In my last NFL prediction article, I predicted the Browns would go 11-5 and win their first division title in 30 years and be AFC North Champs. Today, I will be previewing and giving my predictions on a division that has been dominated by last year’s Super Bowl Champions New England Patriots for 10 straight seasons. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the state of the division going into the 2019 NFL Regular season.
Photo Credits: SI.com
The Buffalo Bills regressed a little last season, following their 9-7 record, and their first playoff appearance since 1999, going 6-10. Buffalo is building around second year quarterback Josh Allen, who they truly believe to be their franchise quarterback of the future. Allen did show flashes last season, breaking the rookie rushing record for a quarterback with 631 yards on the season, but also had rookie struggles with more interceptions than passing touchdowns and only completing 52% of his passes. The Bills did bring in some NFL veterans to surround Allen like Frank Gore, TJ Yeldon, Cole Beasley, and John Brown. These guys aren’t exactly A+ talent, but they are better than anything Allen had last season. On the defensive side, the Bills return many of their guys that made them a solid group last season. This team’s best moves were in the draft when they brought in guys that will play very significant roles for them this season and beyond. As for this season, don’t expect the Bills to set the world on fire. Rather, expect another season of a steady rebuild.
Photo Credits: Nflanalysis.net
The Dolphins were a decent football squad last season, and early on in the season looked like they’d give Tom Brady and company a run for their money. However, the season quickly went downhill and now they have a whole new quarterback duo and Josh Rosen, or Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brian Flores, replacing Adam Gase and Ryan Tannehill. The Dolphins do have a quarterback battle between veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, who threw the last two games of last season led the league in passing yards, and second year man acquired from Arizona Josh Rosen. However, this offseason they did not make any big moves to improve besides bringing in the two QBs. The team lost more than they replaced on both sides of the ball. Miami’s rebuild is pretty much starting from scratch. With that being said, they will most likely be at the cellar of the NFL this upcoming season and competing for the number one overall pick in next season’s draft.
New England Patriots
Photo Credits: weirtondailytimes.com
The 2018-2018 season saw the New England Patriots return to the top of the mountain, winning their record tying sixth Super Bowl Title and their third in the last five years. This season, the Patriots seem destined to continue their AFC East, and possibly even their Super Bowl dynasty this season as long as Tom Brady and Bill Bellicheck are still there. However, there are still a lot of questions facing the defending champs. For the first time in nearly ten years, they will be without future Hall of Fame tight end Rob Gronkowski who retired in the offseason. While there isn’t a tight end that can replace Gronk, they did bring in Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, and Benjamin Watson to try and help fill the void. The two biggest offseason acquisitions are in the receiving corps, in Demaryius Thomas and Josh Gordon. Gordon was reinstated by the NFL this past week, and Thomas was added in free agency. The two star caliber receivers will likely be tasked with replacing Gronk’s and Chris Hogan’s production. The receiving corps however are still suspect, but that has not been an issue for the Pats in the past. Brady and Bellicheck can work magic, and they will hope to do the same with rookies Damien Harris and N’keal Harry this season. Their most important player outside of Brady will be Kent State Alum, and reigning Super Bowl MVP Julian Edleman. The Pats hope Edleman will be healthy all season so he can be a veteran presence that teaches the new guys the winning culture in New England. Although the Patriots did not have a great offseason, expect them to continue their winning ways and win their 11th straight division title.
New York Jets
Photo Credits: lastwordonprofootball.com
The New York Jets were a bad football team in the 2018-2019 season. They tied Oakland for the worst record in the AFC going 4-12, and were only one win better than the league’s worst record the Arizona Cardinals. The Jets did bring in former Miami head coach Adam Gase. Gase did a decent job in Miami, but in a few months on the job has already with the GM, and had to make two public apologies to two of the team’s players. On the bright side, the Jets had one of the more successful offseasons of any team in the league. Looking to build talent around Sam Darnold, the Jets went out and got one of the top offensive players in the game in Le’veon Bell. Bell will be a huge difference maker on this ball club, but they will need more to overtake the Patriots in the division. The Jets will improve significantly and should hover around a .500 record, but they are still a couple of years away.
2019-2020 AFC East Standings Predictions
- New England Patriots (12-4)
- New York Jets (9-7)
- Buffalo Bills (7-9)
- Miami Dolphins (3-13)
Photo Credits: USA Today
The thing that people always say about teams with older, talented veterans like the Patriots is “Father Time is undefeated”. While this may be true, the Patriots AFC East dynasty will continue this season. The Bills and Jets will vastly improve, and I can even see the Jets as a dark horse playoff contender. However, that will not be enough to end the Patriots’ evil empire in the AFC East this upcoming season.