Our 2017 AFC East Preview sees the New England patriots, the reigning Super Bowl Champions, as the team to beat in the division and the league. They have the best quarterback in the league and the best coach, and together Brady and Belichick have been one dynamic duo. They do have at least one team in the division to worry about, and that’s the Miami Dolphins. Under new coach Adam Gase last season, the Dolphins made the playoffs, losing to the Steelers 30-12 in their first game. Still, they looked good last season especially from Oct 16 on into the through the second half. The New York Jets look to be a team that will continue to struggle on both sides of the ball, while under new coach Sean McDermott, the Buffalo Bills should show signs of improvement.
The Rex Ryan era is over, and it was nothing to brag about. New head coach Sean McDermott comes in with a no-nonsense attitude and a commitment to winning. The Buffalo Bills (7-9) are giving QB Tyrod Taylor one more shot. After that who knows who will be the next signal caller for Buffalo? The team will be focused on running a lot with LeSean McCoy leading the way. They have had quite a few changes on both sides of the ball, but still include some much-needed veterans as stabilizing forces such as DT Kyle Williams. This team will be much more competitive that it has been.
The Miami Dolphins (10-6) looked good last season as QB Ryan Tennehill came into his own. If it weren’t for a knee injury that knocked him out of the final three games of the season as well as the playoff matchup with the Steelers, this team might have gone a bit deeper into the postseason. Tennehill has a good collection of receivers, including Pro Bowler Jarvis Landry. Although the offense can be effective, this team still has problems on the defensive side of the ball especially against the pass. That will be their Achilles heel.
New England Patriots
Tom Brady proved last season and in last year’s Super Bowl that he is the greatest quarterback the NFL has ever seen. Plus, he’s managed over the years to preserve himself physically, allowing him to continue to play amazingly effectively into his 40s. Coach Bill Belichick knows how to get a team on the same page and how to win. The New England Patriots (14-2) come loaded with receivers, bring top-notch special team units to the game, and have a very tight defense. This is a team poised to win another championship. However, the journey to the Super Bowl will be a challenging one.
New York Jets
The New York Jets (5-11) are very much in need of a premium starting quarterback. They have three choices this season and not one of them are of starting caliber. At the same time, the effectiveness of head coach Todd Bowles, now entering his third season, is being questioned. The team has some fine running backs, including Bilal Powell, and some rookie wideouts they can test. But there’s really not much there on offense or defense. If anything, we expect this team to take a step back this season, before they have a chance to take a step forward in a year or two.
2017 AFC East Preview: Final Standings
Our 2017 AFC East Preview offers our predictions regarding where each team in the division will finish. If you’d like more information on the AFC East teams, please click on the links below and you’ll be taken to their team page.