2024 Division Preview: AFC East

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NFC East (and Introduction)

NFC North

NFC South

NFC West

1. New York Jets

 

Finally we’re to the teams that will actually effect the Chiefs! At least until the Super Bowl.

Anyway, the AFC East is a tough one to predict. These teams are so even that you could make a legitimate case for putting them in any order.

I decided on picking the Jets because going from the disaster they had at quarterback last year to Aaron Rodgers is a massive improvement at the game’s most important position. There are legitimate questions about how good a 41 year old Rodgers coming off an Achilles injury will be, but even if he declines to being mediocre that’s all the Jets might need to win a division with the roster they have.

2. Miami Dolphins

 

The Dolphins are an appealing team to back to win the division because they were good last year and kept most of their headline players. But there are two main problems holding me back.

Firstly, they beat up on bad teams (like their 70 point game against Denver) but struggled against good teams. That’s not a good sign for actual the quality of the team.

The other issue is that, while a lot of their star players are there, they did suffer some significant losses. Losing both Christian Wilkins and Andrew Van Ginkel and only having a rookie to seriously replace them (even if it is a 1st rounder) isn’t good. 

3. Buffalo Bills

 

When I did my post-draft power rankings I had some complaints about ranking the Bills at 14th. Looking at these notes I think you can see why I’m skeptical of them.

They lost their top 2 receivers.

They lost their top pass rusher.

They lost their starting center.

They lost a corner who played 43% of the defensive snaps and their a who played 74% of the defensive snaps.

They desperately need their rookies to play well, but even then they’re in big trouble. They were already weaker last year than they had been in the past, but that slide could be much bigger this year. 

 

4. New England Patriots

 

I was tempted to put the Patriots above the Bills because I’m a huge Drake Maye fan. But even with the Bills losing a lot of talent did the Patriots really improve enough elsewhere to overcome what is likely to still be a QB gap?

They made no major improvements outside of quarterback, and even their improvements elsewhere aren’t all that great.

Losing Belichick also hurts. Everybody’s going on about how he’s out of touch now, but I don’t buy that at all. He did have some great teams that were able to win without Brady, but the reality is that he had struggled for years until Drew Bledsoe was nearly killed by that big hit that gave Brady his chance.

Belichick is arguably the best defensive coach in NFL history, and that didn’t go anywhere. The Patriots last year were 5th in points per drive despite the offense giving them the worst average starting field position in the NFL. That’s Bill Belichick at work. The only reason they sucked is because they had a horrible offense, and offense is more important than defense in the modern NFL.

Without Belichick their defense is sure to decline. And this is nothing against Mayo, I don’t see any reason why he can’t be an effective head coach. But when you replace the best you’re not going to do as well even if you are pretty good yourself.

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NovaChiefs
06/10/2024 3:13 pm

I don’t know that I really think much of any of these teams.
Jets, if Rodgers doesn’t get hurt or flake out, has a chance.
Bills, as long as Allen doesn’t fully revert to his first year or two, can cause people problems
Dolphins, same basic team and they have more WR firepower than anyone, if Tua plays just OK, are going to be putting up points
Pats, if Maye is more Stroud than Allen his first year, could surprise folks

But Rodgers is a headcase
Allen has already shown signs of reverting
Tua played better than ok last year, and their winless streak in the playoffs is approaching 25 years, I think
And Maye is too much of a wildcard to count on. Who do they have who’s been proven to develop QBs?

Team Player
06/10/2024 11:15 am

I think you have too much faith in Drake Maye. He may be a potential pro bowl talent, but even if so, he is walking into the same situation they had in Carolina last year. He will have to not only walk on water, but motor enough for 10 others to ski behind him to get to a winning record.

upamtn
06/10/2024 11:15 am

the AFC East is a tough one to predict. These teams are so even that you could make a legitimate case for putting them in any order.

nobody could make a serious and legit case for the Pats to win the AFC East this season … ain’t hap’nin’ ’nuff said

not sure I trust Rodgers much, healed though he may be … good Defense though, give ’em that for the Jets … so yeah: top 3 are interchangeable

NovaChiefs
Reply to  Tony Sommer
06/10/2024 3:05 pm

Yep, it would take a lot of “other people’s troubles” to get them to first, but all the teams above are fully capable of crapping the bed

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