably bad. But they were really struggling with injuries and identity issues. New York will be closer to a playoff team than most imagine. 7 wins will be passed later in the season but don’t sweat it.


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The 2018 Washington Professional Football Team will look very different from the 2017 team. A change behind center, has Washington with a new plan.

Odds: 

NFC EAST DIVISION WINNERS: +750 (Bovada)

NFC CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS: +4000 (Bovada)

SUPER BOWL 53 CHAMPIONS: +7500 (Bovada)

Team Win Total: O/U 7 (Westgate)

Schedule:

Week 1 @ Arizona (+1)
Week 2 vs. Indianapolis (-3)
Week 3 vs. Green Bay (+3)
Week 4 BYE WEEK
Week 5 @ New Orleans (+7.5)
Week 6 vs. Carolina (-1)
Week 7 vs. Dallas (-1)
Week 8 @ New York (Giants) (+3.5)
Week 9 vs Atlanta (+2.5)
Week 10 @ Tampa Bay (+3.5)
Week 11 vs. Houston (+3)
Week 12 @ Dallas (+6)
Week 13 @ Philadelphia (+7.5)
Week 14 vs. New York (Giants) (-1.5)
Week 15 @ Jacksonville (+8)
Week 16 @ Tennessee (+5.5)
Week 17 vs. Philadelphia (N/A)

Schedule Outlook

Of the 15 games with current odds, the Redskins are favored in only four of those games and will likely not be favored in week 17. They will be challenged with the early bye week and continue with 13 straight games. Washington Faithful may be in for a rough season.

Key Team Additions and Subtractions 

Additions – QB Alex Smith, WR Paul Richardson, LB Pernell McPhee, LB Zach Brown, CB Orlando Scandrick

Subtractions – QB Kirk Cousins, WR Ryan Grant, WR Terrelle Pryor, G/C Spencer Long, CB Breshaun Breeland and Kendall Fuller

Draft – DT Da’Ron Payne, RB Derrius Guice, OT Geron Christian, S Troy Apke, DT Tim Settle, LB Shaun Dion Hamilton, WR Trey Quinn

Offense

The Offense will look completely different starting with their new quarterback. Alex Smith manages games extremely well. Smith takes care of the ball and rarely turns it over. Last year was by far his best season with a career high in touchdowns and passing yards, he also matched his career low in interceptions. If he produces similar numbers, the Redskins could snag a few unexpected wins.

The Redskins backfield will operate mainly around rookie Derrius Guice and Samaji Perine. Chris Thompson will see a small share of touch but will mostly used in the passing game. Guice could end up being the steal of the draft, his stock fell because of off the field issues, but he has top end talent. The ‘Skins should have no problem rushing the ball with this tandem.

Jamison Crowder will return as the teams receiving leader (789). Adding Paul Richardson to pair with Crowder should give Smith a nice pair to throw to. If healthy, Jordan Reed is a top five tightend, IF*. Vernon Davis will be back from a solid year. This receiving core should improve from last season.

The offensive line wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t great either. This team will need to open up better run gaps this year to help balance their offense. This team can’t rely on playing behind and having Smith slinging the ball all game. The pass blocking is better than the run blocking but the ‘Skins will want to rely more on Perine and Guice this season.

Defense

Last year Washington was dead last in rushing yards allowing 2146. Drafting a heavy body to plug the gap was their top priority. Da’Ron Payne will likely come in and fill the nose tackle immediately. Washington is hoping Jonathan Allen takes a huge step forward, the defensive end did not live up to his high draft stock from last year.

Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith are back for another year but Trent Murphy and Junior Galette are gone. Zach Brown will man the inside spot and will be looking for a running mate. If the line can stop some of the action the linebackers faced last year, it should allow the backers to be more effective.

The secondary returns Josh Norman and added Orlando Scandrick to pair. Second year safeties Montae Nicholson and Fabian Moreau should be able to continue their growth after a year of being in the system.

Special Teams

Dustin Hopkins was rewarded with a new contract because he was a dead eye within 40 yards.  Outside of a lone extra point didnt miss inside 40 yards. Bashaud Breeland handled most returns, however Chris Thompson will likely take control of that role this year. This team will need their return unit to step up in a big way this season.

Outlook

The Redskins should be a more competitive group this year, their logic was addition by subtraction. Fixing their defensive line and adding the veteran presence of Alex Smith will be huge boost. Derrius Guice has a  shot at winning Offensive Rookie of the Year. Overall the team looks better, but may need another year for all the pieces to gel. Don’t be surprised if this team has 10 wins at the end of the year and misses the playoffs.

Plays – 

Week 1 (-110) Moneyline

If the ‘Skins have any shot at the playoffs, they will need to go 2-1 to start the year. Look for them to snag a road win against a team who will also have a entirely new look.


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