2016 AFC East Preview

Philip Tor | Pats Militia

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Thats pretty much all you need to know about the AFC East over the past 15 years. All jokes aside, the Patriots have dominated the division and the teams in it. Just look at Tom Brady’s record/stats vs teams in the AFC East,

Brady vs Buffalo: (25-3) 7001 yards (250 YPG) 62 TD 20 INT
Brady vs New York: (21-7) 6614 yards (236 YPG) 39 TD 13 INT
Brady vs Miami: (19-9) 6332 yards (226 YPG) 49 TD 21 INT
(via profootballreference.com)

Those are just crazy numbers. This year however, some analysts believe the other 3 teams in the AFC East will rise up and challenge the Pats for the divisional title. Sportsline.com has the prediction set at 10.6 wins for the Patriots and a 69.2% chance 0f a division title. Meanwhile the Jets and Bills come in at a 16.7% chance to win the division and the Dolphins round out the odds at a 9.1% chance to come out on top.

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The Jets have been listed as the the biggest threat because of the emergence of their defense over the past several years. The Jets defense includes names like Darrelle Revis, David Harris, Muhammad Wilkerson, and Leonard Williams and together their defense is one of the most solid “top to bottom” units in the NFL. The big question mark for the Jets is their offense. Can the offense score enough points to win games? If  Ryan Fitzpatrick ca replicate the season he had in 2015, I think they can. Just look at the weapons he has at his disposal, not to mention a veteran offensive line. Fitzpatrick has Brandon Marshall on the outside, Eric Decker slashing through the middle, and don’t forget the jets now have Matt Forte coming out of the backfield. Although throughout the course of the past 15 years the Jets have found a way to royally screw themselves, those teams were not as solid as this one can be.

2016 Prediction: 9-7; 2nd in AFC East
Team MVP: WR Brandon Marshall
Breakout Player: DE Leonard Williams

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The Buffalo Bills are the most intriguing team in the division in my opinion. The Bills are a team right on the brink of the playoffs, a team that has developed and adopted a great system under Rex Ryan and his brother Rob. Tyrod Taylor has been shaky at QB but that was also in a injury ridden offense that found no sort of consistency last year. If Sammy Watkins can stay healthy for a whole season he can breakout as one of the best WR’s in the league. LeSean McCoy should have a more productive year in the dual style offense of Rex Ryan and Tyrod Taylor. The defense took a huge hit this preseason losing DT Marcell Dareus perhaps their best defensive player, for the first 4 games of the season due to a failed drug test and a violation of the NFL substance-abuse policy. Realistically I think the Bills will do what they usually do  which means they will come out and play just ridiculously average football. Their defense may have some talent but they are a young group and I wouldn’t trust them in close games. In my mind I don’t see how they can come out on top in the AFC East

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2016 Prediction: 7-9; 3rd in AFC East
Team MVP: WR Sammy Watkins
Breakout Player: QB Tyrod Taylor / CB Ronald Darby

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Last and MOST certainly least, the Miami Dolphins. I really just dont understand how the Dolphins are not a playoff team. They have the resources and the players, just not the drive. On defense their front 4 in their 4-3 defense couldn’t be more solid. Cameron Wake and Mario Williams coming off the edge with Ndamukong Suh providing push up the middle with a decent supporting cast of Linebackers. Williams was signed this offseason by Miami after a mediocre 2015 campaign in which he only recorded 19 tackles and 5 sacks. Paired with Cameron Wake, who had 7 sacks off the edge last season, and Ndamukong Suh (6 sacks 61 tackles) the front 4 is a force to be reckoned with, and is sure to be the cause of nightmares for offensive line coaches and coordinators. Miami also made another blockbuster move when they traded the 8th pick in the 2015 draft for CB Byron Maxwell and LB Kiko Alonso. These two players were highly scrutinized for their pedestrian play in 2015. It will be interesting to see if rookie head coach Adam Gase can get something extra out of these guys.

On offense the Dolphins are loaded with young studs waiting to breakout into the NFL. WR DeVante Parker, WR Jarvis Landry, RB Jay Ajayi, and WR Kenny Stills are all ready to have breakout seasons for the Dolphins, RB Arian Foster is looking to resurrect his once promising career, for the Dolphins… BUT … bad news Dolphins fans, Ryan Tannehill is still your QB. Tannehill is alright I guess, he has shown some signs of improvement, but he just cant win the big game or consistently beat good teams. For now he’s the guy in Miami, but this season could be the make it or break it year for the young QB. The Dolphins have potential to be a playoff team… if they figure their stuff out. For now they are still at the bottom of the AFC East ladder.

2016 Prediction: 6-10
Team MVP: DT Ndamukung Suh
Breakout Player: RB Jay Ajayi

Writing this blog made me so happy that I am a fan of the best team in the AFC East, the AFC in general, and the whole damn National Football League. The journey for #5 is almost here, so… get hyped! One for the Thumb!! Go Pats!

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