It’s been pretty much confirmed that the NFC East is a dumpster fire. When a team wins the division with a 7-9 record as Washington did in 2020, that’s about as weak as it comes. The hope is that the 2021 season will be a little more competitive; the fact that the Dallas Cowboys were competitive until the final weeks after playing four different quarterbacks is a clear signal that the East is no longer a Beast. The Least is more accurate.
Still, someone has to win it, and with that win comes a playoff berth. The early favorites for the 2021 NFC East title are the Cowboys. That certainly will bring much skepticism and scoffing from different parts of the fanbase, and the media. But the fact remains that the betting houses favor the Cowboys.
Oddsmakers project the division to be competitive yet rather underwhelming for the second straight season. Among the four teams, Dallas has the highest win total at 9.5 (under -130). However, the Cowboys are the NFL’s only projected division winner with a win total that is not in double digits.
Again, someone has to win it. And the Cowboys should be the favorites for one simple reason. Dak Prescott. The Cowboys clearly have the best quarterback in the division and it’s really not that close.
There was plenty of debate about how much the Cowboys should pay Prescott, and that debate continues even though it’s a done deal. The fact that Prescott was able to command so much money tells you what his value is perceived to be around the league. The Cowboys knew they had to pony up the money or Prescott could have certainly gotten something similar on the open market in a year.
Honestly, the statistics produced by Prescott is his career say that he should be paid among the better quarterbacks in the league. On a purely individual basis he’s done all he can. Collectively as a team, there have been issues and some of that will fall on the quarterback. But most of it falls on a failing defense and other depth issues on the roster. Prescott is not the issue and never was, now we just wait on a clean bill of health for the 2021 season.
The rest of the division is not so lucky. The reigning champs, the Washington Football Team, passed on choosing a top quarterback in the draft. Instead, they’ve opted for veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick. He certainly has has his moments of upper-echelon play leading to the catchy team Fitzmagic, but it is never sustained and leaves the Football Team with a sub-optimal option at signal-caller.
The New York Giants are trying to make it happen with Daniel Jones, and there are tantalizing signs that they might have something. As of yet, though, he hasn’t been able to put it all together and make the leap the Giants need. His turnovers are a huge concern for the team and until that is under control, they will struggle.
The Philadelphia Eagles are hitching their wagon to Jalen Hurts, who is kind of the wildcard among NFC East quarterbacks. His small sample size makes it hard to project his future. The up-and-down nature of that sample size gives no clarity. He certainly has had glimpses of greatness, but nothing sustained as of yet.
All of that adds up to one thing, the Cowboys should be the favorites in the division. They have the best quarterback by far, they have ample weapons on offense to score points consistently, they just need a better defense to really compete at the top level. A defensive-heavy draft combined with the hiring of Dan Quinn hopes to solve that.