NFL Regular Season Outlook: AFC East

175 days ago, the New England Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 in the lowest scoring (and most boring) Super Bowl in NFL history. Since then, the only thing more surprising than any of us waking up after the end of the third quarter, is how much roster movement there was this offseason. With over 1,500 players across 32 teams and an always wild free agency, it’s nearly as hard to keep up with all the change in an NFL offseason as it is to stop watching the butt fumble.

But worry not, SB3 is here for you.

The NFL regular season kicks off in 41 days, when the Green Bay Packers travel to Chicago to take on the Bears (8:20pm Eastern on NBC). Before then, we’ll highlight notable changes for each team, one division at a time, and throw in what the betting lines look like because of it. As a hat tip to the defending champs, we’ll start with the AFC East.

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New England Patriots

Head Coach Bill Belichick’s dynasty in New England has been defined by a system that doesn’t stop even when great coaches and players move on. This offseason will end up pushing that system to the test like none before it. Here’s why:

  • The loss of Assistant Coach and defensive play caller Brian Flores, who spent 15 years in Billechick’s coaching tree in New England, is a big one. Flores is now the head coach at Miami. Oh, and he took Chad O’Shea, New England’s Wide Receiver’s Coach, with him.
  • All-Pro Defensive End Trey Flowers is getting paid (90 million to be exact), but not by New England. The Pats let the free agent walk, and picked up Michael Bennett in a trade from Philadelphia (to attempt) to fill his shoes.
  • The biggest blow is that the Pats are now Gronkless. The greatest Tight End in NFL history retired. He’ll have a successor, but there’s no such thing as a replacement for Rob Gronkowski. How will Tom Brady handle a world without Gronk?

With that much significant change in New England, this might be the only offseason you’re not oversaturated with buzz about Tom Brady’s age. And still, New England is the favorite to win the Super Bowl again this year. Can anything bring down the empire? We’re about to find out.

WILL THE PATRIOTS MAKE THE PLAYOFFS?    YES -900    |    No +550

ODDS TO WIN AFC EAST:    -500

ODDS TO WIN AFC:    +325

ODDS TO WIN SUPERBOWL:    +700

Place bets on the New England Patriots

New York Jets

The team that finished dead last in the AFC East and tied for the second worst team in all of football last year might just be poised for a turnaround. After winning four games last season, the Jets made a splash this offseason signing two of the best free agents available.

  • Signing Le’Veon Bell changes the Jet’s offense. This might be the biggest get of the entire NFL offseason, for any team. Bell is coming into New York with fresh legs and a chip on his shoulder after sitting out all of last season.
  • C.J. Mosley is a game changing talent on defense. The inside linebacker out of Alabama is one of few players across the NFL that can change the entire look of a defense when he’s on the field. The second biggest get of the entire NFL offseason might just belong to the Jets as well.

Unfortunately, part of the offseason splash was unnecessarily turned into a PR mess when new head coach Adam Gase (terrible hire) commented publicly that the team overpaid for Le’Veon Bell. Even still, the Jets will finally be a tier above the Clemson Tigers this season. In fact, this team should win four games against the Bills and Dolphins. They do that, and they might fool us all into thinking they could actually nab a Wild Card spot. (Spoiler, they won’t)

WILL THE JETS MAKE THE PLAYOFFS?    YES  +300    |    NO -400

ODDS TO WIN AFC EAST:    +600

ODDS TO WIN AFC:    +4000

ODDS TO WIN SUPERBOWL:    +8000

Place bets on the New York Jets

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins had a tumultuous offseason. For every good reason Miami fans have to be excited, there are at least two more questions. For example:

  • New Coaches. Miami made a great fire (dropping head coach Adam Gase) and an even better hire, snatching Brian Flores from the Patriots. Flores made a great first move, bringing Chad O’Shea with him as his new Offensive Coordinator. How will the duo do? A first-time head coach and a first-time offensive coordinator just inherited a mediocre (to be generous) team.
  • New QB’s. The Ryan Tannehill error era is finally over. Miami signed two very different QB’s. Josh Rosen (acquired in a trade from Arizona) is fifteen years younger than Ryan Fitzpatrick and plays a more conservative game. Fitzpatrick, on the other hand, will bomb it every opportunity he gets. While Rosen is listed as the starter, don’t be surprised to see Fitzmagic in week 1. (And when I say don’t be surprised, what I mean is, I’d bet the house Fitzpatrick starts.) Expect Rosen to see the field at some point though, Miami needs to know if he’s worth keeping around. Otherwise, expect #TankForTua to start trending in South Beach.

Miami’s head coaching move was a massive get. Neither Rosen or Fitzpatrick will be the long-term solution at QB if Miami decides to enter the Tua sweepstakes. Regardless, you can finally expect football success in Miami, but not yet. Give it three years and Miami might just be relevant on a level South Florida hasn’t seen since #13 retired. But this year, don’t expect too many W’s.

WILL THE DOLPHINS MAKE THE PLAYOFFS?    Yes +900    |    No -1800

ODDS TO WIN AFC EAST:    +2500

ODDS TO WIN AFC:    +6500

ODDS TO WIN SUPERBOWL:    +15000

Place bets on the Miami Dolphins

Buffalo Bills

On one hand, the Buffalo Bills put together a mediocre offseason. On the other hand, they’re still the Buffalo Bills. Nearly everything the Bills did was to help out Josh Rosen, who showed marked improvement in the second half of last season. But in the grand scheme of competing for a Super Bowl, it was just baby steps.

  • Bringing in quick receivers like John Brown and Cole Beasley (who can both create great separation for Josh Allen) was a brilliant move.
  • The big blue wall! Buffalo signed five offensive linemen and drafted another (half of them could start week 1). If that doesn’t tell you they’re all in on QB Josh Allen, nothing will. It was a smart, and needed move that should have immediate benefit.
  • A Jurassic backfield? The Jets signed free-agent dinosaur Frank Gore and re-signed senior citizen Shady McCoy. Add T.J. Yeldon and rookie third-round pick Devin Singletary and only father time (and probably training camp) will tell us who is going to get the majority of touches out of the backfield in Buffalo. Running backs galore? Maybe.

Could the Bills surprise us? Definitely. But the defensive line in Buffalo is as weak as the secondary is strong, and the receiving corps is top heavy. If Frank Gore and Shady McCoy can split time well enough to both stay healthy, the Bills might just finally have enough on offense to surprise everyone outside of Buffalo.

WILL THE BILLS MAKE THE PLAYOFFS?    YES +325    |    No -450

ODDS TO WIN AFC EAST:    +950

ODDS TO WIN AFC:    +5000

ODDS TO WIN SUPERBOWL:    +10000

Place bets on the Buffalo Bills

The AFC East will yet again be three sub-par teams fighting for second place, the delusion of relevance, in the shadow of New England’s greatness. SB3’s NFL Regular Season Outlook will be back soon. We’ll look at the most entertaining division in the National Football League next: the NFC West. Fast paced, crazy offensive numbers coupled with surprisingly mostly weak defensives. Stay tuned.

Until then, be good sports, fans.

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Super Bowl series 2017: AFC East