Lunchtime Snack - AFC East Prediction

The first of many "mini articles" that I'll be posting on this blog. A more informal, miniature read, perfect for 5 minutes during a lunch break or similar. One area I intend to cover is predicting all 8 NFL divisions before preseason gets into full swing. I will then revisit all of these predictions in a much deeper and more detailed way ahead of the season. Taking into account the major performers and injuries from preseason.

Starting off with arguably the easiest of all 8 Divisions to predict. The sun will rise in the east, the sun will set in the west, and the New England Patriots will win the AFC East. Even without Edelman and with questions about whether or not Brady and Belicheck get along, no team in the AFC East can stop the Patriots.

Deciding who comes were out of the Dolphins, Bills and Jets is the tricky bit.

In 4th place is - The New York Jets.

Unfortunately for the Jets it's the bottom of the pile again. Sam Darnold is a huge addition for the future of the Green Gang Franchise however he isn't quite pro ready yet. A Heisman hopefully who was unfortunately too inconsistent to really contend, for both personal and team success, Darnold needs to get a few seasons under his belt and a few more pieces around him before the Jets can seriously be looked at as contenders. It's also set to be a transitional year for the Jets defensive after losing yet more parts from their often dominant pass rush.

In 3rd place is - The Buffalo Bills, Meaning the Dolphins finish best of the rest.

Ultimately the decision here comes down to Quarterback play. Both teams come into this season with a young group of skill positions players and the odd veteran presence. Both teams have a balance of defensive strength and weaknesses. The Bills secondary would have the edge over the Dolphins however the Dolphins have the better front 7. The Dophins finished last season 6 and 10 after an injury plagued season saw Jay Culter and Matt Moore split time. The Bills finished 9-7 despite the odd midseason decision to replace starting QB Tyrod Taylor with rookie Nathan Peterman. Expect entire different QB's for both this season. The Bills committed early to Josh Allen so expect the Wyoming gunslinger to be the starter week 1 whereas the Dolphins will have the expensive hands of Ryan Tannehill back under centre. While Tannehill isn't close to being regarded as one of the "upper echelon" QB's on the league, I still expect him to outperform the rookie and give the Dophins an outside chance of a wildcard spot.

Final Standings:

New England Patriots: 13-3

Miami Dolphins 9-7

Buffalo Bills 7-9

New York Jets 6-10