Buffalo Bills: (13-3) Offense (2nd) Defense (14th)
Key Losses: Trent Murphy, Josh Norman, John Brown, Quinton Jefferson, Tyler Kroft
Key Additions/Retentions: Matt Milano, Micah Hyde, Daryl Williams, Mitch Morse, Mario Addison, Emmanuel Sanders, Matt Haack,
Draft Picks: (30th Selection) 1st, 2nd, 3rd, Raiders 5th, 5th, 6th, Panthers 7th
The Buffalo Bills have trusted the process with GM Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott and it has paid massive dividends for the franchise as they won their first playoff game since 1995 last season. The Bills’ future looks bright under young star Josh Allen. Last year, the Bills brought in Stefon Diggs, a weapon for Allen turning them into an offensive juggernaut this past season. With a soaring offense, the Bills need to focus on the defensive side of the ball ahead of next season. With an average defense, bringing in a player that can consistently get to the quarterback could completely revamp the entire defense. Being able to get pressure late in games when your opponent is forced to pass is an underrated asset in the NFL. Finding and picking up the most dominant edge available, either in the draft or free agency, would elevate the Bills’ entire defense and push them closer to the ever-elusive Lombardi Trophy.
Summary: Want a ring? Sack the quarterback.
Miami Dolphins: (10-6) Offense (22nd) Defense (20th)
Key Losses: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Shaq Lawson, Kyle Van Noy, Davon Godchaux, Matt Haack, Matt Brieda, Ted Karras
Key Additions/Retentions: Will Fuller, Benardrick McKinney, Jacoby Brissett, Jason Sanders, Adam Butler, Matt Skura
Draft Picks: (18th Selection) Eagles 1st (6), 1st, Texans 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, Texans 7th, Chiefs 7th
The Dolphins barely missed the playoffs this past year and are looking for the quick road back. With plenty of early draft picks in this year’s draft, the Dolphins have a lot of things they can do. I expect them to take offensive weapon Kyle Pitts with their 6th overall pick, but after that, there are still massive holes on this team, most notably at running back. James Conner is still available in free agency and is in need of a system change just as bad as the Dolphins need a feature back. If Miami doesn’t decide on Conner or any other vets in the free-agent pool, they still need a new guy and this year’s draft has a few guys with star potential. With questions at the quarterback position, it’s important the Dolphins develop their offense before rushing to fix a defense that was able to hold their own last season after allowing the sixth-fewest points.
Summary: The defense is well coached, get the offense some stars.
New England Patriots: (7-9) Offense (27th) Defense (15th)
Biggest Losses: Joe Thuney, Marcus Cannon, Jason McCourty, Adam Butler
Biggest Additions/Retentions: Matt Judon, Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry, Nelson Agholor, Trent Brown, Davon Godchaux, Jalen Mills, Kyle Van Noy, Cam Newton, Kendrick Bourne, David Andrews
Draft Picks: (15th Selection) 1st, 2nd, Comp 3rd, 4th, Cardinals 4th, Comp 4th, Comp 5th, Texans 6th, Cowboys 6th, 7th
Bill Belichick was able to will the Patriots to a 7-9 record despite Tom being gone and a league high eight opt-outs. With some key vets coming back and the greatest coach of all time at the helm, the Patriots were already looking towards a better 2021 season, that was before they spent $159.6 million over nine days in free agency to completely bolster their team.
The Patriots improved at virtually every position in a way most franchises can only dream. Most people are quick to jump to quarterback as the Patriots’ biggest need however, I believe Cam Newton could be the answer for the Patriots at quarterback. He played decently with no weapons and no help. That being said, he’s also the Pats’ biggest question and that leaves drafting a quarterback in the picture. Their biggest need lies up front on the offensive line. Allowing Cam to sit and read a defense as a vet in the NFL will up his game tremendously. The Patriots have built up a core of weapons and their offense will be looking drastically different than what we saw in 2020. Bringing in another solid guy on that offensive line would give Cam and the Patriots’ offense time to execute on a lot more electric, down-the-field plays.
Summary: Give the geniuses time to run an offense.
New York Jets: (2-14) Offense (32nd) Defense (24th)
Biggest Losses: Brian Poole, Neville Hewitt, Breshad Perriman, Tarell Basham
Biggest Additions/Retentions: Carl Lawson, Corey Davis, Marcus Maye, Jarrad Davis, Sheldon Rankins, Dan Feeney, Tyler Kroft, Tevin Coleman, Lamarcus Joyner
Draft Picks: (2nd overall) 1st, Seahawks 1st (23), 2nd, 3rd, Seahawks 3rd, 4th, 5th, Giants 5th, 6th
The Jets are bad, but bringing in Robert Saleh from the 49ers to lead the team was their first good move. It may take some time, but the Jets are looking at a slow build in a tough AFC East. Saleh added some defensive studs on the line and a star in Corey Davis at wide receiver. Right now, we all know the Jets’ biggest need is quarterback and they are most likely drafting Zach Wilson with their second-overall pick. Hopefully that solves that issue for them, and hopefully, they find a good trade spot for Sam Darnold. But after that, what do the Jets need to get the wheels on this building franchise? With no real option at running back on the roster, it’s going to be hard to help their rookie QB with a run game. The Jets need to get their feature back either in free agency or the draft to help ease the rookies transition into the NFL.
Summary: Help your pass game with a run game.
The AFC East, as a division, is more contentious than ever. All four head coaches in the division are determined winners who will put the team before themselves. The Bills are rolling steadily and only getting better, the Dolphins are trying to find their full identity, the Patriots are rebounding from last season and the Jets are rebuilding with a bright future. The AFC East is one of the more interesting divisions in the NFL with recent turnover of team successes for nearly every team.