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NFC East NFL betting preview: Eagles hoping Murray’s defection gets them over the hump
By Steve Merril

Dallas Cowboys (2014: 12-4 SU, 10-6 ATS)

Odds to win division: 7/1
Season win total: 9.5

Why bet the Cowboys: Dallas was an undervalued football team for most of 2014. The Cowboys were a very good team, but many failed to realize that. Dallas got a raw deal in their playoff loss in Green Bay, so motivation will not be an issue coming into this season. Dallas led the league in time of possession because of their ability to run the football. DeMarco Murray is gone, but running back is an easy position to replace with a strong offensive line, so all is not lost. Dallas has talent, so another playoff appearance should be well in reach for the Cowboys in 2015.

Why not bet the Cowboys: The Cowboys have two clear weaknesses coming into the 2015 season. Head coach Jason Garrett is extremely poor, and he’s one of the worst game managers in the entire league. His decisions often fail to give Dallas their best chances at winning, so his poor skills often prevent the team from reaching their full potential. Dallas also has a bad defense, especially in the secondary where they are extremely vulnerable against good passing offenses. If Dallas fails to have a strong running game to control the clock on offense, then their poor defense may be too much to overcome in 2015.

Season win total pick: Under 9.5

New York Giants (2014: 6-10 SU, 7-9 ATS)

Odds to win division: 20/1
Season win total: 8

Why bet the Giants: There are a lot of positive signs that point to a monster season by the Giants in 2015. New York’s offense was simply awful early on last year as they were learning a completely new system. But the Giants were explosive down the stretch, averaging 29.2 points per game over their last six games. QB Eli Manning threw for 4,410 yards with a 30/14 TD/INT ratio. If the team stays healthy, the Giants will have a potent offense this season.

Why not bet the Giants: The New York Giants slogged through a miserable 6-10 SU season last year; they were just 3-9 going into the last 25% of the season. And if winning three of their last four games was just a mirage, New York will be in store for another mediocre season. Head coach Tom Coughlin’s shtick is old and worn out, and it wouldn’t be a shocking revelation if the team completely tunes him out as the season goes on.

Season win total pick: Over 8

Philadelphia Eagles (2014: 10-6 SU, 9-7 ATS)

Odds to win division: 7/1
Season win total: 9.5

Why bet the Eagles: Philadelphia is a team on the rise. Running back DeMarco Murray was a big coup, especially for a run-orientated offense. As of now, it’s unclear who will be the Eagles’ quarterback, but insiders believe a healthy Sam Bradford will get the nod. Head coach Chip Kelly runs unique offensive schemes, and he’s typically one step ahead of opposing defenses. The Eagles’ defense may be one of the most improved this season, especially since they shored-up their secondary. Philadelphia should be a good team once again in 2015.

Why not bet the Eagles: There a lot of question marks surrounding the Philadelphia Eagles coming into the 2015 season. The Eagles suffered many high-profile personnel losses, including Nick Foles, LeSean McCoy, and Jeremy Maclin. The quarterback situation is unsettled, and the Eagles really need improvement from their defense. If the new pieces don’t gel quickly, it could be a season in which the Eagles hover right around the .500 mark.

Season win total pick: Over 9.5

Washington Redskins (2014: 4-12 SU, 5-11 ATS)

Odds to win division: 50/1
Season win total: 6

Why bet the Redskins: The writing was on the wall coming into last season for the Washington Redskins. That prediction held true as Washington went just 4-12 SU with an ugly -137 point differential. Expectations are extremely low for the Redskins once again in 2015, so the team may be able to sneak up on their opponents this season.

Why not bet the Redskins: Things don’t look any better for 2015. Head coach Jay Gruden is in his second year, and he still has a lot to fix. QB Robert Griffin III is fragile, and he’ll be playing behind a terrible offensive line once again. The Redskins’ defense needs a lot of work, especially their secondary which ranked #31 in yards per pass attempt allowed. Washington may improve their record by a game or two, but they need a major overhaul to get back into the playoffs, especially in such a tough and competitive division.

Season win total pick: Under 6