In the last installment of the 2023 Win-Loss Projections: AFC North, you got an in-depth look at where each of those teams would finish the season and why, along with some key games on their respective schedules. Today we’re going to continue our stroll around the AFC and estimate where the “Beasts from the East” will finish. The biggest storyline in the AFC East (if not the entire NFL) this offseason is the arrival of Aaron Rodgers as the new Quarterback of the New York Jets. Let’s find out where they land.
New York Jets: 12-5
Is there another NFL Head Coach happier than Robert Saleh? Maybe Andy Reid? The last time the Jets won the division was 2002, so it’s about time they do it again. Four-time MVP, Aaron Rogers joins the 2022 Offensive Rookie of the Year, Wide Receiver, Garrett Wilson, and the 2022 Defensive Rookie of the Year, Corner Back, Sauce Gardner in New York for what should be a high-flying show. As long as Rogers doesn’t “pull a Favre” of course. Notable Wins: At Mile High in Denver in Week 5, and at home against the LA Chargers in Week 9! Notable Losses: At Dallas in Week 2, and at Las Vegas in Week 10!
Buffalo Bills: 10-7
The “Madden Curse” won’t keep the Bills out of the playoffs, but it will set them back three wins from 2022. There seems to be some frustration with Stefon Diggs at the end of last season as well, which could show up during some point this year if the Bill struggle. They will start hot, winning five of six, but then cool with the temps at the end of the year. Notable Wins: Week 2 Home Opener vs Las Vegas and Week 15 against Dallas. Notable Losses: Buffalo still can’t beat Super Bowl teams with losses “back-to-back” (with their Bye Week in between) at Philly in Week 12 and at KC in Week 14.
Miami Dolphins: 10-7
Fun Fact: The Dolphins scored 397 points and gave up 399 points last season to finish 9-8. That was the closest point differential in the AFC. They got only slightly better on the defensive side of the ball in the offseason by adding Jalen Ramsey, but there are still a lot of questions regarding Tua’s health and their lack of a running game. It’s going to be a rough start for the Dolphins on the road, losing three of their first four games. Notable Losses: Opening Week at the LA Chargers, and at Philly in Week 7. Notable Wins: Miami wins five of their last six games to make a plyoff push, including Tennessee at home in Week 14 and Dallas at home during Week 16.
New England Patriots: 8-9
All that cap space in the offseason, and all the draft picks that they had, and the Pats really didn’t do much. They could still sign DeAndre Hopkins, but it’s not looking too good right now. They picked up Ju-Ju Smith Schuster from KC, and beefed up the defense with the first three rounds of the draft, but nothing exciting; same record as last year. Notable Losses: They get “lassoed up” in Dallas durng Week 4, and they’ll be losing big in Las Vegas Week 6. Notable Wins: The “Big Easy” (New Orleans) will be just that easy in Week 5, and then at Foxborough vs. Colts in Week 10.
This is only the second of an “eight part blog” that will cover each of the NFL divisions. Please continue to come back and check, as I will be covering the AFC West next and telling you if the Chiefs will win yet another Division Championship, or if the Chargers march right over them. When I’m finished covering the AFC by division, I’ll let you know how what the playoff picture will look like, and who has the best chance of making it to the Super Bowl. Thanks for the “read”!