It wasn’t only the Patriots that were upset by the Giants last year, NFL odds makers were left licking their wounds in February after taking a pounding by the Giants.
The Dallas Cowboys went 13-3 for new coach Wade Phillips last year, but their season ended in disappointment with a home playoff loss to the Giants. The Cowboys ranked 3rd in total offense but only 17th in rushing, while the defense ranked 9th overall and 6th vs. the run. Dallas also lost its last five in a row vs. the NFL lines. QB Tony Romo is 19-7 as an NFL starter, but has yet to prove himself as a big-game QB. Over the offseason the Cowboys traded for DB Adam Jones and drafted CB Mike Jenkins with the #25 pick.
The New York Giants won three straight road playoff tilts last season before upsetting the previously perfect Patriots in the Super Bowl to upset the NFL odds makers. Including the playoffs, New York also won eight of their last nine games vs. the line. The Giants only ranked 16th in total offense, but 4th in rushing, while the defense ranked 7th overall and led the league in sacks. QB Eli Manning may be erratic, but showed himself a big-gamer during last year’s championship run. And the defense, even without DE Michael Strahan, should again be solid.
The Philadelphia Eagles struggled to go 8-8 last year, losing five games by four points or less. Philly ranked 6th in total offense and eighth in rushing, 10th in total defense and 7th vs. the run. And while the Eagles went 8-8 vs. the spread, they were 5-1 ATS as underdogs. QB Donovan McNabb has now missed more than a third of the Eagles’ last 40 games. But he piloted Philadelphia to three straight wins to end last season. And RB Brian Westbrook led the league with 2,100 yards from scrimmage. Philly tried to upgrade the defense by signing DE Chris Clemons and CB Asante Samuel over the offseason.
A playoff loss at Seattle last January put an end to coach Joe Gibbs’ second go-round as head Redskin. New coach Jim Zorn inherits basically the same Washington team that ranked 15th in total offense last year, 12th in rushing, 8th in total defense and 4th against the run. Jason Campbell returns as the starter at QB, and while RB Clinton Portis ran for 1,200 yards, he’s beginning to pile up some mileage.