2022 AFC East preview: Bills’ division to lose?
If you ask anyone in the media, there’s a good chance you’ll get the same answer for who will win this division.
The Buffalo Bills finished last season as division champions with an 11-6 record and could’ve gotten further than the divisional round had an overtime coin toss gone in their favor.
For the Bills, it was their second-straight division title and their first since the 1995 season.
But now as they look for the three-peat, the AFC East looks stronger than ever from top to bottom.
Here’s a look at all four teams and how they may finish.
Include me in that list of media members.
The Bills roster as a whole looks stronger than ever, as quarterback Josh Allen continues his progression offensively and the signing of pass rusher Von Miller improves things defensively.
Miller was the big ticket free agent in the offseason, signing a six-year $120 million contract after picking up a Super Bowl ring with the Los Angeles Rams.
Miller adds to a defense that allowed the fewest points per game in the NFL last season.
Offensively, the Bills put up the third-most points per game and trot out basically the same team from a year ago with a few minor additions.
Receiver Emmanuel Sanders is swapped out for Jamison Crowder in the pass game and second-round draft pick James Cook should help a run game which was one of the weaker aspects of the Bills offense a year ago.
All things considered, the Bills should remain a threat, not only in the division but in the entire conference as well.
New York Jets
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the season the Jets will have their first winning season since 2015.
While Zach Wilson may be out until Week 4 at the earliest, this Jets core may be the best it’s been in quite some time.
Rookies Breece Hall and Garrett Wilson add on to a young and exciting offense while Sauce Gardner gives life to the Jets secondary.
Elijah Moore made strides as a rookie receiver last season and Michael Carter should help form a potent backfield alongside Hall.
Coach Robert Saleh’s squad made some noise late last season and now in year two of his tenure has the chance to make a big jump this season.
Veteran signings such as D.J. Reed and Jordan Whitehead also add to the secondary while Pro Bowl guard Laken Tomlinson may be one of the more underrated signings of the offseason.
Once Wilson gets back, the Jets have the potential to fly high and they’ll do just that.
“Speed. I am speed.”- the 2022 Miami Dolphins, probably.
The Dolphins weren’t far behind the Bills with a 9-8 record, finishing less than a game away from a playoff berth.
After recording two-straight winning seasons without a playoff appearance, the Dolphins made major changes on the offensive side of the ball.
The biggest change was adding Tyreek Hill in a trade from the Kansas City Chiefs to bolster the receiving core.
Miami also added two of the fastest running backs in the game with Raheem Mostert and Chase Edmunds.
All this while firing coach Brian Flores, which led to some controversy with owner Stephen Ross.
That controversy ended with a suspension of Ross for the first few months of the season and the removal of the team’s 2023 first-round pick.
Now, Mike McDaniel is the new head coach and the team may be made or broken on the arm of Tua Tagovailoa. This season may be the one that keeps Tua in Miami.
New England Patriots
This may finally be the year the Patriots finish last in the division for the first time since 2000, back when the East had five teams.
Mac Jones had a solid rookie season under center but is now without offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who took the head coaching job with the Las Vegas Raiders.
The Patriots did trade for DeVante Parker, but still lack a top receiving target for Jones.
Defensively, the Patriots lost one of their top playmakers in cornerback J.C. Jackson who joined the Los Angeles Chargers.
Jackson was a big part of the defense last year, racking up eight interceptions and 17 over his last two seasons.
With that and much turnover at the linebacker position, this isn’t the same Patriots team and it will show in 2022.