Monday, May 24, 2010

Vegas Football Odds Favor Dallas Cowboys to win the NFC East in 2010

by Ryan Nox

1. Dallas Cowboys (+120 odds to win NFC East in 2010-11 season)

2009 Record: 11-5 (1st)

Dallas will be seeking its third division title in the last four years this season. The Cowboys captured the 2009 NFC East crown with a dominant effort against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 17. Dallas mirrored that performance the following week against Philly to gain its first playoff win since 1996. In 2009, the Cowboys were second in the league in total offense but were just 14th in scoring offense. Dallas is hoping that rookie wideout Dez Bryant will aid the Cowboys in the red zone in 2010. On defense, the Cowboys were second in the NFL in scoring defense a year ago. However, the unit struggled in the divisional playoffs against Minnesota. With the exception of the opener at Washington, the Cowboys won’t face a team away from home that had a losing record in 2009.

2. Philadelphia Eagles (+250 odds to win NFC East in 2010-11 season)

2009 Record: 11-5 (2nd)

It’s the end of an era in Philly. After leading the Eagles to five conference championship games in the last decade, quarterback Donovan McNabb is in a different locale in the NFC East. With only two career starts under his belt, fourth-year QB Kevin Kolb is now the starting signal-caller for Philadelphia. The Eagles have ranked sixth or higher in the NFL in scoring offense in three of the last four seasons. The running game will also be without a longtime standout. Brain Westbrook, who led the squad in rushing for six straight seasons from 2003-08, is no longer an Eagle. After ranking fourth in the NFL in scoring defense in 2008, the Eagles fell to 19th in this category in 2009. With only two games against 2009 playoff teams in its first 12 contests, Philadelphia has a chance to enter the final quarter of the year in good shape.

3. New York Giants (+250 odds to win NFC East in 2010-11 season)

2009 Record: 8-8 (3rd)

New York cruised to a 5-0 start in 2009 but stumbled to a .500 squad by the end of the year. The Giants were outscored 85-16 in the final two games of the 2009 campaign. The collapse of the defense was the main problem. The unit that shined during the 2007 postseason run was 30th in the league in scoring defense a year ago. The Giants signed All-Pro safety Antrel Rolle during the offseason to boost the secondary. Up front, rookie defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul should help the pass rush. The offense finished eighth in the NFL in scoring and total offense a year ago. Young wideout Steve Smith emerged to grab 107 catches in 2009. The road slate is daunting for New York in the 2010 NFL betting season. Five of its first seven away outings are against 2009 playoff squads.

4. Washington Redskins (+700 odds to win NFC East in 2010-11 season)

2009 Record: 4-12 (4th)

The arrivals of McNabb and new head coach Mike Shanahan have brought some cautious optimism to Washington. However, a mediocre group of receivers and some aging running backs could make it a challenge for McNabb in his debut season for the Redskins. A defense that has finished in the top 10 in total defense in eight of the last ten seasons is in a lot better shape. The Redskins could be in an early hole based on its schedule. Of its first six games, four are against 2009 playoff clubs.