AFC East 2021-22 NFL Preview

In case you missed any of our NFC Previews:

NFC East Preview

NFC North Preview

NFC South Preview

NFC West Preview

What happened last season?

  1. Buffalo Bills 13-3
  2. Miami Dolphins 10-6
  3. New England Patriots 7-9
  4. New York Jets 2-14

For the first time since 2009, someone other than the Patriots won the AFC East. QB Josh Allen blossomed into a star and led Buffalo all the way to the AFC Championship with a 27-24 win over the Colts in the Wild Card Round followed by a 17-3 victory against the Ravens in the Divisional Round. Although they lost to Kansas City 38-24 in the AFC Championship, Buffalo is primed for another Super Bowl run. The rest of the division? Not so much.

Team Breakdowns with Division Odds

Odds taken from FanDuel Sportsbook on 8/26/21

Buffalo Bills (-150)

Which other teams have sat their QB like the Bills and Josh Allen?
Buffalo QB Josh Allen Credit: AP

Last season Buffalo averaged the 2nd most yards in the NFL and scored the 2nd most points. Couple that with a defense that gave up a modest 23.4 points a game and you have a 13-3 record. The Bills went all in on defense in the draft targeting DEs Greg Rousseau and Boogie Basham (great name) with their first two picks. Offensively, Buffalo added veteran WR Emmanuel Sanders to line up opposite superstar Stefon Diggs. RBs Devin Singletary and Zack Moss will split the carries and give Allen plenty of options to dominate offensively yet again. If the D takes a step forward, don’t be surprised to see Buffalo in the AFC Championship game again.

Miami Dolphins (+330)

Alabama in the NFL: Jaylen Waddle skills on full display
Miami WR Jaylen Waddle Credit: Getty Images

Miami just missed out on the postseason in 2020 following a somewhat surprising 10-6 regular season. They now add two first round picks in WR Jaylen Waddle and DE Jaelan Phillips. As a team last season, the Dolphins ranked on the lower to middle end of both offensive and defensive statistics. Nonetheless, they found a way to win. 2nd year QB Tua Tagovailoa’s development will be critical to Miami’s 2021 success. He has talent around him both in the backfield with RB Myles Gaskin and at WR in DeVante Parker, William Fuller V, and Waddle. TE Mike Gesicki has shown flashes and could be in for a breakout year. They won’t overtake Buffalo for the division, but if all the pieces come together they could push for a playoff spot yet again.

New England Patriots (+360)

Mac Jones' imitation of Cam Newton a showstopper during Patriots rookie  night
Patriots QBs Cam Newton (#1) & Mac Jones (#50) Credit: Boston Herald

Similar to the Jameis Winston/Taysom Hill QB battle in New Orleans, the competition for the QB1 spot in New England is equally fascinating because of the vastly different skillsets Cam Newton and Mac Jones possess. After averaging the 3rd fewest passing yards last season, it is difficult to imagine Jones not taking the helm at some point this season, even if it is not in Week 1. Especially, after New England went all-in offensively in free-agency signing TEs Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith along with WR Nelson Agholor. The 2020 Patriots defense gave up the 7th fewest points-per-game and kept New England from having a totally disastrous season. No one knows how many years left 6-time Super Bowl Champion HC Bill Belichick has left, and if he wants to catch up to Brady’s 7 rings he better hope the off-season additions pay off.

New York Jets (+1600)

Zach Wilson's uncle chartering plane to see nephew's Jets debut
Jets QB Zack Wilson Credit: USA TODAY

Rookie QB Zack Wilson may look like a Disney Channel star, but there is a reason New York took the BYU QB 2nd overall in this year’s draft. The dude can sling it. Unfortunately, his best offensive weapon is mediocre WR Corey Davis and the Jets will be counting on their other first round pick OL Alijah Vera-Tucker to give Wilson enough time to get rid of the ball. The Jets were bad on defense last year and pitiful on offense scoring a league worst 15.2 points-per-game. Wilson may be their savior in time, but the Jets (who haven’t had a winning record since 2015) are still in full-on rebuild mode.

2021-22 AFC East Projections

  1. Buffalo Bills 13-4
  2. New England Patriots 10-7
  3. Miami Dolphins 8-9
  4. New York Jets 3-14

AFC East Best Bets

Buffalo Bills to win the division (-150) – Go big on it, parlay it, whatever, just take it before it’s -500 halfway through the season. Give me some Bills to win it all action too at +1200.

Josh Allen to win MVP (+1300) – Why not? The Bills should be great as a team and if he puts up stats like last year this could very well be a MVP season for Allen.

New York Jets UNDER 6 wins (-105) – Are they 3 games better than last season? Even with the extra game, I say no.

New England Patriots to finish 2nd in the division (+200) – It will be between them and the Dolphins for this spot. My money is on Belichick to go all in for another shot in the playoffs and take 2nd place in the AFC East.

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