The Las Vegas Hilton sports book released its 2014 NFL season win totals on Sunday, providing excellent fodder for bloggers and gamblers alike. ESPN’s Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith discussed the over/under win totals on Tuesday’s episode of “First Take” and neither host agreed with Vegas’s perception of the NFC East (Eagles: 9 wins; Cowboys: 8; Giants: 7.5; Redskins: 7.5).
“It says that the oddsmakers have little to no respect for next year’s NFC East, because the oddsmakers are saying that only one team in the East is even going to be slightly above .500 when all is said and done,” Bayless said. “That would be the Eagles at around 9-7, and yet I think the oddsmakers at this moment … are overestimating Dallas to win eight games and go 8-8 again. I think that’s high. And I think the Redskins at about seven-and-a-half wins — projected — I think that’s low. Right now, if you backed me into a corner, I’m picking the Redskins to win the NFC East.
“I am obviously banking heavily on my guy, Robert Griffin III, to bounce all the way back to being the RGIII that we knew two years ago before the dreaded knee injury and the dreaded last year that he had,” Bayless continued. “I think with DeSean Jackson wreaking revenge on Philly twice within the NFC East battles; I love that addition, I love what it will do for the team. I love it that the Redskins went out and signed our guy Ryan Clark, just for his savvy, his leadership and his toughness. I think that will really help mold that defensive secondary and I like where they’re headed if RGIII is RGIII, and I believe with all my heart he will bounce completely back. So I have the Redskins winning 10 games next year.”
Then, in a bizarre twist for a show with the tagline “Embrace Debate,” Smith completely agreed.
“Skip Bayless, so do I,” he said. “I believe the acquisition of DeSean Jackson, to pair with Pierre Garcon, with Alfred Morris coming out of the backfield, with RGIII on a mission to resurrect his reputation, his name, et cetera, I think all of those things bode well for the Washington Redskins. And I think with the way the Eagles organization, tacitly or otherwise, handled the DeSean Jackson situation will come back to haunt them. Plus, I’m not sold on Nick Foles.
“I know LeSean McCoy was in here yesterday, I know how he feels about Nick Foles. He clearly can play, he’s no scrub, but now that you’re the guy, and teams are able to walk into the season preparing for you, knowing they’ll have to, I think it’s going to be a little bit different for Nick Foles this year than it was last year. And as a result, I don’t think the Eagles are going win the division. I’m thinking the Redskins will probably do it.”
Smith also predicted the Cowboys will finish in last place and Bayless said he can’t see Dallas winning more than six games. That might be more reason to take the over.