Following the NFL schedule release, fans and analysts often try to predict which games will be won and lost by each team. Another key aspect of the schedule release involves sportsbooks setting the predicted number of games any given team should win, using the book’s models. In this series, each of the eight NFL divisions will be previewed on a team-by-team basis. The win total projections below have been taken from Caesars Sportsbook, via ESPN.
The fourth division that will be assessed is the NFC East. In the past three seasons, three different franchises have won the division, earning the right to host at least one postseason game. With one team switching both its head coach and general manager while another team changed names, the NFC East should be an interesting division in 2022.
Previous divisions in the series:
Caesars Sportsbook Over/Under Projection: 10.5 wins
2021 Record: 12-5
The most notable move the Cowboys made this offseason was shipping Amari Cooper to Cleveland in exchange for a fifth-round selection, turning into the rights to Matt Waletzko, and a sixth-round pick swap. For a player who has earned four Pro Bowl nods and is considered one of the sharpest route runners in the NFC, this appeared somewhat surprising. The Raiders received a first-round pick when they dealt Cooper to Dallas in 2018, which only worsens the optics of this trade.
The absence of Cooper should open more opportunities for skill-position players such as CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, and Tony Pollard. Dallas added James Washington and Jalen Tolbert to their offense, but this side of the ball did not improve in the past few months. On defense, the Cowboys lost Randy Gregory while adding Dante Fowler Jr., which doesn’t move the needle too much.
Dallas shouldn’t finish the 2022 campaign much differently than last season, a year in which they won the division and 12 regular-season games. With a strength of schedule that is tied for the easiest in the NFL, the Cowboys are the odds-on favorites to win the division.
Prediction: Over 10.5 wins
Caesars Sportsbook Over/Under Projection: 9 wins
2021 Record: 9-8
Until the NFL Draft, the Eagles had a relatively quiet offseason. The team signed Haason Reddick to a three-year deal, as well as one-year prove-it contracts with both Kyzir White and Zach Pascal. However, Philadelphia dealt its first-round and third-round selections to Tennessee in exchange for A.J. Brown. Pairing him with DeVonta Smith on the outside is a top-notch receiving duo, and this should increase Jalen Hurts’ productivity as a passer.
The former Alabama and Oklahoma signal-caller improved in nearly every passing metric on PFF, including big time throw percentage, passing yards per attempt, completion percentage and adjusted completion percentage, and he reduced his turnover worthy play rate. Hurts took strides as a runner, too, increasing the number of yards per carry, missed tackles, yards after contact per carry, and fumbled the football fewer times than in his rookie year. Having this offseason to continue to build chemistry with DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert while developing his connection with A.J. Brown could help Hurts take a considerable third-year leap.
Two players the team drafted in late April are Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean. The former Bulldog teammates will reunite in Philadelphia, and the Eagles’ defenders have the chance to make an immediate impact. The Eagles traded some draft capital to ensure they could select Davis, and Dean fell into their lap in the third round.
Prediction: Over 9 wins
Caesars Sportsbook Over/Under Projection: 7.5 wins
2021 Record: 7-10
The largest news to come from Washington this offseason was the new team name: the Commanders. Outside of this and a few player acquisitions, there wasn’t a lot of change for Washington. Trading a slew of draft picks, the franchise was able to bring in quarterback Carson Wentz. He should be their day-one starter, but the upgrade he provides over Taylor Heinicke may not be too significant. Last season, Wentz did outperform Heinicke statistically, but Wentz has dealt with injuries and decision-making questions in the past. His upside far exceeds that of Heinicke, but the success of the Commanders’ offense hinges somewhat largely on his shoulders.
Aside from the quarterback position, few major roster shifts took place. Trai Turner came in to replace Brandon Scherff, and the team drafted Jahan Dotson in the first round. Ron Rivera will be working with a similar squad to the one that won seven games last season, yet their overall point differential ranked 25th in the league.
Washington hasn’t exceeded seven wins since the 2016 season, one in which Robert Kelley was their leading rusher and Pierre Garçon finished first in receiving yards. Last year, the team struggled at times, losing four-consecutive games multiple times. Although this team could end up winning more games than expected, few signs point to tangible improvement on paper.
Prediction: Under 7.5 wins
New York Giants
Caesars Sportsbook Over/Under Projection: 7 wins
2021 Record: 4-13
The Giants’ front office saw monumental shifts this offseason, hiring Brian Daboll and Joe Schoen from the Buffalo Bills. New York had a strong first round of the draft, landing Kayvon Thibodeau and Evan Neal. The 33rd Team had both of these players as top-three prospects, so drafting each of them bodes well for the franchise. Outside of these draft selections, the Giants’ 2022 offseason hasn’t been eye-opening.
The team cut James Bradberry, a cornerback who recently signed with the division-rival Eagles. Each of their projected starting interior offensive linemen played elsewhere in 2021, making immediate success for this group difficult despite having Andrew Thomas and Evan Neal as bookends. Bringing Wan’Dale Robinson into their receiving core may help, but none of their pass-catchers have lived up to their expectations yet.
The Giants have ranked 31st in offensive points and yards in each of the past two seasons, and quarterback Daniel Jones still appears to be their starter despite not having his fifth-year option exercised. Winning seven games looks to be rather ambitious as New York has only reached this benchmark once since 2014. The improved position groups on their roster may not translate to three more victories than last season.