We are drawing closer to the start of the NFL season, as all 32 teams report to training camp this month. There will be so much to anticipate this year, including a new 17 game regular season. Rookies like Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson will be fun to watch. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will face an insane amount of pressure as they try to repeat as champions. Of course, we will all be watching for this year’s breakout star. As we count down the days to the opening kickoff, let’s preview the divisions. Today, we are looking at the AFC East.
Tom Brady left the New England Patriots last year and every other team in the AFC East took notice. For the first time in 11 years, a team not named the Patriots finished first in the division. The Pats truly felt the loss of Brady as they weren’t even close to making the playoffs much less winning the division. They finished with a losing record for the first time this century.
The Buffalo Bills emerged as the new powerhouse in the division and QB Josh Allen stepped up as an MVP candidate. The Bills were ultimately eliminated but not until they took on the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game.
The Dolphins started the season slow but made a massive push for the postseason before coming up just short. They had drama with Tua Tagovailoa and whether he is cut out to be the starting quarterback. In the end, he won out over Ryan Fitzpatrick and returns this year with a better wide receiver corps. Oh…and the Jets well…they were the Jets. But there is renewed hope this season with first round pick Wilson, the quarterback from Brigham Young.
Favorite to Win in 2021
The Buffalo Bills are the favorites to win yet again as Allen becomes more comfortable at the quarterback position and the Bills continue to dominate in the division. While their defense needs to step up from the mark they played last year, the Bills are clear favorites yet again.
The Pats added plenty of firepower in free agency and solidified their offense while drafting QB Mac Jones from Alabama. It’s unclear if Cam Newton will be the guy to get the job done in New England. The Dolphins are strong candidates to compete with Buffalo, but there are still many questions surrounding Tagovailoa. Their defense is legit, and that goes a long way. We will skip over the Jets here for obvious reasons.
Offensive Player to Watch: Stefon Diggs
Diggs was one of the most valuable players to his team in 2020 as he became Allen’s favorite target. He went for over 1,500 yards and reeled in eight touchdowns. Diggs showed that he is still a deep threat and the Bills utilized him extremely well.
Defensive Player to Watch: Xavien Howard
Howard emerged as one of the top defenders in the entire league in 2020 and put his name into the Defensive Player of the Year discussion. Howard led the league with 10 interceptions and added 51 combined tackles to go along with it. He lights up the secondary and is a star.
Prediction: Buffalo Bills (12-5)
There is no reason to believe the Bills won’t win the division for a second straight year. With defensive reinforcements coming during the offseason, Buffalo has a legit shot for another run to the AFC Championship game.