The Miami Dolphins currently look like the second-best team in a crowded pack behind the Patriots. They return starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill, but also lost some important free agents.
Coming off a Wild Card berth, the Buffalo Bills are trying for a second-straight postseason bid. However, it’s hard to see them doing so when considering that they benefited from lucky turnovers and didn’t add much offseason talent.
The New York Jets stand to be better than they were a year ago. They’ll try grooming rookie quarterback Sam Darnold in what looks to be another rebuild.
Keep reading to see odds on the AFC East along with analysis on each team.
2018 Odds on Winning AFC East
You can see in the GBets odds below that the Patriots are easily favored to win the division once again. Keep in mind that these odds are subject to change until the 2018 regular season begins:
- Buffalo +1200
- Miami +1000
- New England -600
- New York Jets +1200
2018 AFC East Team Previews
New England (-600)
New England will be handicapped to start the season when considering that receiver Julian Edelman is serving a four-game suspension.
However, Bill Belichick is a master at game planning for each week. That said, look for the Patriots to feature a short passing game that utilizes the talents of their running backs more frequently. Of course, the Brady-to–Gronk connection will also be seen quite a bit too.
Defensively, New England was the epitome of a bend-but-don’t-break team. They gave up the second most yards per play (5.7), but only allowed the fifth most points per contest (18.5).
Expect the defense to be better this year with the addition of tackle Danny Shelton, and Dont’a Hightower returning from injury. The secondary should also be better after they gained steam over the course of last season.
Overall, the Patriots will benefit from a weak division as well as having Brady and several other key pieces back. It’s completely understandable why they have -600 odds of winning the division right now.
Miami Dolphins (+1000)
Ryan Tannehill hasn’t played a down of regular season football in over a year and a half. The dolphins are anxious for his return from an ACL injury, given that he was 8-5 in 2016. One thing that will hamper Tannehill’s return is WR Jarvis Landry being traded to the Cleveland Browns.
The running back group leaves much to be desired. Kenyan Drake should play a lot after having some shining moments last season.
But 35-year-old Frank Gore is the closest thing to a backup. It also doesn’t help matters that the offensive line did a poor job of run blocking in 2017.
The Dolphins cut Ndamukong Suh in the offseason to part with his bloated salary. But the defensive line shouldn’t be too bad when considering that they still have good young defensive tackles in Davon Godchaux and Jordan Phillips. DE Robert Quinn was brought in to provide a strong pass-rushing duo along with Cameron Wake.
Corner Xavien Howard has very good coverage skills, while first-round pick Minkah Fitzpatrick and safety Reshad Jones round out a strong secondary. The only real weakness on this defense is the linebackers.
Miami doesn’t have the most-talented group in the AFC East. In fact, coach Adam Gase has made it a point to get rid of top players (Suh, Landry, Mike Pouncey, Jay Ajayi) who don’t fit the team culture. Maybe this clean-house approach will improve Miami, but I don’t see it resulting in a playoff spot.
Buffalo Bills (+1200)
LeSean McCoy returns as the team’s top rusher. But there’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding the domestic violence allegations against him. Furthermore, the offensive line will be missing three starters from the 2017 squad.
Buffalo added former Carolina receiver Kelvin Benjamin in the offseason. However, they still have the division’s worst receiving corp. The passing game will further be hampered by the fact that three young quarterbacks are competing for the top spot.
The Bills’ strength is their secondary, which is led by second year player Tre’Davious White, and safeties Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde. The defensive line wasn’t outstanding last season, but former Panthers tackle Star Lotuelei should give them a boost.
Buffalo vastly exceeded expectations in coach Sean McDermott’s first year by grabbing a postseason berth. Don’t expect this to happen again, though, since the team has even less talent and had some luck go their way in 2017.
New York Jets (+1200)
The Jets look to be yet another offensively challenged team in the AFC East. Quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates takes over as the new offensive coordinator. He’ll work with Josh McCown, Teddy Bridgewater, and Sam Darnold to get something going in the passing game.
Robby Anderson has become a a solid deep threat. The only problem, though, is that there’s not much else to like in the receiving unit.
Isaiah Crowell will be a decent starting running back, while Bilal Powell is one of the league’s best third down backs. Unfortunately, the running game will be held back by a bad offensive line.
Defense is the highlight of this team, even after losing linebacker Demario Davis and DE Muhammad Wilkerson in the offseason. Young players like LB Jordan Jenkins, LB Darron Lee, S Jamal Adams, and S Marcus Maye, and DE Leonard Williams should step up in 2018. They also signed former Rams corner Trumaine Johnson.
Overall, this is still a young team that’s rebuilding. But as Darnold and the defense gain some experience, the Jets could prepare for a strong run in 2019 and beyond.