Note: This is Part One of an Eight Part Series of NFL Divisional Predictions
Traditionally the AFC East is one of the most predictable divisions in the NFL. More often than not, the New England Patriots win the division, the New York Jets finish second, the Miami Dolphins finish third and the Buffalo Bills reside in last place. I don’t see that changing this year.
The Patriots are a well coached, veteran team. They should be the favorite to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. Tom Brady should have a big year and the only team with a shot at catching the Patriots in the division is the Jets. I predict they finish 13-3 atop the division.
If the New York Jets played as well as they talked they would be the two time defending Super Bowl champion. The Jets are certainly talented, but they seem to be missing something to put them over the top. It could be that all of the pressure from their bravado is holding them back. I predict they finish 11-5 and snag a Wild Card spot.
The Miami Dolphins have a cloud hanging over the franchise right now due to the QB situation. Chad Henne is marginal, but Dolphins fans are treating him as if he is radioactive. It seems like a gross overreaction by a fan base that was spoiled by years of Dan Marino at the helm. I’m not trying to say I think Henne is a good QB, but look at the options out there. Fans are clamoring for Kyle Orton. I don’t see that as much of an upgrade let alone at the cost of a third round pick. I think the Dolphins sputter to a 6-10 record.
To be frank, the Bills stink. Unless a minor miracle happens, they will finish in last place. The Bills lack playmakers on both sides of the ball and depth as a whole. I predict they will finish 3-13. However, there is a silver lining. The Bills should be one of a few teams in prime position to have the worst record in the league. With Andrew Luck lurking in the 2012 NFL Draft the payoff for one abysmal year could be huge. Luck would provide a major upgrade over Ryan Fitzpatrick and would instantly rejuvenate the entire franchise.
Overall, the AFC East is a very structured division. There is a clear cut pecking order and I would not rate the division as especially hard or soft.