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Worst to first? An argument for the Giants winning the NFC East

Odds are it won’t happen, but ...

NFL: New York Giants Minicamp John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Could the New York Giants go from worst to first in the NFC East in 2022? Jason McIntyre of FOX Sports says placing a bet on the idea that they could do just that is not wasting your money.

McIntyre writes, in part:

The first step in making NFL futures bets is to zoom out and look at the big picture. When it comes to the Giants, they play the easiest schedule in the league — when you look at opponents’ win totals last season. And, their non-divisional road schedule features the easiest slate in the league. In the two weeks before and after the bye, the Giants will face the four weakest teams in the NFL — Jacksonville, Seattle, Houston and Detroit.

Besides having the easiest schedule in the league, their roster is also much improved. The moves weren’t sexy, but they were significant. ...

Yes, I know the Giants have been one of the worst teams in the NFL over the last five years, going a staggering 22-59. The last time this team was respectable was in 2016 when Odell Beckham was a budding star. Of course, he then took the offense on a boat trip the week before the playoff game against the Packers. We all know what happened next, the Giants lost, 38-13, and have been in a tailspin ever since.

However, that was then and this is now. With a healthy squad, new coaching staff and an easy schedule, it’s smart to bet on the Giants in a land full of dwarfs.

Valentine’s View

The Giants are +800 to win the NFC East, worst odds in the division, per DraftKings Sportsbook. The Dallas Cowboys are +135, the Philadelphia Eagles +165 and the Washington Commanders +500.

If you have $100 burning a hole in your pocket and you are just dying to wager it on something, is it worth trying to turn it into $900 by plunking it down on the Giants to win the NFC East?

In my view, there is no way I would predict that the Giants will win the NFC East. This is a team tied with the New York Jets for the worst record in football over the past five years at 22-59, a .272 winning percentage. It is a team with a rookie GM and rookie head coach that is — again — starting over.

Still, we are talking about the less than dominant NFC East, a division where surprising things happen and no one seems capable of winning two years in a row.

The Cincinnati Bengals, of course, went from 4-11-1 in 2020 to 10-7 and a Super Bowl appearance in 2021. They might not be the best example of the kind of turnaround we are talking about, though. The Bengals lost star quarterback Joe Burrow to a 2020 knee injury, and also kept coach Zac Taylor in 2021 rather than starting over.

The 2021 Philadelphia Eagles went 9-8 and made the playoffs in Nick Sirianni’s first season after going 4-11-1 in 2020. The Buffalo Bills went a surprising 9-7 in 2017, Sean McDermott’s first year as head coach, reaching the AFC playoffs. That came after a 7-9 2016 season.

Former Giants scouting assistant Tom Rudawsky referenced this type of scenario for the Giants during a recent appearance on the ‘Valentine’s Views’ podcast.

“You just want to see this team make improvement, you want to see them show strides, you want to see the team have life, you want to see ‘em compete, you want to see ‘em fight in the fourth quarter when they’re trailing. You just want to see a football team with life and energy and juice,” Rudawsky said.

“If you see those things, those things often result in wins. So if you see those things you might see the Giants outperform their expected win total.”