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With Tom Brady in Tampa, who has the best chance to win the AFC East?

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Now that Tom Brady is Tampa bound, the AFC East is a wild card of a division for the first time since 2001. Normally, this time of year, Brady and the Patriots would be looked at as the clear favorites to win the AFC East. The Dolphins, Bills, and Jets are normally looked at as laughingstocks with a snowball’s chance in hell to win the division. Well, this year will be totally different! The Bills have made moves, the Dolphins have made major signings, the Patriots have lost Tom Brady, and the Jets are, well, the Jets.

With Brady gone, will Bill Belichick be able put the pieces together like he did in 2008 to survive his first season without Brady on the roster since 2001? The Patriots signed Devin McCourty to what is essentially a contract to keep him a Patriot for the rest of his career. His brother Jason is under contract until the end of the season. Sony Michel will continue to be a cog in the Patriot offense along with James White. However, the biggest question that still needs to be answered is who will be under center for the team from Foxborough? The rumors around New England have linked the Patriots to Jameis Winston as a possible signee, but nothing has been reported by the Patriots or the NFL. Without Brady, it is likely that the Patriots offense will take a hit no matter who is under center, and if I have to give an opinion, I think they will go 8-8 overall.

The Bills have been looked at as a team on the rise, especially in the 2019 season finishing with a record of 10 – 6 and being a Wild Card team losing the Wild Card game to the Texans 22 – 19 in overtime. The Bills still have Josh Allen under center going into the 2020 season and traded for a major receiving weapon for him to throw to when they acquired Stefon Diggs. Diggs was a major asset for the Minnesota Vikings during his time there. Diggs is a great receiver who will finally be used as a number one pass catcher in this system. The Bills defense was ranked 3rd in total defense last season. The Bills look to be as good of a team as they were last year, if not better. I could very easily see them going 12-4.

The Miami Dolphins were looked at last season as a team in the beginning of a rebuild planning to tank for Tua Tagovailoa. The Dolphins very well have a chance to still draft Tagovailoa with the 5th pick in the draft after finishing last season with a record of 5-11. Brian Flores showed last year that he has a very good chance to lead the Dolphins to become a winning organization yet again. As the free agency legal tampering period started the Dolphins wasted no time in making moves by signing Byron Jones, Kyle Van Noy, Shaq Lawson, Ereck Flowers, Clayton Fejedelem in the first day. On the second day the Dolphins continued the hits signing Jordon Howard, Emmanuel Ogbah, Kamu Grugier, and signed center Ted Karras when the league year started on March 18, 2020 at 4 PM. These moves show how the Dolphins are not afraid to make moves to make this team better and that the Chris Grier led front office plan to make the Dolphins a winning organization again. With the editions and the likelihood that the Dolphins will draft Tagovailoa with their 5th pick it would not come as a surprise for this Dolphins team to be a winning team this year, I suspect that they will go 11-5.

The New York Jets were looked at last season as a team with talent that had a chance to be a lower seed playoff team after the addition of running back Le’Veon Bell. This would however not be the case as the Jets would finish with a 7 – 9 record. Sam Darnold is a great young quarterback that can be a leader and developed into a leader in the New York offense. Bell is a strong, powerful running back that has shown he can play in high pressure games like he did during his tenure in Pittsburgh. After trading Leonard Williams to the Giants during the last season their defense took a hit. This offseason the Jets have been well the Jets. New York released Trumaine Johnson, resigned Brian Poole, and signed Connor McGovern, George Fant, and Alex Lewis. Poole is a smart player for the Jets to resign he has been a consistent player who played 68% of snaps but his stats were only average for a player at his position. The Jets are not in the rumors for any of the major players in the league and any upgrades that they make will likely be in the draft. At this point in the offseason I expect the Jets to be very similar to the team that they were last season, middle of the road. I expect that they will finish the season with a 6 – 10 record.

As the league year begins Dolphins fans look to have a lot to look forward to, while Jets fans are on a road they are very familiar with, the road of despair. Bills fans look to have another enjoyable season on hand for them with a talented team that keeps getting better. Patriots fans look to be in a spot that fans of every other AFC East team have been in before, mediocre. Without Brady and Belichick trying to prove himself for the first time since his first year as Patriots head coach the road will be tough to be successful. The rankings that I see will be the Bills winning the division with a 12 – 4 record, the Dolphins being a close second place team with an 11 – 4 record being one of the AFC’s Wild Card teams, followed in third by a new Patriots team with an 8 – 8, and rounding out the standings are the disappointing Jets team who are trying to find out who they are with a 6 – 10 record. This season will be a fun one to watch especially for Dolphins fans!