AFC East betting preview: This is Josh Allen's turf now
The 2021 NFL season is nearly upon us. To get you primed for pro football, let’s break down what to expect from each team in the AFC East.
AFC East 2021/2022
Sun, January 9 2022, 6:00 PM
New England Patriots
New York Jets
2020 record: 13-3
Key additions: WR Emmanuel Sanders, QB Mitchell Trubisky, RB Matt Breida
Key departures: WR John Brown, G Brian Winters, WR Andre Roberts
Typically, it is not a great sign for an offseason when your top three key additions are a backup quarterback and a third string running back. However, when you only lose two of your 22 starters from a team that went 13-3 in the regular season and advanced to the AFC Championship game, it is okay to just focus on building depth.
The Bills also added Emmanuel Sanders to replace John Brown as another target for the emerging superstar Josh Allen. The former first round quarterback is coming off a Pro Bowl season in which he threw for 4,544 yards and 37 touchdowns as rushed for 421 yards and eight majors.
After decades of dominance by Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, the Bills are finally on top of this division, and rightfully so. They went a perfect 6-0 in division play last year, and are ready to completely take over the throne in the AFC East.
2020 record: 10-6
Key additions: WR Will Fuller, WR Jaylen Waddle, LB Bernardrick McKinney
Key departures: LB Kyle Van Noy, LB Shaq Lawson, C Ted Karras
Coming off a surprising season, coach Brian Flores is ready to continue the quick revival in Miami. Two years ago, the Dolphins traded away their top talent and looked like an 0-16 team after the first month of the season. However, they finished the season strong to get to five wins and doubled that win total last season under the combination of rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Now, they are surrounding the youngster with some talent in the receiving corps. Will Fuller added through free agency and Jaylen Waddle added through the draft could make immediate impacts to an offense that only ranked 22nd in yards per game last season. On the defensive side, the deadly defensive back duo of Byron Jones and Xavien Howard returns with an extra body in Justin Coleman to play the nickel back.
The young Dolphins are already at the level of contenders in this division and they continue to make offseason moves that should continue this growth. Do not count them out.
New England Patriots
2020 record: 7-9
Key additions: TE Hunter Henry, TE Jonnu Smith, LB Kyle Van Noy
Key departures: WR Julian Edelman, G Joe Thuney, DT Adam Butler
It was a quick fall from grace for the Patriots after Tom Brady bolted to Tampa Bay. However, they made some furious movement this offseason to attempt to get back on top. They brought in a ton of talent and depth in the receiving corps with both tight ends and wide receivers.
They also drafted Mac Jones to compete with Cam Newton at quarterback. A defense that ranked seventh in points allowed and 15th in yards allowed only lost one defensive starter and gained five players that will likely start over the previous year’s position player. They also drafted a projected first rounder, DL Christian Barmore, in the second round.
Everyone was quick to jump off New England’s bandwagon after the departure of Brady, and rightfully so after seeing them go 7-9. However, they are quickly revamping their roster and may just be back in contention in this division.
New York Jets
2020 record: 2-14
Key additions: QB Zach Wilson, RB Tevin Coleman, WR Corey Davis
Key departures: QB Sam Darnold, WR Breshad Perriman, Edge Tarell Basham
The Jets were desperately hoping to land Trevor Lawrence at No. 1 in the 2021 NFL Draft. Well, they had to settle for Zach Wilson at No. 2, but they didn’t just surround him with trash.
The Jets went hard in both free agency and the draft to find starters to build around their new franchise quarterback. They moved on from Sam Darnold and added eight new players to their starting-22.
Even though the Jets finally made some strides in the right direction, they are far from being a contender unless Wilson turns out to be the next Tom Brady.