Additions of star cornerback Jalen Ramesy to the Miami Dolphins and future Hall of Famer quarterback Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets led many to believe the AFC East is the best division in the entire NFL. Who comes out on top? I take a look at each team’s schedule and analyze below.
1st place- Buffalo Bills, 14-3, Losses: @Eagles, @Chiefs, @Dolphins
Come on now, of course I had the Bills still winning the division. Although I still believe it be another close race to finish line like the past 2 years were, the Bills they are still clearly the team to beat. With one of the best quarterbacks in the league in Josh Allen running the show at offense, they will be a high powered offensive attack. Improvements to their offensive line in the offseason, signing speedy, field stretching wide receivers Deontay Harty and Trent Sherfield, along with drafting stud tight end Dalton Kincaid; the bills have patched up all the holes in their offense. The Bills also signed physical, downhill running backs in Damien Harris and Lataivus Murray to share a backfield with second year player James Cook. The only question for the Bills come on the defensive side of the ball. With the departure of defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier and stud linebacker Tremaine Edmunds to go along with Tre’Davious White and Von Miller continuing to work their way back from an ACL tear there a lot more questions than answers. Head Coach Sean McDermott has put the responsibility on himself to call the defensive plays this year and it will ultimately be his responsibility this defense does not fall off a cliff. I do not think the defense will miss a beat hence leading to another AFC East title for the Buffalo Bills.
2nd place- Miami Dolphins, 13-4, Losses: @Bills, @Eagles, @Jets, Vs Titans
Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was able to silence of lot of the critics last yr leading one the leagues best offense and securing the 7th seed en route to his teams first playoff appearance since he was drafted. Injury concerns made this prediction tricky but I believe he will be able to remain healthy for a majority of the season. The Dolphins lost tight end Mike Geisecki to free agency but with arguably the best wide receiver duo in the game with Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill they wont miss his contributions all to much. They were able to acquire one of the best defensive minds in the game, Vic Fangio, as a defensive coordinator as well as a top 5 corner in Jalen Ramesy via trade. The question for the Dolphins comes with the offensive line which was ok at best last year and even more suspect this year with Dolphins not doing anything to significant to improve the position. With more improvement from Tua and a defense that will be extremely stout I expect the Dolphins to be right on the Bills tail all year.
3rd place- New England Patriots, 11-6, Losses: Vs Dolphins, @Jets, @Cowboys, Vs Bills, @Dolphins, @Bills
Oh New England. Everyone wishing you would just go off into to the night so we can all stomp on your grave. Bill Belichick however has other plans. Still one of the leagues best coaches if not the best as well being the best defensive mind the game has ever seen I expect yet another good and fundamentally sound defense. They won’t blow your eyes away with the stats, nor will they pass the flash of the eye test like a Miami or Buffalo would. But they’ll always be in position, no penalties, and will keep mistakes at a minimum. However historically in the Belichick era it takes a little time for the defense to gel and to play at their best which will lead to some early season losses, as well just having a gauntlet of a schedule for the first 10 weeks. Belichick brought in Bill O’Brien as the offensive coordinator giving Mac Jones much needed stability and familiarity. The question for New England comes down to offensive support. They have a good running back to replace Damien Harris notably Rhamondre Stevenson, but will the additions of Juju Smith-Schuster and Mike Geisecki be enough to scare defenses vertically to free up the rest of the passing game? In my opinion not really, but I think there good enough players and Bill O’Brien is a good enough schemer to have a successful offense. However I think the slow start in the beginning of the year will put them in too much of hole to have any chance at a division crown.
4th place- New York Jets, 10-7, Losses: Vs Bills, @Cowboys, @Broncos, @Eagles, @Bills, @Dolphins, @Patriots
The most overhyped team of the offseason will finish dead last and likely miss the playoffs. I get it they got Aaron Rodgers, “he’s a bad man” “future hall of famer” rah rah rah. We need to be honest what we saw from Aaron Rodgers last season. He’s aging quarterback in clear decline, injury prone, slow, and unwilling to take hits in the pocket. This is not 2011 anymore folks. I am not saying he is “washed” but when you have to go up against Josh Allen and Tua Tagovailoa just ok is not good enough. As far as overall roster goes the Jets have done a good job put a competitive one together. Highlighted by there lights out defense and Rookie of the year Sauce Gardner, it is extremely hard for any team to consistently move the ball on them. On offense they have standout 2nd year running back in Breece Hall and rookie of the year Garrettt Wilson. The question for them despite quarterback play is the wide receiver and offensive line play. Outside of Garrett Wilson the wide receiver is awfully bleak and a 39 year old quarterback who is unwilling to stand in the pocket and take hits to go with a shaky offensive line is not a recipe for success. The Jets will be up and down all year and never in position for the division title. In other words, same old jets.
All of the teams will reach double digit wins and although on paper seems like this will be a bloodbath for the division title, it will again ultimately be a two team race.