The New England Patriots’ long reign as the Kings of the AFC East looks to have come to a close, as the exit of Tom Brady completing two full years had left the division wide open for a time. The Cam Newton experiment went sideways in Massachusetts, and the Dolphins’ “Tua Experiment” began and is still in the lab being hashed out. Meanwhile, the Buffalo Bills took the situation into their own hands and have catapulted into the favorites to win the Super Bowl and dominate the AFC East with gunslinger Josh Allen at the helm. No, I have not forgotten the Jets, but what is there to say?
Even if we can all agree that Buffalo should be far and away the favorites to make it out of the AFC East, there are still a few plays I have found that I think could be very interesting as the season begins in a few weeks. This division is not as exciting to me as some of the others, but the Dolphins and Patriots bring a lot of potential as boom or bust candidates this season, with the Jets being the easiest fade in the world once again. Let’s jump right in with the Buffalo Bills:
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– Win Total: 12
– To Win the Division: -225
– To Make the Playoffs: -600
The Buffalo Bills have been sitting as the favorite to win the Super Bowl for a few months now. Expectations are high after how dominant they have continued to look as Josh Allen has progressed his career and as the roster has added more and more tools thanks to Brandon Beane. Due to the lofty expectations, Buffalo has some crazy lines that make them difficult to find an edge on. The Bills win total is set 1.5 to 2 wins higher than every other team in the AFC, and they are basically a shoo-in to dominate the division.
There are some interesting season props for their players that are worth looking at. One of my favorites is Josh Allen’s total passing yards for the 2022 regular season. The line is set at 4350.5 passing yards which on paper is an insane number. With how today’s NFL continues to shake out, this mark in passing yards was good for Top 6 in 2020 and Top 8 in 2021. Josh Allen was a part of both of those top passing yard QB groups over the last two seasons, passing for 4544 yards and 4407 yards respectively.
With Allen previously exceeding this passing total mark the past two seasons, and the Buffalo Bills offense returning 9 of their starters, there is no reason to indicate that he won’t have the chance to get his passing yard total up toward the top of the NFL’s best again this season. The Bills lost Cole Beasley at slot receiver but were able to replace him with Jamison Crowder, and will once again look to Gabriel Davis and Isaiah McKenzie as their deep threats. We know how the greatness that Stefon Diggs adds to this corps as well, and when you throw in Duke Johnson and second-round pick James Cook at runningback you are looking at a deep roster of offensive options.
I cannot find a great angle for the Bills as a whole when it comes to futures because they are so heavily favored to do big things this season, so we will look to the man that has brought them this success to continue his reign in 2022. In the wise words of Russell Wilson: “Josh Allen, let’s ride!”
The Play: Josh Allen o4350.5 Passing Yards -110 – 1.5 Units
New York Jets
– Win Total: 6
– To Make the Playoffs: +650
– Division Wins: 2
The New York Jets have been in the headlines this summer due to their improvements made in the draft and their 23-year-old quarterback bangin’ moms left and right. I’m going to cut to the chase here and say that just because these guys are posting pictures in Idaho working out together this summer does not mean they are going to be good. The Jets have not had 6 or more wins in the last six seasons besides 2019, and I don’t see that changing this year by a dramatic margin.
Going line by line on the Jets schedule, I circled the Bears in Week 12 and the Seahawks in Week 17 as likely wins for the Jets. The Steelers in Week 4 and the Lions in Week 15 you can also make a case for potential wins, but I trust Pittsburgh at home and think Detroit builds on their strong ending to last season. That’s it. There is no way in hell that the Jets can hit 7 wins this season. Can anyone find another win in New York’s schedule? The wealth of young talent on the roster and Robert Saleh with a year under his belt is exciting, but it is still nowhere near up to par with the rest of the division nor the rest of the AFC.
Speaking of young talent on a garbage team, I am really interested in the Jets newest running back Breece Hall. Hall was absolutely dominant at Iowa State, scoring 20 or more touchdowns in his sophomore and junior campaigns. Michael Carter had 147 attempts for the Jets last season, with 4 touchdowns to show for it. Tevin Coleman and Ty Johnson had 84 and 61 attempts respectively, and both of them will be missing out big time on the share of 380 rushing attempts the Jets ran last season on offense, at 51% of their offensive plays being called.
