20 Jun Free AFC East Odds
Free AFC East Odds | Expand The Boxscore’s Divisional Futures Series
The AFC East is interesting not because the teams are elite. It is interesting because we do not know who is going to win it for the first time in 20 seasons (lines from DraftKings Sportsbook)
Last Season: 10-6
2020 O/U: 8.5
If Josh Allen continues to improve as a quarterback, this should be an over. Add on the youth on the defensive side of the ball and there may be no stopping Buffalo from taking the division. There are flaws and inconsistencies to this team as well, which needs to be pointed out.
Stefon Diggs is not one to be happy for long. This means if Allen’s accuracy issues continue to be spotty, he will moan and groan yet again. The lack of a true top talent at the tight end position makes the pass game marginally better.
Devin Singletary will have a chance to shine. Frank Gore is gone, and Buffalo waited until the third round to add running back Zack Moss. Despite missing time last season, Singletary was second only to Christian McCaffrey in explosive runs, meaning runs longer than 20 yards. The knock on Singletary out of Florida Atlantic was his size.
At 5’7 and 200 lbs., the concern was injuries. This concern popped up as Singletary missed three games. When he was playing, he was steady for a third-round draft pick rookie. 2020 could be a big year for Singletary.
Although the 10-6 record from 2019 looks good, they were a lot closer to a .500 team than a team that won 10 games. The Bills had one win against a playoff team (Tennessee Titans), and that was in Week 4 when the Titans were in flux. Although the defense will again be a top unit in the NFL, the offense will leave a bit to be desired. It is easy to see Buffalo finish as a push at 9-7, but I do not see a likelihood of the team getting to 10 wins for a second season in a row.
Last Season: 5-11
2020 O/U: 6.5
After starting of the season looking like one of the worst teams in NFL history, something happened. That thing was Fitzmagic.
Not only did Ryan Fitzpatrick make the Dolphins better than bad, he brought the career of DeVante Parker back from the brink of irrelevance. Parker, who looked like a complete bust for four seasons, had the breakout expected from him since being drafted in the first round in 2015.
Parker wasn’t the only player to have an attention-getting season. Look no further than tight end Mike Gesicki. Both players took a big step forward after injuries to Preston Williams and Albert Wilson. The Duo combined for 123 receptions and 14 TD on a Miami team which did not have a run game to help. This allowed defenses to focus on the pass game for much of the season.
The run game was terrible. The leading rusher on the team was Fitzpatrick, who did not eclipse the 250-yard mark. Miami added Jordan Howard in free agency and traded for Matt Breida. Howard cannot catch the ball, so expect Breida to eat into Howard’s touch total. Any combination of production from the two is a welcomed sight.
The 2020 season is seen by many Dolphins fans and pundits as the calm before the Tua Tagovailoa storm in 2021. Brian Flores probably does not see it this way. Flores bringing in Chan Gailey to work with Fitzpatrick shows the team is trying to win sooner, or that Gailey is the best option for the talent on the team. This season may not bring a playoff berth, but with all the defensive skill players they brought in and the positivity surrounding them in South Beach, do not be surprised by a little more magic.
New England Patriots
Last Season: 12-4
2020 O/U: 8.5
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are gone. They did what most people do at the end of their career and moved to Florida.
This leaves the team to rely on Jarrett Stidham as the next man up. In limited playing time, his play was not much better. He threw a pick six, a play which caused him to finish the 2019 season with negative fantasy points. The Patriots also brought back a familiar face in Brian Hoyer in case Stidham were to flounder.
With an aging Julian Edelman returning, the offense will again be a short route mishmash of thrown together parts from last year’s team and through the draft. Someone or someones from the group of N’Keal Harry, Jakobi Meyers and free agent acquisition Damiere Byrd have an opportunity to seize a large target share, with Harry and Meyers spending time in practice with Stidham.
With the news of Sony Michel having foot surgery, Rex Burkhead may get another chance to shine in a crowded backfield. Not only will he need to step up if Michel is hobbled, James White will be in position to continue his stellar play of recent seasons. The running back will need to again catch 80 balls in this offense and even this may not be enough to score a lot of points.
