The New England Patriots have dominated this division for the past 20 years. Since 2001, they have been to 8 Super Bowls, won 5 Championships and claimed 15 division titles. They have won the AFC East, 9 years in a row. They are the best run organization in all of sports.
AFC East Preview and Prediction:
New England Patriots (2017 record, 13-3): 2018 Prediction, 13-3.
New England is coming into the 2018 season with a chip on their shoulder. The Patriots gave up 41 points and lost the Super Bowl to a backup quarterback in Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles. Tom Brady is 41-years-old and does not appear to be slowing down. In 2017, Brady threw for 4.577 yards, completed 66% of his passes and had 32 touchdowns and only 8 interceptions. Brady should get a boost at running back with rookie Sony Michel from Georgia. Michel averaged 7.9 yards per carry and had 12 touchdowns with the Bulldogs last year. Julian Edelman returns from and injury and should be Brady’s security blanket along with Rob Gronkowski. The Patriots may have the deepest group of receivers Brady has ever had. Chris Hogan, Cordarrelle Patterson and Phillip Dorsett should all play a pivotal role in the offense.
The Patriots defense is not elite. Their lack of team speed was exposed in the Super Bowl. Getting Dont’a Hightower back from injury should help them in that department. This defense will get better during the 2nd half of the season but this team’s strength will be their offense. Once again, The Pats are the class of the AFC East.
Buffalo Bills (2017 Record, 9-7): 2018 Prediction, 8-8.
(Photo Credit: Buffalo Bills)
The Bills broke their 17 year playoff drought last season. With the 7th pick in the NFL Draft, the Bills selected Quarterback Josh Allen from Wyoming. Allen is 6’5 240 lbs. He has the size and strength to compete in the NFL but there are a ton of question marks. In one of the worst conference in all of college football, The Mountain West, Allen completed only 56% of his passes in 2017. He had 16 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. Against Iowa, Oregon, and Boise State, Allen had 1 touchdown pass, 5 interceptions and completed 50% of his passes. The Bills will once again rely on Running Back, LeSean McCoy. Last season McCoy had over 1,500 combined yards and 8 touchdowns.
Defensively, The Bills ranked 18th in points allowed last year. Shaq Lawson is entering his 3rd season out of Clemson and I expect him to have a break out year. Tremaine Edmunds was picked 16th overall out of Virginia Tech. He can be a future star at the linebacker position.
The Bills are 2 years away from developing their young players and being a contender for the AFC East.
Miami Dolphins (2017 Record, 6-10): 2018 Prediction, 7-9.
The Dolphins have made the playoffs only two times since 2001. In a division that has Tom Brady the Dolphins put their faith in Ryan Tannehill. The former Texas Tech star has a career record of 37-40 and has only thrown over 24 touchdown passes once in his NFL Career. If Tannehill can’t produce, the Dolphins signed Brock Osweiler to be his backup. Osweiler has a career record of 13-12, 31 touchdowns, 27 interceptions and has completed 59% of his passes for his career. This is an offense that will struggle to move the chains and score points.
On defense, Miami has a young group of players. They were one of only three NFL teams to play at least 8 rookies in 2017.
Head coach, Adam Gase doesn’t have the talent or coaching tools to help this team win 10 games.
New York Jets (2017 record, 5-11): 2018 Prediction, 6-10.
In three season as the New York Jets Head Coach, Todd Bowles has a record of 10-6, 5-11 and 5-11 with zero playoff appearances. The Jets seem to be one of the few organizations in the NFL that reward coaching mediocrity. With the 3rd overall pick in the draft, the Jets selected quarterback Sam Darnold out of USC. The Jets brass believe that they have a legitimate franchise quarterback in Darnold. This is something they haven’t had since Joe Namath. The problem here is this… If the Jets believed that they had “Their Quarterback,” why did they sign 25-year-old Teddy Bridgewater?The Former Minnesota Vikings is outplaying Darnold in the pre-season.
In two games:
Bridgewater: 17 for 23, 212 passing yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception.
Darnold : 21 for 29 158 passing yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception.
The Jets offensive line gave up 47 sacks last season but should be improved this year. Their wide receivers of Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson and Terrell Pryor can all catch 50 or more passes.
Bilal Powell is a very good utility running back.
On Defense, the Jets must figure out how to get to the quarterback. The Jets were ranked 28th in sacks in 2017.
The Jets are one of the most dysfunctional franchises in all of sports and Todd Bowles is looking at a 3rd straight under .500 season. This team is a few years away from competing for a division title.
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