2023 Division Preview: NFC East

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Introducing Division Previews (and an explanation):

As you may know, I like to dabble in sports betting. Since I take it fairly seriously, every offseason I go through every team and making analyze how they performed in the previous season and note what changes they’ve made. Since I’m gathering this information anyway, I figure I might as well turn them into season preview articles. But since they’re just my personal notes, they can be a bit cryptic and hard to understand. So before I start, I figure it’s a good idea to give a brief overview of what everything means.

Record – Their 2022 win-loss record

Pyth The Pythagorean win-loss record. This is based on point differential and does a better job of predicting future outcomes than actual record.

9+ Record Record in games decided by 9 or more points, the idea being that these are games where one play wouldn’t have made the difference and give a better indicator of which team was truly better. It also helps give context to the Pythagorean record, since the Pythagorean record can be biased by one extreme outlier game.

TO – Turnover margin. Turnovers have a huge effect on the outcome of games, but are also pretty random. A team with a very good turnover differential is likely to see that regress to the mean and cause them to lose more games, with the reverse being true for teams with bad differentials.

Impressive Games – This is my completely subjective assessment on whether a game was good for the team, or not. This can include losses, if a bad team manages to be close with a good team. It’s also relative to how good the team is, so the Cardinals losing a close game to an elite team counts as a good game for them, while it would be merely expected for the Chiefs.

Bad Games – The opposite of an impressive game, with the same rules applying. These two measures are meant to account for strength of schedule and other factors.

Playoffs – Impressive and Bad games are just for the regular season, so this field is for notable playoff games.

Notes – Mainly for giving context to games that’s not immediately obvious.

Notable Positional Changes – These are any changes, other than quarterback or head coach (which get their own field and are always noted since they’re so important), that have a significant impact on the team. This doesn’t include swapping out role players, but instead should be a move that is going to have a real impact on the win-loss record of the team. The exception would be replacing a star player for a star player. Even though it doesn’t change much, I figure it’s still worth noting. Also, draft picks I typically don’t include unless they’re 1st round picks

Now to the actual preview.

1. Dallas Cowboys

Last year I said this division would be very close, and ended up picking the Eagles ahead of the Cowboys because I felt the Eagles had improved while the Cowboys took a step back. And that’s exactly what happened. It was close, with the Cowboys a week 6 win in Philadelphia away from winning the division.

This season it’s also very close, but I’m going with the Cowboys for the same reason. This time they’re the ones who made improvements, while the Eagles lost some key players. Not to mention that the Cowboys seemed to have their number last year (their loss was without Dak).

2. Philadelphia Eagles

People aren’t appreciating the chances that the Eagles might take a major step back this season. I wouldn’t be entirely shocked if they missed the playoffs. Last year they had an incredible run of luck facing some of the worst quarterbacks the NFL had to offer, having just a single win against a playoff team with a positive point differential playing their starting quarterback.

Not that they’re going to suck or anything, but if they take a step back, and Washington is able to play well without the Wentz anchor dragging them down they could find them just outside the playoff picture.

3. Washington Commanders

I still don’t understand why the Commanders traded for, then insisted on starting, Wentz. If Heinicke had played the whole season they would have had an excellent chance of making the playoffs. They made the lateral move from Heinicke to Jacoby Brissett, so if the talent around him remains the same they have a very realistic chance at earning the right to lose in the Wildcard round to a real contender.

4. New York Giants

Congrats to the Giants for putting together a winning season and a playoff win. But a negative point differential means they were likely punching above their weight. And it gets worse when you look game-by-game, as they really never impressed on a consistent basis.

The good news is that they did make some improvements, but even these are hard to get too excited about. Their two big veteran additions are at two of the least important positions in the game (tight end and linebacker), and the upgrade I marked for corner is dependent on a rookie, which is always a gamble.


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05/30/2023 4:44 pm

The cowgirls are the dolts of the nfc. Duh!!! 😁

05/30/2023 1:24 pm

The biggest decline for the eagles is at coaching losing both of their coordinators. Hurts >>> any other qb in the division, so if their new oc is fine I think they win going away.

05/30/2023 12:14 pm

awesome stuff, Tony … you should do a whole series of these 😉

for realz … I like the various variables that you include to “assess” teams

Eagles / Cowboys or Cowboys / Eagles … top two in that division and it’s not a question

for whatever (likely misguided) reason, I like the G-Men more than WFT (by a lot) … something about WASH (Snyder, maybe) that just still screams “Dysfunction Junction”

05/30/2023 11:28 am

65 days til Hall Of Fame (NFL game)

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