Since 2001, the Patriots have won 15 out of 17 AFC East Championships. So once again, wouldn’t it be the Patriots to lose? If you answered no, you lost your absolute mind. You think Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills will take reign? What about Sam Darnold and the New York Jets? Oh, we can’t forget about Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins.
If you read my article from last week, you know that I said the AFC South will be the best division in football this year. You could agree or you could argue that statement. However, I don’t know if you can argue with this one. The AFC East will once again be the worst division in football.
The New England Patriots are such a havoc in not only the National Football League but the AFC East as well. It’s hard to compete against the greatest coach/quarterback tandem in NFL History.
Nothing’s better than having two first time rookies playing in the AFC East.
First time in the article, last time in the East. The Buffalo Bills. I know what you saw last year, but that was a fluke. They released their starting quarterback and picked up Josh Allen in the draft. No telling what the Wyoming product will do in his rookie campaign. I do see Allen having a bigger year then Darnold but I can’t say the same about the rest of the team.
LeSean McCoy was a top three running back last year. He can continue his success, but that’s given his health and the offensive line.
Tremaine Edmunds was added to help build the defense as Buffalo finished 26th in total defense. The defense is the struggle part of this team and I don’t see the Bills mafia stopping touchdowns either.
Third place team, the New York Jets.
They finished last in the AFC East last year with a record of 5-11. The defense will be the key to this team, especially in the secondary. They are loaded with several big-name players that can break up a pass but will the offense prove to be what they think they can be.
The Jets took Sam Darnold with the number three pick in the 2018 NFL draft. Many had Darnold as the number one pick but the Jets were able to steal him away at three. He could make his way to becoming rookie of the year, but he doesn’t have a lethal weapon he can count on.
Bilal Powell will most likely be their number one starter but not sure if he will produce to the caliber the Jets want. They also added Thomas Rawls and Isaiah Crowell. I couldn’t tell you one of their offensive linemen without looking them up, so that could tell you how the offense might go this year.
Next up, the Miami Dolphins
We aren’t really sure what Tannehill will do this year coming off his ACL tear. Whatever he does will be better then what Jay Cutler produced last year under the helm.
The Dolphins lost Jarvis Landry but replacing him will be former New England Patriot receiver, Danny Amendola. Not having Landry hurts, but with DaVante Parker and Kenny Stills being the two top receivers, Amendola could have a sneaky good year if Tannehill stays healthy. With the addition of tight end Mike Gesicki in the second round of the draft, the Dolphins offense could be somewhat good.
The defense needs some improvement in linebacker and secondary. The addition of Minkah Fitzpatrick and Robert Quinn will help, but the defense will be the reason they finish close to last in the AFC.
Last but not at least are the New England Patriots. They won’t stop winning until Tom Brady is no longer playing. Everyone but New England fans are counting down the days until that happens. Until it does, the Patriots will stay number one in the AFC East.
I will add that they did lose more then they received. They lost their number one cornerback Malcolm Butler to the Tennessee Titans. They added Jason McCourty to the secondary to fill the role but losing Butler is going to hurt. The defense finished fifth in total defense last year. I expect them to go down a few spots but still finish top ten.
The offense has been New England’s bread and butter. The tandem of James White, Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan and Rex Burkhead. Tom Brady has made these players superstars on the field. The Patriots signed Jordan Matthews and Cordarrelle Patterson in the offseason, while also adding Sony Michel and Braxton Berrios in the draft. This offense once again will be a deep threat, given they are healthy.
Will this be the final outcome at the end of the year? Who knows. Will the New England Patriots be the 2019 Lombardi Trophy winners? No, I don’t believe they will be. They will make another run and most likely be in the Super Bowl once again.
- Preston covers the Tennessee Titans and the AFC South for NGSC Sports. He also covers Nashville Predators hockey.