The team’s salary cap in 2021 will be lower than expected, so GM Brandon Beane was forced to get clever this offseason as he used free agency and this years draft to fill in the roster spots he was currently lacking.
Knowing this Bills drafted DE Gregory Rousseau, DE Carlos Basham Jr. so the team should be hopeful to get their QB for the future back onto the field. Continuing his path to stardom, QB Josh Allen led Buffalo to a 7–3 record before the Bills closed the regular season with six straight wins. The addition of stud receiver Stefon Diggs helped Buffalo finish second in scoring as they averaged 31.3 points per game. That was just a shade behind the 31.8 points per game posted by Green Bay Packers.
Following a slow start, the Bills’ defense surged late in the season as they allowed 18.3 ppg over the final six contests. In the playoffs, Buffalo defeated Indianapolis (27–24), and Baltimore (17-3), prior to losing 38–24 to Kansas City in the AFC Conference championship game. Buffalo Bills could take it a step further while having Kansas Chiefs as your conference rival it will be difficult to go to the Super Bowl.
After posting a combined 18–30 record during the previous three seasons, Miami improved given that the 10-6 Dolphins almost made the playoffs last season, they seem to be just a few rosters moves away from getting themselves to that next level, but that is assuming they are happy with Tua Tagovailoa as their franchise quarterback.
In his rookie season, Tagovailoa went 6-3 under center, completing 64.1 percent of his passes for just over 1,800 yards and 11 touchdowns with 5 interceptions, numbers that could see improvement as he continues to learn Miami’s offense and adjust to the NFL level.
Miami Dolphins added Jaylen Waddle with the 5th overall pick which should see the WR group improve when you count the fact that they also added Will Fuller who only have a single game before his suspension runs out.
New England Patriots
The reigning AFC East champions over 11 straight seasons, New England hit a wall last year. The Patriots finished with a 7–9 mark and recorded their first losing record since 2000.
The 2020 NFL season confirmed that QB Tom Brady was the key cog in the Pats’ championship engine. NE Patriots scored just 326 total points on offense. It’s the first time the Patriots scored less than 410 points since the 2008 season. Hailed as a preseason-saver, QB Cam Newton lacked a supporting cast and ranked 24th overall with just 2,657 total passing yards and in return, Patriots failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2008, the type of failure do not sit well with GM and HC Bill Belichick.
But there are plenty of holes to fill in New England’s roster, including in a defense that is historically excellent, so look for the Patriots to use the upcoming draft to snag some young and affordable defensive talent to begin rebuilding the team on that side of the ball. Patriots also had the most players sitting out because of Covid-19 with 8 players so having permanent starters back on defense including LB Dont´a Hightower should help massively.
Bill Belichick wants to play a two dominant TE system again so this offseason they added TE Hunter Henry and TE Jonnu Smith. But as of right now both TE are injured. So their off-season isn’t going as they hoped. To help their QB they added WR Nelson Agholor and WR Kendrick Bourne. The Patriots should hope for just around a 10 win season.
New York Jets
The Jets’ front office was able to land the highly coveted Robert Saleh as their new head coach, the former defensive guru, and coordinator for the 49ers who was destined to lead his own NFL team at some point.
Saleh has inherited a mess in New York, his Jets roster as holey as Swiss cheese on both sides of the ball. AFC East cellar-dwellers, for the fifth time over seven seasons, New York Jets finished with a 2–14 record last year. From QB Sam Darnold not improving, to the offense posting an NFL low 15.2 points per game, and the defense giving up 28.6 ppg, it was a long season.
Hope springs eternal for Gang Green fans as NY Jets selected QB Zach Wilson with the second overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. The hope is that he doesn’t turn out to be yet another long-term disappointment after years of Chad Pennington, Mark Sanchez, Sam Darnold, and many others.
This season is all about keeping Wilson healthy and continue to improve as he adjusts to the pace of the National Football League. Wilson should see a good amount of production from his running backs. This will help him regarding the pass rush. The trio of free-agent signing Corey Davis, Denzel Mims, Elijah Moore having Jamison Crowder from last season who showed signs of excellence with Sam Darnold as QB.
Why Buffalo Bills will win the AFC East this season
Always the case, AFC East teams will play each other twice during the regular season. Buffalo dominated the division last season (6-0) and the teams around them all made some significant personal moves during the offseason. While it’s a “chalky” selection, it’s difficult to see anyone surpassing a stacked Buffalo squad. I’ll be backing the Bills to repeat as AFC East champs as QB Mac Jones (NE) enters his rookie season.