Even though the New York Giants appear to have a much-improved roster heading into the 2021 NFL, oddsmakers don’t appear to be showing the Giants much love. When it comes to who will win the NFC East, the Giants appear to be the third betting choice in the four-team division.
Using odds from William Hill, ESPN recently broke it down.
Dallas Cowboys (+105)
Why the Cowboys can win: It’s possible if the talent comes together, if coach Mike McCarthy can punch the right buttons, if Quinn can make the defense better. That’s a lot of ifs. But talent-wise, the Cowboys are better on offense than any other team in the division. Prescott’s health shouldn’t be an issue by the time the season starts. The Cowboys are confident offensive linemen Tyron Smith, La’el Collins and Zack Martin will be at 100 percent. Running back Ezekiel Elliott has something to prove. The defense simply cannot be worse than it was a year ago. Of the division teams, the Cowboys would appear to have the most going for them.
Valentine’s View: The Cowboys are the “prove it” team in the division. They are always better on paper than they turn out to be on the field. I will believe they can win the division when they actually do it. No chance i’m putting my money on Dallas.
Washington Football Team (+275)
Why the WFT can win: Because it upgraded both sides of the ball coming off a 7-9 division championship in coach Ron Rivera’s first season — one impacted by his cancer treatments. It added speed at wide receiver with Curtis Samuel and Dyami Brown. It bolstered the offensive line with second-round tackle Samuel Cosmi. It added cornerback William Jackson III and linebacker Jamin Davis to solidify the group playing behind one of the best defensive lines in football. And, while quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has never appeared in a playoff game he, too, is an upgrade — and playing the best ball of his career.
Valentine’s View: Really? Yes, Washington has a tremendous defense. But, do you really believe in Ryan Fitzpatrick? I don’t. He’s fun. He’s a great story. The Football Team, though, is asking a guy entering his 17th NFL season to be something he has never been — a winning quarterback. Maybe it works out, but I wouldn’t be thrilled about putting my money on it.
Why the Giants can win: Look at the additions. Golladay. Cornerback Adoree’ Jackson and tight end Kyle Rudolph. First-round talents Kadarius Toney (wide receiver) and Azeez Ojulari (edge rusher). And they’re getting Barkley back from injury. There is a lot to like about what the Giants did this offseason. They were close to winning the NFC East last season with the league’s 31st-ranked scoring offense. Quarterback Daniel Jones with all these playmakers in the second year of an offensive system will be better. And so will the Giants.
Valentine’s View: In all of the gnashing of teeth about the Eagles playing Nate Sudfeld at quarterback in Week 17, effectively throwing a game and handing Washington the division title, it’s easy to overlook the reality that the Giants lost the title on the field. If you want to boil it down to one play, you could make the case that the Giants were a Week 7 Evan Engram dropped pass away from winning the division, anyway. Or, a two-point conversion from having a chance to beat the Tampa Bay Bucs in overtime in Week 8.
It’s not hard to argue that with Kenny Golladay, Kyle Rudolph, Saquon Barkley, Adoree’ Jackson, Kadarius Toney and Azeez Ojulari the Giants have improved as much on paper — if not more — than Washington.
I have no idea who will end up winning the division. I just know that, in my view, there is no way there should be such a big separation from Dallas and Washington to the Giants in terms of their odds of winning the division. If I were a betting man, I would take these odds thinking I would have a decent chance at a nice return.
Philadelphia Eagles (+500)
Why the Eagles can win: Wentz was one of the worst quarterbacks last season statistically; it’s reasonable to expect Hurts to clear that bar with relative ease. The addition of first-round pick DeVonta Smith will take some of the load off Hurts and help ignite the offense, as will fresh ideas from first-year coach Nick Sirianni and a return to health for the offensive line, which is still one of the best units in the league on paper. The free-agent signing of safety Anthony Harris will help the Eagles generate more takeaways under defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon.
Valentine’s View: Nope. DeVonta Smith might become a star, but I’m not on the ‘Jalen Hurts can be a franchise quarterback’ bandwagon. Oh, and maybe Nick Sirianni is the 2021 version of Joe Judge, a surprise hire who proves to be a good one, but I can’t stop wondering if he got the job because he will play along with whatever the Eagles’ front office wants. No chance I would put a dime on the Eagles.