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Same As It Ever Was: 2018 AFC East Preview
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Same As It Ever Was: 2018 AFC East Preview

Alex Bab

Writer, Editor, Content Manager at The 3 Point Conversion
Alex Bab

Tell me if this sounds familiar: the New England Patriots have the easiest path through their own division to secure yet another playoff berth. Like death and taxes, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady will reliably roll into the 2018 season with little competition in the AFC East. The Buffalo Bills made the playoffs last year but have questions at quarterback with Tyrod Taylor now in Cleveland. The New York Jets are in full rebuild as they try to figure out which quarterback will be under center this year. The Miami Dolphins are getting their signal caller back but have lost key players like Jarvis Landry and Ndamukong Suh. Welcome to the 2018 AFC East. New England can basically start hanging that division title banner now.

 

 Buffalo Bills

Record in 2017: 9-7

Key Player: Defensive Tackle- Kyle Williams

Player to Watch: Middle Linebacker- Tremaine Edmunds

Last season gave the Bills’ Mafia reason to be optimistic for the future, as they made the playoffs for the first time since 1999. Hopefully they enjoyed it, because Buffalo is unlikely to be playing postseason football again this year. For reasons that are still murky, the Bills were never high on quarterback Tyrod Taylor. With him now gone, the Bills find themselves back in a potential quarterback controversy. They drafted Josh Allen with the seventh pick in the draft and also acquired A.J. McCarron from the Bengals. They’re now in a tough spot: if they start Allen too soon, they could derail his development. Conversely, if they start McCarron and the team struggles, the fans will clamor for Allen. The defense was poor last year but first round pick Tremaine Edmunds should help the front seven. Many other teams in the AFC have improved and at best Buffalo has kept the status quo. Not a good recipe for another playoff berth. Prediction: 8-8

 Miami Dolphins

Record in 2017: 6-10

Key Player: Strong Safety- Reshad Jones

Player to Watch: Tight End- Mike Gesicki

Many projections have the Dolphins as the worst team in the NFL this season. While that may be a stretch, it isn’t much of one. With last year’s mid-season trade of Jay Ajayi and Jarvis Landry’s departure to Cleveland, offensive weapons are few and far between. They need DeVante Parker to finally reach his potential and new addition Albert Wilson to make big plays. Rookie tight end Mike Gesicki could be a playmaker, especially in the red zone. Ryan Tannehill is back from injury. This is probably his last chance to prove he is still their franchise quarterback. With a likely high draft pick next year Miami may be looking for his replacement. The defense was mediocre in yards allowed last year but terrible in points per game allowed. Reshad Jones needs to have an All-Pro year to cover the back end of the defense. Prediction: 4-12

 

 New England Patriots

Record in 2017: 13-3

Key Player: Cornerback-Stephon Gilmore

Player to Watch: Running Back- Sony Michel

The division should be a cake walk for New England yet again, with the rest of the schedule presenting a bit more of a challenge. The defense was an enigma last year, ranking 29th in yards allowed per game but fifth in points per game. A bend but don’t break strategy is always risky but easier when you have Tom Brady commanding the offense. They’ll need Stephon Gilmore to be a top tier cornerback to prevent big plays and giving up scores. The offense has lost some weapons with the departures of Brandin Cooks, Danny Amendola and Dion Lewis. Brady will rely heavily on Chris Hogan, Julian Edelman and of course, Rob Gronkowski. Rookie Sony Michel was a great pick up. He has big play ability and may develop into a major weapon late in the season. Prediction: 12-4

 

 New York Jets

Record in 2017: 5-11

Key Player: Strong Safety- Jamal Adams

Player to Watch: Running Back- Isaiah Crowell

The Jets may have had the worst roster in terms of talent going into last season and still managed to win five games. Head coach Todd Bowles did a lot with a little and will have to do more of the same this year to have any success. Drafting Sam Darnold at number three overall was a steal but with little talent around him currently, it was a move for their future rather than this year. That being said, Darnold has looked good in the preseason and may actually win the job over Teddy Bridgewater (which may not be a good thing). If Darnold is the starter, he will need new addition Isaiah Crowell to run the ball effectively to ease the transition to the professional level. They struggled to score last year and that will likely be the case again. The defense didn’t fare much better but their young safety combination of Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye were promising. Adams had zero interceptions last year and that will need to change. This team will need some short fields to generate points. Prediction: 5-11

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