Since New England is not likely to score consistently, it is a good thing their defense may be the best in the AFC. Reigning defensive player of the year Stefan Gilmore leads a defense which also included the McCourty brothers and newly re-signed Patrick Chung. With the defense as good as it could be, the offense will just need to be good enough. Second year RB Damien Harris will be looking to make an imprint after being a non-factor in 2019.
The true key to the team is Bill Belichick. He is still there and is still the best head coach in the game. With his influence the defense will not be expected to falter. Belichick knows how to cater to the needs of his players to make an offense work as well. Injuries and inconsistencies are not predictive, and the Pats had a lot of that last season. Some of the younger offensive players will be the difference between playoffs and going home prematurely.
Although the Buffalo Bills and the rest of the division are getting better, they might all be a year away from being true contenders. Do not expect the Patriots to go down without a fight.
New York Jets
Last Season: 7-9
2020 O/U: 6.5
On one end of the spectrum of coaches we have the aforementioned Bill Belichick. On the other end, we have Adam Gase. If he is not the worst head coach in the league, he is close. By any measure, Gase does not know how to get the best out of his players. From bashing Le’Veon Bell after signing him, to constantly putting his foot in his mouth, Gase cannot get out of his own way.
Star safety Jamal Adams has officially stated he wants out of the Big Apple. His potential departure would leave a crater in the Jets’ secondary, and as a leader in the locker room.
Le’Veon Bell was wasted in his first season in New York. Sure, the offensive line was bad, and the coaching was worse, but Bell showed his age and what can happen when a player misses a year of football. The offensive line was kind of addressed this off-season. The Jets signed a slew of mid-range talent to patch together something.
The big move to improve the line was getting Mekhi Beckton at number 11 overall in the NFL Draft. If the 6’7 370 lbs. monster can ruse to his full potential, he could be the next great left tackle in the league. If he fails to improve on his collegiate status that rose considerably his senior season, he will be another in a line of draft misses for New York. It is really going to be imperative for this draft pick to make a major impact. Not only for Le’Veon Bell and the run game but also for the development of third-year starter Sam Darnold.
With Quincy Enunwa’s career likely done and the team deciding not to re-sign Robby Anderson, the Jets will need to find a way to produce on offense. If rookie Denzel Mims can be an instant impact receiver the Jets could make something happen. Mims will need to improve his route running, a weakness of the big-bodied pass catcher coming out of college. Besides Mims, the Jets added Breshad Perriman hoping he continues to build off of his late season success in Tampa Bay. The two join Jamison Crowder to make a volatile receiving corps.
With all of these unknowns on the offensive side of the ball, it will be tough for Darnold to take step forward this season.
The defense is another matter entirely, not because they are any better but because they are just as bad as last season. Like with the offense, they have one great player they are trying to build around. At least the defensive player Jamal Adams is a true star. The key now is to get him signed to a long-term deal and not fool around.
For the first time in two decades the New England Patriots are not the favorites to win the division. That honor goes to the Buffalo Bills. This means two things. The hype is real around the Bills and the Patriots are a bit of a value.
With Jarrett Stidham taking over for Tom Brady, it is easy to see why the changing of the guard happened. It is also questionable to think New England would drastically fall off despite having the same head coach and offensive coordinator that planned on grooming Stidham. Did the collective ‘We’ know this heading into the current off-season? No. That’s the genius of Bill Belichick. For this reason alone, I like the Patriots playing the role of spoiler. I just do not see the dynasty ending quite yet and am willing to put my money where my mouth is.
Bet: New England Patriots +140
Dominick is a lifelong resident of the Philadelphia area. Playing fantasy football for more than 20 years and writing for more than five, he has a vast knowledge of both the NFL and fantasy football. Despite his being blind, Dominick is a consistent ranker amongst FantasyPros experts, and always strives to be better than last season. Follow him on Twitter @EnvisionFF and read his weekly Best Bets articles during the season.