NFL: The Bills have competition in the AFC East this year

NFL: The Bills have competition in the AFC East this year

We are a little over two months away from the start of the NFL season. The regular season will begin on September 7. The Hall of Fame game is on August 3. Here is an early look at the race for the AFC East division crown.

The reigning AFC East champs are the betting favourites to win the division again on NFL betting sites. The Buffalo Bills have +125 odds to win the division on 888sport. The New York Jets are just behind them at +225 odds. The Dolphins and Patriots have the third and fourth best odds. The Dolphins are at +300. The Patriots have +700 odds. 

Quick Take

  • The Buffalo Bills are slight favourites to win the division
  • Free agency and draft updates for all AFC East teams
  • Do the Patriots have a shot?

The Bills division to lose?

The Buffalo Bills look a lot similar on offense as they did last year. The Bills scored the fourth most touchdowns last season. The relationship between Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs seems to be one of the only concerns on that side of the ball. Allen has become one of the best quarterbacks in the league. It would not be a shock if he took home the MVP award this year.

The Bills allowed the ninth fewest passing yards last season and the fourth fewest rushing yards. Their defense lost ILB Tremaine Edmunds to the Chicago Bears, but most of the group is still there. This team should make the playoffs without much trouble. The Bills have won at least 13 games in two of the last three seasons. 

Notable Additions: G Connor McGovern, RB Damien Harris, OLB Leonard Floyd, S Taylor Rapp, DE Poona Ford

Draft picks 

  • TE Dalton Kincaid
  • G O'Cyrus Torrence
  • LB Dorian Williams
  • WR Justin Shorter
  • G Nick Broeker
  • CB Alex Austin

Can the Jets or Dolphins take the division?

The New York Jets put their franchise in Aaron Rodgers’ hands. They traded for the four-time MVP and signed two former Green Bay Packers receivers. It is impossible to predict how fast the Jets offense will start clicking, if at all. But at least they have players Rodgers is familiar with and one of the better young receivers in the league in Garrett Wilson.

The good news is the Jets had a great defense last year. They allowed 18.6 points per game last season, the fourth fewest. If their defense plays up to the level they did last year, Rodgers might only need to manage the game, limit turnovers, and make timely plays, similar to Peyton Manning when he was a Denver Bronco. Rodgers is almost always great during the regular season. The Jets should be able to give the Bills a run for their money if Rodgers can still play at an MVP level and the defense does not regress.

Notable Additions: QB Aaron Rodgers, WR Allen Lazard, WR Mecole Hardman, WR Randall Cobb, DT Quinton Jefferson

Draft picks

  • DE Will McDonald IV
  • C Joe Tippmann
  • OT Carter Warren
  • RB Israel Abanikanda
  • LB Zaire Barnes
  • CB Jarrick Bernard-Converse
  • TE Zack Kuntz

The Miami Dolphins could be one of the riskiest teams to bet on because of Tua Tagovailoa’s injury history. With Tagovailoa, the Dolphins were one of the most explosive offenses in the league last year. The trio of Tagovailoa, Tyreek Hill, and Jaylen Waddle, is one of the best in the NFL. Hill and Waddle finished top seven in receiving yards.

Although the Dolphins added Mike White as a backup QB, it is hard to imagine the Dolphins winning this division if Tagovailoa misses a couple of games again this year. If Tagovailoa is healthy, it is possible the Dolphins will have one of the best offenses in the NFL. Adding CB Jalen Ramsey to the roster should make the Dolphins defense better. They were ninth in points allowed per game and gave up the sixth most passing yards per game. 

Notable Additions: CB Jalen Ramsey, LB David Long, QB Mike White, WR Braxton Berrios, LB David Long Jr.

Draft picks

  • CB Cam Smith
  • RB De'Von Achane
  • WR Elijah Higgins
  • OT Ryan Hayes

The rebuilding New England Patriots

The New England Patriots have the worst odds to win the AFC East. They are heavy underdogs at +700. On paper, the Patriots have almost no shot at winning this division. They have the worst quarterback in the division, and it is not really debatable. They also have arguably the weakest receiver group in the division. In today’s NFL, it’s almost impossible for a defense to carry a team that can not score, the 49ers experienced this in the playoffs last year. There are not many reasons to back the Patriots to win this division.

Notable Additions: WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, OT Calvin Anderson, LB Chris Board, TE Mike Gesicki, RB James Robinson 

Draft picks

  • CB Christian Gonzalez
  • DE Keion White
  • LB Marte Mapu
  • C Jake Andrews
  • K Chad Ryland
  • G Sidy Sow
  • G Atonio Mafi
  • WR Kayshon Boutte
  • P Bryce Baringer
  • WR Demario Douglas
  • DB Ameer Speed
  • CB Isaiah Bolden