New Faces Could Impact Balance of Power in AFC East
Not too long ago the AFC East was simply the New England Patriots and three teams with very little chance to dethrone the Super Bowl contenders from New England. Things have changed just a bit, and the NFL AFC East wins now goes through Buffalo, and with the recent draft, who knows what can happen…
The Buffalo Bills are not just favored to win the division title, but are also the team to beat in the AFC with odds of +325. The NFL‘s projected win totals are headlined by AFC East favorite Buffalo, as the Bills look to win three straight division titles for the first time since capturing the AFC East every season from 1988-1991.
The Miami Dolphins, who added receiver Tyreek Hill and offensive tackle Terron Armstead in the offseason, are tied for ninth in the odds to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl followed by New England at +2000 according to the NFL AFC East wins betting trends.
The Jets added three first-round picks including two in the top 10, however, among AFC teams only the Houston Texans are given a lower chance of reaching the Super Bowl than the Jets. The odds to win the AFC East are interesting indeed, stay tuned for any significant changes.
The Buffalo Bills are currently favored to win the Super Bowl at +650. The odds to make the playoffs moved from -800 to -500 in the last month. The Bills projected win total was set at 11 1/2, the most in the AFC East – and the NFL AFC East wins betting total, with the odds moving slightly in recent weeks.
Buffalo came close to making it back to the Super Bowl for the first time since the Jim Kelly days. The loss to the Kansas City Chiefs resulted in a change in the overtime rules for the postseason, meaning both teams will get at least one possession instead of the previous format when a touchdown being scored on the first drive brought an end to the Super Bowl.
The Bills added some star power to its defense with the signing of Von Miller. They also picked up cornerback Kaiir Elam and running back James Cook.
With quarterback Josh Allen and receiver Stefon Diggs having another year to develop chemistry, the offense should be even better in 2022 to go with a championship-level defense.
The Dolphins were a popular pick to make the playoffs a season ago coming off a 10-6 season. Miami finished 9-8 to just miss the postseason. The win total projections for the 2022 season opened at 9 and dropped to 8 1/2 while the Dolphins are tied with the Patriots at +400 to win the division according to the odds to win the AFC East.
Miami was 12th in the AFC in points scored. The Dolphins signed offensive tackle Terron Armstead as well as guard Connor Williams, added running back Sony Michel and made a huge trade to acquire Pro Bowl receiver Tyreek Hill from the Kansas City Chiefs. Pass-rushing linebacker Melvin Ingram was also brought in.
First-year head coach Mike McDaniel comes to Miami after a season as the offensive coordinator with the San Francisco 49ers.
McDaniel has no experience as a head coach so it will be worth monitoring how he fares with a roster good enough to make the playoffs.
New England Patriots
The Patriots have seen only a slight move – going under 8 1/2 wins and there was also a little bit of movement with some money going on the Patriots missing the playoffs. Some of that might be attributed to the buzz being generated at head coach Bill Belichick’s refusal to name an offensive coordinator.
The Patriots returned to the playoffs after a one-year absence. The play of rookie quarterback Mac Jones had something to do with New England’s 10-7 regular-season. The bad news is a 30-point loss to Buffalo showed how far the Patriots are to returning to the Super Bowl. New England offensive play caller Josh McDaniels is getting another chance to be an NFL head coach leaving questions back in New England about who will be the sounding board for Jones within the coaching staff.
The other teams in the division clearly got better in the offseason. It remains to be seen if the same is true about the Patriots.
Ball-hawking cornerback J.C. Jackson is now with the Los Angeles Chargers, veteran guard Shaq Mason was traded to New England while defensive end Chase Winovich was swapped for linebacker Mack Wilson, and linebacker Kyle Van Noy was released. A trade for receiver DeVante Parker might help the offense.
Ty Montgomery was another receiver added to the roster while Jabrill Peppers and Malcolm Butler were brought in to strengthen the secondary, however, New England’s draft class was generally panned by draft analysts.
The Patriots scheme resulted in 16 AFC East titles, eight Super Bowl appearances and six championships from 2001-2019. It is a wait and see approach to see if the moves in the last couple of years will enable New England to recapture some of its past glory.
New York Jets
The Jets started off with a projected win total of 5 1/2 and that has moved to 6 as betting markets support the Jets after adding three first-round picks to the two picks a year ago. Their odds to make the playoffs went from +850 to +650 which is certainly noteworthy.
First-round picks Cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner and defensive end Jermaine Johnson should immediately improve the defense. Receiver Garrett Wilson and running back Breece Hall give the Jets two highly regarded playmakers on offense.
One of the biggest issues will be the play of quarterback Zach Wilson. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft had a pretty nondescript rookie season. There are the pieces in place for the Jets to be much improved on offense.
Safety Jordan Whitehead was brought in to replace Marcus Maye while former No. 3 overall pick Solomon Thomas gives New York another versatile defensive lineman.Follow us on Twitter