Breece Hall is projecting to be the Jets starter, and many fantasy football outlets are calling for a breakout rookie campaign for the 21-year-old. Hall should get a larger clip of attempts than Carter did last season, on top of taking some of Tevin Coleman and Ty Johnson’s red zone touches last season where they had 19 and 15 respectively. I think there is solid value on Hall to go over 5.5 touchdowns this season for the Jets, especially if Zach Wilson continues to show growing pains like last season and needs relief via the run game.
The Plays: Jets UNDER 6 Wins +105 – 1 Unit / Breece Hall OVER 5.5 Rushing Touchdowns -115 – 1 Unit
– Win Total: 9
– To Make the Playoffs: +135
– Division Wins: 3
Tua Tagovailoa is 24 years old and the media is ready to say this is his make-or-break season after two years in the league, and barely one and a half as the starting QB. When you say it out loud, you realize how ridiculous the media and community on Twitter have become, as Tagovailoa is just getting his career started and figuring things out. A wrench has been thrown into the plans with how crazy the Dolphins organization is right now with the controversy surrounding their owner Stephen Ross, and the active lawsuit against the team from former head coach Brian Flores.
These distractions will not stop Tua and the new head coach Mike McDaniel from attempting to surpass the lofty expectations set in Miami. Mike McDaniel brought over Raheem Mostert with him to help with his outside zone rushing scheme, and also added Chase Edmonds and Sony Michel to create an insane group of running backs for his committee. Add in the fastest WR in the NFL in Tyreek Hill, along with Cedrick Wilson from Dallas, and you’ve got a wealth of offensive weapons for Tua to work with heading into his third season. Finally, Miami’s defense remains unchanged and had an incredible run in the second half of the season that they are looking to show was a real thing and not some kind of fluke.
With all of that being said, I am decently high on the Dolphins but it is difficult to justify putting any futures down on them. What if Tua does continue to show inconsistency? What if the McDaniels hype goes sideways this season? Will the outside noise be too much of a distraction for this team? The win total being set at 9 is a good line, and I have reservations about the making the playoffs line only being at +135. I value the Dolphins and will be looking to bet on them on a game-to-game basis potentially, but I cannot find any futures I like with how things are looking today, and how difficult it will be this season to make the playoffs in the AFC.
New England Patriots
– Win Total: 8.5
– To Make the Playoffs: +150
– Division Wins: 3
Last week I made it apparent how I felt about the Colts, and I hope I put my bias to the side enough to show you all how much I like their win total to go over 10. This week, I am hoping I can put this same bias to the side and not talk too much smack on the New England Patriots, as I just don’t understand how anyone can see this team making any noise this season.
If you have a Patriots fan in your life, or multiple as their bandwagon became so massive over the past two decades, you have probably heard about how great Mac Jones looks in training camp. Or maybe you haven’t heard about it as the fair weather fans jumped ship to Tampa. Either way, there seems to be a level of expectation with Mac that he will take the next step this season along with the Patriots. I personally do not see it.
Losing Josh McDaniels as Mac’s play-caller this season is going to be a bigger loss than people are giving it credit for. The sophomore quarterback is going to have to adjust with new decisions to make, and multiple voices giving him plays as it is rumored that Bill Belichick, Nick Caley, and Joe Judge will all share play-calling duties. Having Hunter Henry back after a massive 9-touchdown season is going to be great, along with adding Devante Parker at receiver. But who else does Mac have to help him on offense?
The defense will look fairly similar, which is fine if you are looking at how the Patriots performed defensively before the bye week. After that, their lack of speed was exposed and this will be something teams look to exploit heading into 2022. I don’t think the Patriots make the playoffs, but like the Dolphins you can make an argument on their season going either way. If Mac does take the next step, Belichick works his magic, and the defense returns to form, then I will look like a fool as I have for a long time thinking “This will be the year New England crashes and burns!” However, it could be another mediocre campaign ahead as I don’t think there have been enough adjustments compared to the Bills and Dolphins, nor the rest of the AFC for New England to stand out from the crowd.
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THIS IS AN ARTICLE WRITTEN BY ANDY CHASE
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