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The NFL schedule is official, which means hungry sports bettors can rejoice knowing that NFL team futures can finally be placed. Obviously, there is still plenty of time for rosters to change between now and the start of the regular season, but I’m going to take a look at the schedules for NFC teams and provide advice on individual team’s win totals based on what each team looks like right now.
Today I’ll be focusing on the NFC East. All win total projections come from FanDuel.
- 2019 Record: 8-8
- 2020 Strength of Schedule: (.459) – 3rd easiest
- 2020 Win Total: Over 9.5 (-150) / Under 9.5 (+125)
This number just keeps moving up, and based on the current -150 juice, it seems like it’s bound to rise to 10 in no time. There is a lot of hype around the Cowboys this season. Mike McCarthy takes over head coaching duties and many in Dallas feel that this is their year to finally get back to playoff success.
However, the path to the Super Bowl, the playoffs, and even 10 wins is not going to be easy. Breaking down the schedule as a whole, things don’t look too bad for the Cowboys. Their strength of schedule is third easiest in the NFL, though that number is certainly helped by playing four games against the Giants and Washington who won a combined seven games last season. The truth is, there are some tricky stretches to this schedule.
In Week 1, the Cowboys travel to LA to take on the Rams, in the first game ever played at SoFi Stadium. This game is winnable, but there is going to be a ton of emotion surrounding the Rams as they open up the stadium, especially if they manage to get fans in the seats.
Dallas then travels home to take on Atlanta, another very winnable game. But things get a little tricky for Dallas when they have to travel back to the west coast in Week 3 to take on the Seahawks in Seattle. It’s a lot of travel in the first three weeks, and while it’s unlikely the team will be tired so early, it is possible the travel causes them to lose a game they would otherwise win.
The good news for the Cowboys is that if talent prevails, they have five guaranteed wins on the schedule because they face Washington and the Giants twice, and one of their non-conference games is against Cincinnati. Now, where will the other five wins come from?
Home games against Cleveland and Arizona stand out. They now just need three more wins. However, in their final seven games, the Cowboys travel to Minnesota and Baltimore and play host to the 49ers in Week 15. Three of their other four games in that stretch are against the NFC East. While the division isn’t loaded, there is always the chance for a slip up in a rivalry game. The NFC East is known for being competitive even when teams are uneven on paper.
This means Dallas needs to get off to a hot start to safely achieve 10 wins. The Cowboys have a plethora of talent and are excited about their new coach, which is why this number is likely to climb to 10 before long. But while the Cowboys could easily get to 11 or 12 wins, nine or 10 feels a lot more likely.
If this number keeps climbing, I suggest taking the under at 10.5. However, where it sits now, I’d lean over.
|Week 1||at Rams||Loss||Week 9||vs Steelers||Win|
|Week 2||vs Falcons||Win||Week 11||at Vikings||Win|
|Week 3||at Seahawks||Loss||Week 12||vs Washington||Win|
|Week 4||vs Browns||Win||Week 13||at Ravens||Loss|
|Week 5||vs Giants||Win||Week 14||at Bengals||Win|
|Week 6||vs Cardinals||Win||Week 15||vs 49ers||Loss|
|Week 7||at Washington||Win||Week 16||vs Eagles||Win|
|Week 8||at Eagles||Loss||Week 17||at Giants||Loss|
2020 Record Prediction: 10-6
The Pick: Over 9.5 wins
NEW YORK GIANTS
- 2019 Record: 4-12
- 2020 Strength of Schedule: (.482) – 7th easiest
- 2020 Win Total: Over 6 (-115) / Under 6 (-105)
This feels right on the money. Look at the Giants’ non-conference schedule and find where the wins are coming from. The 10 games consist of home games against Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Tampa Bay, Arizona, and Cleveland, and trips to Chicago, LA to take on the Rams, Cincinnati, Seattle, and Baltimore. For a team that finished the season with four wins a year ago, the schedule is doing them no favors as they look to bounce back.
Of those 10 games, four of them feel like possible victories with Cincinnati, Arizona, Cleveland, and Chicago. Two of their home games are on Monday Night Football, but it’s hard to imagine the lackluster secondary doing much against Tom Brady or Ben Roethlisberger.
Being generous, let’s say the Giants somehow manage to knock off one of Pittsburgh or Tampa Bay – yes, I realize I am being very generous – can we even guarantee in this situation that the Giants win more than six games? While Chicago is beatable, they are still a superior team to the Giants, and even Cincinnati could be tough this year if Joe Burrow is a true difference-maker.
All that said, the Giants probably aren’t going to beat Pittsburgh or Tampa, meaning it’s likely the Giants only win three non-divisional games. Therefore, they’d need to win four divisional games to go over their projected win total. Two wins over Washington seem reasonable, and though the NFC East is notorious for playing unbelievable rivalry games, it’s hard to see the Giants splitting with both the Cowboys and Eagles who are both projected to be Super Bowl contenders this season.
