Death, taxes, and the New England Patriots. The NFL may change in a million other ways, but the New England Patriots will win the AFC East until Tom Brady is an octogenarian and Bill Belichick fulfills his destiny to become Darth Sidious. At least, that’s what it feels like. The Patriots have won 15 of the last 16 AFC East titles, and the only blip over that timespan was in 2008. That was the year Tom Brady tore his ACL in the season opener, but the Pats still managed to go 11-5 with Matt Cassel. Unsurprisingly, New England is a massive favorite to win the AFC East in 2019.
2019 AFC East Odds
New England Patriots -495
New York Jets +555
Buffalo Bills +1050
Miami Dolphins +10000
New England won its sixth Super Bowl in the last two decades last season, and the Patriots are by far the biggest favorite to win the division on the board. The Pats still have the GOAT in Tom Brady, and he has a new weapon to work with in first-round pick N’Keal Harry. If you watched college football the last two seasons, you know that Harry has an incredible catch radius, and he can go up and get jump balls. With Rob Gronkowski retired, Harry might be Brady’s favorite target in the Red Zone.
Brady still has some of his favorite weapons to work with as well. Julian Edelman is back to give the Patriots a great possession receiver to catch the ball over the middle, and James White will be a great threat out of the backfield. The Patriots are hoping that Sony Michel can become a workhorse back too, giving them something they haven’t had since Corey Dillon retired.
The defense lost a lot of talent from last season, but what else is new? Dont’a Hightower and Kyle Van Noy are back, and the secondary is solid. The biggest issue for this team is up front along the defensive line. Rookies Chase Winovich and Byron Cowart could see a lot of time, and there aren’t a lot of proven options outside of Michael Bennett.
The New York Jets were very active in free agency this offseason, but that usually doesn’t turn out well in the NFL. If everything comes together, the Jets could make the postseason, but I don’t see that happening. Sam Darnold showed some flashes as a rookie last season, yet the Jets didn’t give him any real receivers. Robby Anderson and Quincy Enunwa are still the starting wideouts, and that is less than optimal. Le’Veon Bell signed a big deal to be the Jets’ primary ball carrier, but he sat out all of last season and has been a no show at team events thus far this season.
This defense could be one of the better units in the NFL though. CJ Mosley and Avery Williamson will make this a very good linebacking corps, and the secondary has a lot of talent. Former first round pick Leonard Williams and No. 3 overall pick Quinnen Williams can make this defensive line formidable, and that should lead to seven or eight wins. It’s hard to project more with this offense though.
Buffalo is only two years removed from making it to the playoffs, but the Bills are a long way from being considered contenders. Drafting Josh Allen is going to set this franchise back at least a few more years, as while he showed he can run the ball late last season, he does not have the accuracy to be a good quarterback in this league. The front office has done a good job of putting playmakers around him though, as Zay Jones and Cole Beasley will give Allen a lot of underneath options, and John Brown will be a deep threat if Allen can keep it in the field of play.
Like the Jets, the Bills have a defense that could be one of the top ten units in the league. I loved the Ed Oliver selection, and I think he will blow up interior lines, while Tremaine Edmunds showed a lot of potential at middle linebacker last year. Tre’Davious White has developed into an elite cornerback, and Kevin Johnson was brought in this offseason to give the Bills a great pair of corners.
Miami has punted on the season, so I’m going to punt on previewing them. The Dolphins have the longest divisional and Super Bowl odds, and this team is tearing it all down to try to draft either Tua Tagovailoa in 2020 or Trevor Lawrence in 2021.
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