AFC East Preview
By: Steve Risser
Going into 2021 the Bills are the clear favorite to win the AFC East after getting to the AFC Championship game last year but they are also 2 teams that can get to the playoffs the Dolphins in Tua’s 2nd year and the Pats with the additions they made this offseason.
1st Place Buffalo Bills
Last year the Bills had one of their best seasons in almost 30 years going 13–3 they have a really good chance to have a great year again and the biggest reason for that is Josh Allen he proved last year that he is a franchise QB and he got paid this offseason like he is. The Bills also have one of the top WR cores in the league Stephon Diggs is great and Beasley and Sanders are sold as well. The two weakness of the Bills offense are run game and their offensive line the Oline will probably be average but if the Bills can get more out of Zack Moss and Devin Singletary they got potential to have one of the best offenses in the league. On defense the Bills struggled to get the QB last year they addressed that in the draft this year taking Greg Rousseau in the first round and Carlos Basham in the 2nd they also need Ed Oliver to start playing like the guy they drafted in the 1st round in 2019. The Back 7 is solid with Tremaine Edmonds and Matt Milano and they have one of the best secondary’s in the league with Tre’Davious White, Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde.
Projected record 13–4
2nd Place Miami Dolphins
As Tua heads into his 2nd season the Dolphins are expecting him to make a jump where he looks like he can be their QB for the next decade. He should get a lot of help from his receiving core Devonta Parker is solid and they drafted Jalen Waddle in the first round. They also singed Will Fuller this year and if he stays on the field which is a big if he’s going to help them as well. The issues with the Dolphins offense are the run game and the offensive line. In the run game they did add Malcom Brown to go along with Miles Gaskin but if offensive line does not improve this team will not be super bowl contender last year according to pro football their o-line ranking 28th in the league. On defense the Dolphins finished 20th in total defense and 6th in Points allowed in 2020 a big reason why they finished in the top ten in points allowed was they forced the most turnovers of any team last year. The big weakness of the Dolphins is their front 7 their they didn’t resign Kyle Van Noy and they traded Shaq Lawson. They are going to have to blitz a lot and play a lot of man coverage on the back end. The good news for is outside of the Ravens and Pats they have the best pair of corners in the league in Byron Jones and Xavien Howard.
Projected Record 10–7
3rd place: New England Patriots
This offseason the Pats spent a ton of money to improve their roster to try to get back in playoff contention after missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Today the Pats released Cam Newton so they can start rookie Mac Jones it will be very interesting to see this team start a rookie QB. The Pats upgraded their skill guys signing Nelson Agholor, Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry none of these players are great but their better then what they had last year and with trading Michel that means that they trust Damien Harris being the feature back. The Strength of the Pats offense is their offensive line even thou they don’t have Joe Thuney anymore they traded for Trent Brown, Michael Onwenu had a great rookie year and they got a solid center in David Andrews. On defense the Pats should be improved as well they singed Matt Judon in free agency and their getting Donta Hightower after opting out last year. The big question with the secondary is will Stephon Gilmore end his holdout if he does the Pats secondary should be one of the best in the league with him JC Jackson and Devin McCourty. Even with all the move the Pats made I still think they miss the playoffs because their starting a rookie QB and their skill guys are inconsistent in the passing game.
Projected record 9–8
4th Place New York Jets
Robert Saleh and Zack Wilson Era begins in New York I think both have a really good chance to change the culture but there’s no secret that it’s a rebuilding year for the Jets. On offense the Jets did improve their receiving core signing Cory Davis and drafting Elijah Moore in the 2nd round. They also have an Oline that has potential with Mekhi Beckton and they signed Morgan Moses this offseason as well. The biggest concern with the Jets is their run game Tevin Coleman is their number 1 back and he’s never had more then 800 rushing yards in his career. On defense the Jets suffered a big loss when they lost Carl Lawson in training camp after he ruptured is Achilles. To keep things simple the closer you get the ball the better the Jets defense gets Quinton Williams and Marcus Maye were the Jets 2 best players last year. But the issue with the Jets defense is their corners and edge rushers are not good at all.
Record Prediction 4–13