Last year the Buffalo Bills entered the season as the Super Bowl favorites, before ultimately falling short of that goal. This year they find themselves in a potential dog fight for the division. Every team in the division has seemingly gotten better, while the Bills weren’t able to add much to the roster. Has the gap been closed or are the Bills still the team to beat? Let’s dive into what the betting markets are saying.
Best Available Division Prices in Market
Buffalo Bills +131 (Pinnacle) if you don’t have Pinnacle you can find +130 (FanDuel, Bet365)
New York Jets +270 (DraftKings)
Miami Dolphins +300 (DraftKings, Bet365, Caesars, BetMGM)
New England Patriots +900 (BetRivers, LeoVegas)
The Bull Case – The Buffalo Bills will always be Super Bowl contenders so long as they have Josh Allen. That’s the ceiling when you have an elite Quarterback. Outside of that the Bills still have one of the better defenses overall, that just got ravaged with injuries towards the end of the year. The pass-rush simply wasn’t the same once Von Miller went down, but they expect to have him back at some point this year. They also signed vet Leonard Floyd to provide even more depth in the event Miller isn’t ready at the start of the year. The Bills are now 4-deep at safety too, after bringing back Jordan Poyer and signing Taylor Rapp for depth. At times it felt Leslie Frazier‘s defense didn’t make enough adjustments depending on situation and opponent. Sean McDermott will be taking over the play-calling duties and perhaps that will give the defense a much needed situational bump. Drafting Tight End Dalton Kincaid could make for some interesting formations and match-ups especially in the red zone. They beefed up the interior O-line with the signings of David Edwards, Connor McGovern, and drafting Offensive Guard O’Cyrus Torrence in the 2nd round.
The Bear Case – The questions about the O-line, specifically at the Right Tackle position remain. Outside of Stefon Diggs, who is going to be the reliable 2nd and 3rd option in the passing game? They lost Tremaine Edmunds to free agency, and are hoping either last year’s 3rd round pick Terrell Bernard or this year’s 3rd round pick Dorian Williams will step up. There has been some discussion about running Josh Allen less this year. And while that is great for his long-term health, it takes away a dynamic that defenses had to constantly monitor.
New York Jets
The Bull Case – Quarterback Aaron Rodgers will be a significant upgrade over Zach Wilson and Mike White. The Jets Wide Receiving core is as good as it’s ever been with Garrett Wilson, Allen Lazard, Mecole Hardman, and Corey Davis. The Jets O-line should be better this year with the additions of 2nd round pick Center Joe Tippmann, as well as bringing Wes Schweitzer and Billy Turner in for much needed depth. The Depth was crucial last year due to injuries to Tackles Mekhi Becton, Duane Brown and Max Mitchell. The Defense is built on two very good premises. Depth on the D-line with constant fresh bodies rotating in and out. And a good trio of Corners lead by Sauce Gardner.
The Bear Case – The unknown of what level of play to expect from Aaron Rodgers. If we get the Rodgers of 2 years ago playing at an MVP Level they are legit contenders. If we get the guy who resembles last year’s Aaron Rodgers, well they won’t be good enough to win in a division that’s loaded. They need stability at Offensive Tackle and that means asking a lot of the guys they have right now. Nathaniel Hackett and Todd Downing as new offensive coaches leave a lot to be desired.
The Bull Case – Offensively the Dolphins remain one of the most dangerous teams. You can’t teach speed and Miami has it in bunches. This is quite literally the fastest offense in the NFL, and they’re constantly stressing defenses who know they have to always account for the entire field. The Dolphins brought in one of the best defensive minds in football, when they hired Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio. They gave him all the pieces he could want defensively when they traded for Cornerback Jalen Ramsey, signed Linebacker David Long and Safety DeShon Elliott, as well as drafting Cornerback Cam Smith in the 2nd round. The O-line and WR core have a little more depth with the additions of Braxton Berrios and Isaiah Wynn. And Mike White should be an upgrade at back-up Quarterback… which is of upmost importance for the Miami Dolphins.
The Bear Case – We alluded to it in our last point for the Bull Case. The Bear Case is the complete uncertainty of Tua Tagovailoa‘s health. Quite simply put, the entire season can be derailed if Tua misses significant time again. I hate to put down a team’s entire bear case to one player but that feels like the only thing that can derail this very talented and loaded roster.
New England Patriots
The Bull Case – The Patriots quietly had a really good off-season. Bringing in Bill O’Brien as new offensive coordinator will be a huge improvement, just for the fact of how bad the situation was last year with Matt Patricia and Joe Judge. From there, the Patriots brought in Wide Receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and Tight End Mike Gesicki which is an improvement from Jakobi Myers and Jonnu Smith. The draft fell quite nicely for the Patriots especially early with the selection of Cornerback Christian Gonzalez in the first round and Defensive Lineman Keion White in the 2nd.
The Bear Case – The Patriots have the most difficult schedule in the NFL this year. The fact is they may actually be improved this year and their record could be worse than last year. The defense had a lucky break last year playing a lot of back-up Quarterback’s. They may not be as good as perceived. If Mac Jones doesn’t take a step forward not only will they have no chance this year, they’ll need to find a new Quarterback for the future.
Power Ratings and Projected Win Totals
Buffalo Bills – 4th in my Power Ratings. 10.76 Projected Wins
New York Jets – 7th in my Power Ratings. 9.93 Projected Wins
Miami Dolphins – 6th in my Power Ratings. 10.34 Projected Wins
New England Patriots – 14th in my Power Ratings. 8.28 Projected Wins
On the surface you’d assume I’d be bullish on taking the Miami Dolphins to win the division based on prices and projected wins. The problem is this is modelled out as if Tua Tagovailoa will be healthy for 17 games. It doesn’t capture his risk of injury which is higher than most Quarterbacks. With that in mind let’s see what bets I’m making.
Bets I’m Making for AFC East Division
New York Jets 3rd in the division +260 – Can be found at Bet365.
Bets I’m Making for Win Totals
No Bets for me here
If you missed my previous articles find them at the links below:
Focusing in on the NFC West Futures Market
Guide to Beat the AFC West Futures Market
Navigating the NFC East Futures Market
Beating the AFC South Futures Market
How to attack the NFC North Futures Market