The NFL season is less than ten days away! Next up, we’ve got our full rankings and predictions for the AFC East.
AFC preseason power rankings: AFC North
With three straight AFC East titles behind them, the Bills are still looking to get over the hump and past the AFC Championship. They’re bringing back a similar team again this season, but the window may be starting to close in Buffalo. Josh Allen is terrific when he’s on his game, but we’ve seen him struggle at times in big moments as well. Last year, he faltered in the divisional round against the Bengals, and the Bills lost 27-10. With the AFC only getting stronger and so many great teams going for the same goal, Buffalo may only have a year or two left before star players like Stefon Diggs start to think about moving on.
Obviously, the Bills are a title contender again this season, but the pressure to win in the playoffs is officially on. However, as long as Allen is on the roster, it’s hard to imagine this team winning less than ten games in a season.
New York Jets
The Jets are the most improved team in the NFL on paper and should seriously contend in the AFC East this year. Last season, their defence was terrific. Led by rookie corner Sauce Gardner, the Jets’ unit ranked 4th in points and yards against. Unfortunately, their offence was on the other end of the standings. Now, the team has added a future Hall of Famer at QB, a very capable veteran running back, and a few depth pieces in the passing game. It’s very hard to imagine the Rodgers-Wilson connection not giving teams headaches all year, but even if they’re not on, the running back tandem of Dalvin Cook and Breece Hall could be one of the best in the league once Hall is healthy.
The team does have some concerns at offensive line, but if Robert Saleh and the coaching staff can get that right, watch out for New York.
There are a few teams very good teams in the AFC that probably still aren’t good enough to contend for a Super Bowl, and the Dolphins are one of them. Not only does this team have to see their AFC East rivals twice a year, they’ll also be meeting with the Chiefs, Eagles, Cowboys and Chargers this season. Now, the Dolphins are very capable of competing with these teams, but it’s not an easy schedule. There’s also the question of Tua Tagovailoa’s health. If their franchise QB can’t avoid concussions, his career could be over in the very near future.
The Dolphins do have talent all over the field and arguably have the best WR duo in the league, but will that be enough to rise above the rest of the competition in the AFC? If their defence was top tier, I’d say quite possibly. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Expect an exciting regular season full of high-scoring games followed by one or two close playoff contests this season for the ‘Phins.
New England Patriots
The Patriots are simply not what they used to be, and it became glaringly clear last season. For the first time in more than twenty years, they’ve missed the playoffs twice in four seasons, and although Bill Belichick’s defence has remained solid, the offence has looked downright terrible at times during the post-Brady era. Mac Jones is a serviceable game manager, but he may not have the talent to lead this team anywhere, especially in the AFC East. Rhamondre Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliot are a good backfield tandem, but unless the pass game can improve drastically this season, the Pats will be once again watching playoff football from the couch.
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