AFC East Odds
NFL analyst Dave Schwab gives an overview of what the AFC East teams added and lost in the offseason along with his opinion on who the teams to beat will be. A recap of last season and some wagering advice will also be included.
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The New England Patriots have set the gold standard for consistency in the NFL going all the way back to 2001 and given the current state of this team, the rest of the AFC East is still trying to close the gap. Here is a closer look at all four team’s futures odds to win a division title this season based on the updated numbers at BetOnline.
The Patriots have won the AFC East the past seven seasons with no fewer than 10 wins so the fact that they are prohibitive favorites to make it eight in a row is no big surprise. The only thing hanging over this team heading into the 2016 regular season is quarterback Tom Brady’s four game suspension by the NFL to start the year. This could shave a win or two off New England’s regular season record and open the door to the UNDER play at +100 on a projected win total of 10.5 games. It will still be a very tall task for any of the other teams in this division jumping up to match or pass the Patriots in total wins this year.
Anytime head coach Bill Belichick has a great deal of time to adjust his game plan due to player personnel issues, he is going to find a way to minimize the impact of the loss of any player even if it is his future “Hall of Fame” quarterback. The Patriots added players like Chris Long and Terrance Knighton to the defensive side of the ball through free agency, which will also help to fill the void on offense to start the season.
The Bills have the distinction of being the best of the rest in this division race according to their odds, but their projected win total at BetOnline this season is set at eight with the current moneyline favoring the OVER at -120. While it is possible that Buffalo could win a few more games than expected to catch the Patriots in the standings, I am not all that sure that I would bet on it. Rex Ryan remains at the helm as head coach after guiding his team to an even 8-8 record last season. You would have to go all the way back to 2004 to find the last time Buffalo actually posted a winning season.
The addition of LeSean McCoy in 2015 helped bolster a running game that ended last season ranked first in the NFL with an average of 152 yards a game, but the Bills’ defense was ranked 15th in the league in points allowed and 19th in yards allowed. Ryan added defensive end Shaq Lawson in the first round of the draft, but this unit took a hit when free agent defensive tackle Stefan Charles signed with Detroit.
The Jets made a solid run at New England last season under first-year head coach Todd Bowles with a record of 10-6, but in the end they came up short to miss the playoffs. The big concern heading into the 2016 season is the playing status of veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. He was a big reason for New York’s offense ending last season ranked 10th in the NFL in total yards and 11th in scoring, but he has yet to come to terms with the team on a new contract. The Jets were able to come to terms with defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson on a new deal to avoid a gaping hole on that side of the ball.
If you are looking for a team other than New England to win this division, New York probably has the best value in its current odds. Unfortunately, we will not know until the season gets underway whether or not the Jets are actually capable of winning a few more games than its projected eight-win total.
Miami has been on the cusp of turning things around for the past few seasons with bright, young talent such as Ryan Tannehill at quarterback and Jarvis Landry at wide receiver. One immediate concern is the loss of free agent running back Lamar Miller, who jumped ship for Houston. The Dolphins also parted ways with defensive end Oliver Vernon on the other side of the ball. One new addition that should fill a pressing need on the offensive line is first round draft pick Laremy Tunsil.
Miami was ranked 23rd in the league in rushing yards per game and 26th in total yards so rebuilding the front five has to be a priority for new head coach Adam Gase. While he does inherit a number of quality pieces that are needed to a put together a winning team, this season is shaping up to be another six or seven-win campaign for the Dolphins.
Brady’s four-game suspension does raise some level of concern, but this could actually work to motivate New England even more this season. Betting against the Patriots to win this division would have resulted in seven-straight losing tickets so there is no reason to start betting against them now.