Six wins feel about right. However if I was forced to bet, I’d say five wins seem much more likely than seven. The over is actually favored at the moment, so wait it out and take the under if this hits 6.5.
|Week 1||vs Steelers||Loss||Week 9||at Washington||Loss|
|Week 2||at Bears||Loss||Week 10||vs Eagles||Loss|
|Week 3||vs 49ers||Loss||Week 12||at Bengals||Win|
|Week 4||at Rams||Loss||Week 13||at Seahawks||Loss|
|Week 5||at Cowboys||Loss||Week 14||vs Cardinals||Win|
|Week 6||vs Washington||Win||Week 15||vs Browns||Win|
|Week 7||at Eagles||Loss||Week 16||at Ravens||Loss|
|Week 8||vs Buccaneers||Loss||Week 17||vs Cowboys||Win|
2020 Record Prediction: 5-11
The Pick: Under 6 wins
- 2019 Record: 9-7
- 2020 Strength of Schedule: (.486) – 8th easiest
- 2020 Win Total: Over 9.5 (-105) / Under 9.5 (-115)
The Eagles’ bye week is Week 9, which is important because their record heading into that weekend is going to make all the difference for bettors. If you take the Eagles’ over, you’d be feeling very good about things if Philadelphia went into their bye at 6-2. The second half of the schedule offers just three home games, one against Washington, one against New Orleans, and one against Seattle. If the Eagles can win two of those three then they would need to win just two of their final five road games.
The good news for the Eagles is that their road games on the back half the schedule aren’t that difficult. Aside from a December trip to Lambeau and a contest in Dallas, the other three road contests are games they should be favored in. After their bye, they travel to New York to take on the Giants, and then to Cleveland, before later in the season traveling to Arizona.
Even if they only win two of these games they’re still likely going to win 10 games. This is why finding six wins in the first half of the season is so important. Because the Eagles have four, probably five, wins on their schedule in the back half. Six wins in the front half, not only makes 10 wins likely, it gives breathing room for a slip up later.
In their first eight, there is one game that feels like a definite loss, a road contest at San Francisco. However, that game comes after back to back home games against the Rams and Bengals. Perhaps, the game against Cincinnati will give them some relief before traveling to San Francisco for a slugfest. Their season opener against Washington feels like it could be a trap, but the Eagles are much more talented than their division rivals, which should lead to them starting the season 3-1.
After San Francisco, the Eagles travel to Pittsburgh, before playing three straight home games against Baltimore, the Giants, and Dallas. Getting to six wins in the first half won’t be easy, but it’s definitely manageable. Even if they only manage to win five games in the first half, which looks like a worst-case scenario, it’s hard to imagine the Eagles not finding five wins in the back half where things get much easier.
|Week 1||at Washington||Win||Week 10||at Giants||Win|
|Week 2||vs Rams||Win||Week 11||at Browns||Loss|
|Week 3||vs Bengals||Win||Week 12||vs Seahawks||Win|
|Week 4||at 49ers||Loss||Week 13||at Packers||Win|
|Week 5||at Steelers||Win||Week 14||vs Saints||Win|
|Week 6||vs Ravens||Loss||Week 15||at Cardinals||Loss|
|Week 7||vs Giants||Win||Week 16||at Cowboys||Loss|
|Week 8||vs Cowboys||Win||Week 17||vs Washington||Win|
2020 Record Prediction: 11-5
The Pick: Over 9.5 wins
- 2019 Record: 3-13
- 2020 Strength of Schedule: (.465) – 5th easiest
- 2020 Win Total: Over 5 (-120) / Under 5 (+100)
In Ron Rivera’s first season as head coach, the expectations in Washington are low. Their win total is set at five which would be a two-win improvement over last season. The key to getting those wins is going to be how much Dwayne Haskins has improved this offseason, and how well Alex Smith and Kyle Allen can compete as backups if things go wrong. But regardless of who is under center, are their five wins on this schedule?
Washington will get two games against the Giants, and it’s believable they could find a win there. It’s unlikely they’ll be able to take down the far superior Cowboys, however, when they play Philadelphia creates quite a bit of interest. They take them on at home in Week 1, a time when bad teams are often able to surprise good teams. Remember, last season the Bengals almost took down Seattle in Week 1. And then they don’t meet the Eagles again until Week 17 when it is possible that the Eagles will already have a playoff spot, or possibly the division, locked up. Let’s say, because of the circumstances, Washington wins one of those games.
Now we must find at least three more wins for Washington. Their three best chances are at home against Cincinnati, at home against Carolina, and on the road at Arizona. There are also road games against Detroit and Cleveland that could be winnable, but the truth is, Washington will likely be underdogs in all but three games this season. Maybe they manage to pull one upset. That would give them four wins. Maybe they actually manage to shock two teams this season. Now they’re at five wins. But can they actually get to six?
Look at the schedule below, and find the wins. While a low total, this feels like one of the better under plays of the season.
|Week 1||vs Eagles||Loss||Week 10||at Lions||Loss|
|Week 2||at Cardinals||Loss||Week 11||vs Bengals||Win|
|Week 3||at Browns||Loss||Week 12||at Cowboys||Loss|
|Week 4||vs Ravens||Loss||Week 13||at Steelers||Loss|
|Week 5||vs Rams||Loss||Week 14||at 49ers||Loss|
|Week 6||at Giants||Loss||Week 15||vs Seahawks||Loss|
|Week 7||vs Cowboys||Loss||Week 16||vs Panthers||Win|
|Week 9||vs Giants||Win||Week 17||at Eagles||Loss|
2020 Record Prediction: 3-13
The Pick: Under 5 wins
- AFC North Win Totals and Record Predictions for Bengals, Browns, Ravens, and Steelers
- AFC East Win Totals and Record Predictions for Bills, Dolphins, Jets, and Patriots
- AFC South Win Totals and Record Predictions for Colts, Jaguars, Texans, and Titans
- AFC West Win Totals and Record Predictions for Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs, and Raiders
- NFC North Win Totals and Record Predictions for Bears, Lions, Packers, and Vikings