Can anyone in the AFC East beat the Patriots? Outside of the New England Patriots, the AFC East has only mustered up four wild card teams over the last 10 years. None were close to challenging one of the greatest dynasties in NFL history for the division.
Neither the Bills, Jets, or Dolphins made it to .500 last season. Could this year be worse?
The Bills put together six wins in 2018 and added DT Ed Oliver, WRs Cole Beasley, John Brown, and RB Frank Gore in the offseason. Two trips to Metlife Stadium open the calendar season for Buffalo. Both the Jets and Giants are winnable games, but the offense will have to score more than 16.7 points per game to get the job done. The Bills won’t have to wait longer than week three to get a win with the Bengals coming to town. After that, the superior Patriots, and contending Titans will prove too much to handle. After a week six bye, the Bills should make quick work of the regressed Dolphins but may not see another win until week 17. The offense will have to average at least 21 points in order to win against their schedule.
Prediction: 3-13 (2-4)
The Dolphins have taken a huge step back after finishing 7-9 last season. With a new coach in charge, new playbook, and new quarterbacks, regression is almost certain in Miami. The good news is that the Dolphins are finally on the right track for growth, and could be playoff-ready in a few years with the right moves. 2019 will get ugly with a 1-9 start. The lone win coming from a Ryan Fitzpatrick led an attack on the Patriots who’ve lost five of their last six in Miami. The Dolphins will claim home wins against the Bengals and Bills, but that might be all the fish can get.
Prediction: 3-13 (2-4)
New England Patriots
After winning the Super Bowl, regression is likely for the Patriots. They’ve lost TE Rob Gronkowski, DE Trey Flowers, and OT Trent Brown, but regression may not affect their record. The Patriots have the second easiest schedule in the NFL and should cruise through week eight with a record of 7-1. Two tough road tests in the Mid-Atlantic could set the Pats back, as the Ravens defense and top-notch rushing attack will be tough to beat on the road.
The Eagles are one of the most stacked teams in the league, and the city of Philadelphia will be ready for the Super Bowl 52 rematch. The Patriots have the talent to win out the rest of the season and secure a first-round bye.
Prediction: 13-3 (5-1)
New York Jets
Despite landing RB Leveon Bell, LB C.J. Mosley, and DT Quinnen Williams in the offseason, the Jets didn’t give quarterback Sam Darnold many targets to throw to. Darnold will have to learn a new offense in his second year, and the Jets growth in 2019 will lie solely on him. After winning their opener, the Jets get five tough matchups in a row in the Browns, Pats (twice), Eagles, and Cowboys. A week four bye week may hurt the team late in the season as wear and tare wreak havoc.
The Jets should still notch wins against the Dolphins (twice) and the Raiders, but the Jets offensive line (rated 27th via thehuddle.com) and young defensive line could hinder their chances at winning.
Prediction: 4-12 (3-3)
AFC East Standings: 2019-20 Prediction
Patriots 13-3 (5-1)
Jets 4-12 (3-3)
Bills 3-13 (2-4)
Dolphins 3-13 (2-4)
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