April 13, 2024

AFC East Predictions

5 min read

AFC East Predictions for 2022

by Tim Lazenby

 

 

As we continue our experiment trying to predict the finishes for each team in the NFL, we turn our sights to the AFC East.  Boasting one of the youngest quarterback groups in the entire league, you have to wonder how long it will take a couple of them to truly succeed.  But with all the growing pains, there is also much excitement brimming for these young gunslingers.  Here are my thoughts on the AFC East in 2022.

 

Buffalo Bills

Record in 2021: 11-6-0  

Predicted Record in 2022: 13-4-0

 

Strengths and Weaknesses

Boasting who many consider the best quarterback in the game today, Josh Allen sure has a slew of weapons at his disposal.  Not only that, but the defense is arguably the best in the league.  And with the recent addition of Von Miller, we can only imagine what that defense is capable of.  The biggest worry for many is the backfield situation.  Devin Singletary was fantastic to close the season, but he hasn’t shown the consistency that instills trust.  Adding James Cook to the mix muddles the situation to be sure.

 

Situation to watch

If you didn’t watch the insane playoff showdown between Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes last year, please go and view it.  Some are calling it the most exciting playoff game ever.  I am super curious to see how Josh Allen rebounds from losing to the Chiefs in back to back seasons.  Will they be able to take that next step past seventeen games or will they be plagued with another early exit?  Of all the situations to watch in this series of articles, this one will take the longest to unfold.

 

Conclusion

The Buffalo Bills are rock solid from top to bottom.  The list of holes on this squad is extremely minimal, and with Josh Allen leading the way, there’s always a dog in the fight.  There is only one team in the league that I have predicted to have a better record than the Bills in this upcoming season.  It’s almost a certainty that they take the division yet again and be a front runner for Super Bowl contention.


 

New England Patriots

Record in 2021: 10-7-0  

Predicted Record in 2022: 8-9-0

 

Strengths and Weaknesses

The strength of the Patriots is the same as it’s always been.  Even though Tom Brady is arguably the best to play the game, the Patriots were and still are the epitome of a team.  Bill Belichick continues to show that if you want to play for his team, you’d better fall in line.  That being said, Stephon Gilmore leaving didn’t help last season and JC Jackson departing this offseason hurts their playoff chances even more.

 

Situation to watch

Although most people are watching for Mac Jones’s continued growth, I’m extremely curious as to what the future holds now that Josh McDaniels is gone.  His 18 year career with the Patriots leaves a sizable hole.  Both Matt Patricia and Joe Judge return to the organization with new jobs; tag teaming the void left by McDaniels at offensive coordinator.  You have to wonder what that change will bring about.

 

Conclusion

There’s something both comforting and maddening when it comes to the New England Patriots.  Bill Belichick is just on another level, so you can’t question how he runs the ship; but I’d be remiss if I wasn’t worried.  Not only have the Patriots regressed, both the Dolphins and Jets have improved substantially.  And the Bills are, of course, the Bills.  It’s going to be an uphill battle to make the playoffs in 2022.


 

New York Jets

Record in 2021: 4-13-0  

Predicted Record in 2022: 9-8-0

 

Strengths and Weaknesses

In case you missed my recent article on the Jets, they’re one of the most improved teams in the league.  In this year’s draft, they addressed many issues.  Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall will inject thunder and lightning into this offense moving forward.  It’s a catch 22, however, as last season they were already the third youngest team in the league.  It’s going to take time to get this train to full speed.

 

Situation to watch

Elijah Moore was one of the most exciting players to watch last season.  On one of the league’s worst offenses, featuring an inexperienced and ineffective quarterback, he still shone brightly.  Battling injuries off and on, he finally succumbed to a season ending injury.  I want to know how he not only rebounds, but fits in with Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall coming to town.  Will he take a back seat or take the spotlight?

 

Conclusion

Like I said in my article, I may be the most bullish non Jets fan in the community in how I see the Gang Green for 2022.  While I don’t see them winning the division or even close to it, I can see them battling hard and making lives difficult for other teams in a way we haven’t seen in over a decade.  While a wild card will still be a journey to get to, the basement dwelling is no more.  A new era is beginning, I’m sure of it.


 

Miami Dolphins

Record in 2021: 9-8-0  

Predicted Record in 2022: 10-7-0

 

Strengths and Weaknesses

You have to have some grey in the beard to remember the last time the Dolphins had an elite tandem at wide receiver.  With the addition of Tyreek Hill, we’re going to see things through the air that we haven’t seen since Dan Marino was throwing to the “Marks Brothers”.  Obviously, the biggest question mark is the ground game.  Miami hasn’t had a consistent starter in almost around a decade and it’s more convoluted now than ever.

 

Situation to watch

Tua Tagovailoa is the situation that nearly everyone following this team is watching closely.  It’s not his fault that the Dolphins chose him instead of Justin Herbert, but ownership, management and fans alike blame him nonetheless.  They are slow to shy away from the success Herbert is having elsewhere and the rocky path Tua has given them.  The time must be now for any faith to remain in Tua leading this squad.

 

Conclusion

I can’t be alone in my optimism for the Miami Dolphins moving forward.  Last season, the Dolphins were inches away from the wild card as they sported a seven game winning streak right after suffering a seven game losing streak just before.  With Connor Williams, Terron Armstead and Tyreek Hill being brought in for support, there are no more excuses.  And I, for one, have the Dolphins as a pretty good bet to be one of the teams to represent the AFC come January.

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