The AFC East is another interesting division, similar to the AFC South, but I don’t believe New England’s rein will end just yet, especially with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick still at the helm. However, I do really like the rosters of both the Jets and Bills, two divisional teams who seem to give the Patriots legitimate competition each season. Although the Dolphins have some nice pieces, their overall team as a whole doesn’t compare to that of New England’s, the Jets, or even the Bills for that matter. With that being said, let’s take a look at my record predictions for each AFC East team in 2018.
New England Patriots – Record Prediction: 12-4
This is fairly simple, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick still run the show which means New England still runs the AFC East. Brady seems to play lights out even at the age of 40 going on 41, and when he’s in rhythm so is essentially every other offensive position. Now, I do like the Bills and Jets overall rosters and believe they will give the Pats a run for their money, but that won’t stop Brady and company from handling business as usual.
Even though New England either lost or parted ways with several offensive pieces such as Brandin Cooks, Danny Amendola, Cameron Fleming, and Dion Lewis, but I don’t see that stopping them from dominating this division with ease this season. So long as Brady and Belichick run the show, I do not care what their defense is ranked, good or bad, the Pats still run this division with ease.
New York Jets – Record Prediction: 9-7
Listen, I really, and I mean REALLY like Sam Darnold. The Jets essentially got a steal when drafting him at No. 3 overall. From being able to extend plays with his feet, to slinging the rock downfield with pure poise, ease, and accuracy, Darnold looks to be the real deal. Robby Anderson, Jermaine Kearse, Isaiah Crowell are just three of the other talented offensive pieces that the Jets currently possess. Their offensive line is what draws some concern for me though.
An offensive line that, as a unit, gave up 47 sacks in 2017 must improve to even think of potentially challenging the Patriots for the AFC East Title. The defense, however, has some nice pieces too with the likes of Jamaal Adams, Leonard Williams, newly acquired linebacker Avery Williamson and cornerback Trumaine Johnson, this unit looks to hold a lot of young, promising players. Much-like the offensive line, this defense must come together and improve significantly in 2018, but I believe Sam Darnold will make all the difference and help lead the Jets to their first 9-win season in several years.
Buffalo Bills – Record Predictions: 8-8
I know what you’re thinking: “How can the Bills go from a 9-7 record in 2017, to winning only 8 games in 2018?” Simple, Josh Allen is a downgrade from Tyrod Taylor, a quarterback who rarely tuned the pigskin over. I like Allen’s arm strength and overall build standing at 6’5.” I do not however like his touchdown to interception ratio when he played for Wyoming. NFL’s Mike Mayock compared Allen’s physical stature to that of Eagles’ quarterback Carson Wentz, which is an accurate comparison. However, their talents in both the running and passing game are light years apart, period.
Buffalo’s defense, much-like New York’s, has some quality pieces. Second-year corner Tre’Davious White, I believe, is going to have a breakout season in 2018. Rookie linebacker Trumaine Edmunds looks to be a true once in a generation kind of player, and with Star Lotulelei and Vontae Davis being only some of the key acquisitions, this defense looks pretty scary on paper. However, I just don’t see Josh Allen being that franchise-altering quarterback that some NFL experts believe he can be. With Allen under center for the Bills in 2018, giving them 8 wins is being generous, maybe too generous.
Miami Dolphins – Record Prediction: 6-10
This won’t take long. Miami is counting on Ryan Tannehill to be completely healthy for this season, which isn’t guaranteed to begin with. Secondly, the Dolphins parted ways with arguably their best offensive and defensive players in Jarvis Landry and Ndamukong Suh respectfully. Their defense has major issues, especially in the secondary, the offensive line is average at best, and Ryan Tannehill is well… Ryan Tannehill. Miami has plenty of improvement to be made before they’re even considered a legitimate threat in the AFC East, let-alone the AFC.
Not to mention, they traded away their best running back in Jay Ajayi (who went on to win a Super Bowl, by the way), to the Eagles in exchange for a 4th-round pick, seriously?? Although Strong Safety Reshad Jones seems to be at the top of his game in recent seasons, and the Dolphins do have some solid defensive pieces in Xavien Howard and former Alabama stud Minkah Fitzpatrick, I simply don’t see that being enough for the Dolphins to even scratch the surface of an 8-win or better season. 6 wins it is!
Count on the Patriots continuing their dominant ways, the Dolphins winning 6 or less games, the Jets surprising everyone primarily because of rookie Sam Darnold, and finally, the Bills’ defense will play well, but the team as an overall unit will far short of back to back playoff appearances by winning only eight games in 2018.