2017 NFL Predictions: AFC East
As part of an ongoing 8-part series, the Steel City Underground team takes their stab at predicting the 2017 NFL season.
This edition focuses on the AFC East.
Here’s some commentary justifying everyone’s picks:
We still live in a world where it’s hard to imagine any team in the AFC East surpassing the Patriots. The gap is closing, however, as the Dolphins may have actually improved their quarterback situation with Jay Cutler taking over for the injured Ryan Tannehill. This team goes as far as Jay Ajayi allows them. A strong defense helps them make a postseason bid.
The Bills will still be in limbo because I don’t believe Tyrod Taylor can carry them to much more than 8-8. 6-7 wins are more realistic.
The Jets will be vying for that top pick in the 2018 Draft!
The Patriots get six easy wins out of this division every year, and I think they will only get easier this year.
I am not a Jay Cutler believer, and while I realize he can go hot and cold, I think that Miami is a train wreck waiting to happen.
I only put the Bills above the Dolphins because I expect them to beat the Dolphins and the Jets. I think the Bills may be 7-9 by years end, and yes that means I don’t see anyone but the Patriots having a winning record in this division.
The Jets may not win a game, although I expect they will win two or three, but there is no way you can project them as anything but dead last here.
I don’t see anyone challenging New England this season from their division. The Bills are going to have to dig deep and could dip, but the Jets and Dolphins are train wrecks waiting to happen.
Will the Dolphins play spoiler to some ‘better’ teams?
Sure, they seem to find a way every year – at least in recent seasons. Jay Cutler is one hit away from injury – always has been. He will spend the whole season trying to prove himself, and that isn’t helpful for any team (distracting).
The Jets almost need to be at the bottom to get a real shot in the 2018 draft to find some players that can rejuvenate their roster with something special.
Tom Brady is 40. He’s been handed the keys to the kingdom, so to speak, and finishing anywhere but first, in this division will happen only if he is injured or a majority of his playmakers ride the pine on the sidelines.
The Patriots have won 14 of the last 16 division titles since 2001. As long as Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are together, this is their division to lose.
I’m higher on the Miami Dolphins than most, but I don’t think they make the playoffs again. Jay Cutler has looked comfortable coming back to Adam Gase’s offensive scheme, but it’s only the preseason. You know Jay Ajayi is going to give you some tough yards, Devante Parker has looked very good in the preseason, Jarvis Landry‘s contract situation is a little awkward, and the addition of Lawrence Timmons (cries) only bolsters what was a strong front 7 last year. I’m aiming for 7-9 wins for them.
The Buffalo Bills look like they are trading out their entire roster to stockpile draft picks. Thus far, the Bills have traded away WR Sammy Watkins, CB Ronald Darby, QB Cardale Jones, LB Reggie Ragland, and their 2017 season.
However, it can’t get much worse than the New York Jets. You know your quarterback situation is ugly when you have to start a 38-year old journeyman in Josh McCown. Head Coach Todd Bowles couldn’t even provide assurance that McCown would start past Week 1. Bryce Petty‘s injury couldn’t have come at a worse time. The Jets will be competing for the first pick of the 2018 NFL Draft.
The Patriots should be able to sweep the division this year. The loss of Julian Edelman hurts, but shouldn’t affect them in the win column – especially when it comes to their division.
The Dolphins may be a pleasant surprise, though they are trying to get used to Jay Culter under the helm, why the Bills and Jets have completely obliterated their rosters as of late (likely in hopes of grabbing one of the best quarterbacks in next years’ draft class).
The Patriots own this division by a landslide, while the Jets have a good chance to be the worst team in the NFL this year.
The AFC East is always dominated by the New England Patriots and there is no reason to believe it won’t be again this season. Brady and Belichick aren’t slowing down and the rest of the division is relatively weak.
Behind the Pats, the Miami Dolphins appear to me as the next best team and will finish second. However, when you’re led by Jay Cutler, how good can you be? Finishing in third place will be the Bills, they aren’t good but they are better than the team finishing in last, the Jets.
The Jets are so bad that they are a good bet to be the #1 overall pick next year.
This division sees 40-year old Tom Brady steamrolling the others with Rob Gronkowski leading the charge. The loss of Julian Edelman will sting a bit but I’ve never known Bill Belichick to fold. He’ll have something up his sleeve.
I love Miami’s pick up of Jay Cutler. I think his comment “sure is hot here” and “you really don’t need to be cardio fit to play quarterback” speaks to his I-don’t-give-a-crap what you think about me… I’m getting $10 million and we will probably be in the Wild Card.
The Bills have been busy with trades and moves this offseason that makes me think they are not really sure who their team is right now. It’s clear that ownership does not have confidence in QB Tyrod Taylor but here’s to hoping he can make something out of what’s left.
And then there’s the Jets. I bet if Todd Bowles knew the reality of this team when he took the job he would have stayed as an OC in Arizona. The Jets are to their division what the Browns are in the AFC North. Just sad.