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2023 AFC East Division Preview

The 2023 NFL Season is right around the corner and the Chefs are ready to start cooking. We continue our series on NFL Season Preview as we give our AFC East Division Preview. This division is one of the strongest, if not the strongest in the league. New-comers and high expectations are the theme here and we have our picks who will come out on top.

New England Patriots

Photo Credit: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Key additions: WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, TE Mike Gesicki, RB Ezekiel Elliott

Key departures: Damien Harris, Devin McCourty

Biggest Strength

The New England Patriots will always be a defensive team so long as Belichick is there, and that will have to remain the case. CB Devin McCourty leaving hurts the defense a bit, but Matthew Judon continues to be a standout and should anchor the middle but around the defense. There are a lot of question marks and the rest of the pass rush could leave something to be desired.

Biggest Question Mark

Mac Jones is one of the most polarizing guys in the entire league. If he is subpar, then the Pats could be in line to grab one of the top QBs next year. But he also has too high a floor to be in the running for the top overall pick.

Will make the playoffs if…

They all click and win each game by a few points. The rest of the AFC is an absolute powerhouse, and there is no easy team in division. It's hard seeing this squad making the playoffs based on the conference.

Season Prediction

The defensive-first team is loaded with veterans on the offense, like Hunter Henry, JuJu Smith-Schuster, including David Andrews at Center. Ezekiel Elliot is now in as a backup to take the load off Rhamondre Stevenson, but my faith in the Patriots is a bit down post-Brady while the rest of the AFC elevates. Not going to be a pretty season for the Patriots but it won't be the worst season they've ever had.

Record: 6-11

Miami Dolphins

Photo Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Key additions: Jalen Ramsey CB, Mike White QB, Braxton Berrios WR/ST

Key departures: Myles Gaskin

Biggest Strength

Wide Receiver is a whole is a major strength for the Dolphins which has led others to shore up their corner situation in the AFC East. Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle will succeed, with both being true top receivers on many other rosters in the NFL. Even if the oft-injured QB Tua Tagovailoa goes down, the Dolphins added former Jets QB Mike White who has starting success on his resume. In that instance, his job will be to get the ball to the receiver.

Biggest Question Mark

The biggest question mark is a continuation of the strength. Mike White is a good backup QB but he is a backup QB that the Jets let walk for a reason. The health of Tua Tagovailoa could alter the entire league. If he is healthy and successful and getting the ball to his receivers, it helps everyone. The OL is a bit of a question given some of the pass rushing defenses, but he can get rid of the ball quickly and accurately. If Mike White is in the same spot, sure he can handle a game or two but can the Dolphins survive a long string without Tua?

Will make the playoffs if…

Tua stays healthy and Jalen Ramsey is able to come back. Odds are Miami will be still in the hunt late-season, meaning they will be adding a big piece down the stretch. Even if they are near .500, his addition is a game changer paired with Xavien Howard.

Season Prediction

I see the Dolphins going 4-2 in the division, and ultimately making the playoffs. The receivers are almost 'too good to fail'. The running game is legit although odd they did not add another player. The offensive line is nothing to worry about and the defense has a lot of solid players. Should be a playoff team without much issue assuming Tua stays healthy.

Record: 11-6

Buffalo Bills

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Adrian Kraus

Key additions: Damien Harris RB, Latavius Murray RB, Kyle Allen QB, Brandon Shell OT, Connor McGovern OG

Key departures: Devin Singletary RB, Cole Beasley WR, Tremaine Edmunds LB

Biggest Strength

The Bills are a well rounded team with QB Josh Allen being the key piece on offense. He can make plays with his arm and his legs but he has taken a lot of hits over the years. Coming of a 13-3 season, the team was buoyed by the defense. They should continue their elite defense although starting the season without DE Von Miller is tough. The biggest strength is two-fold in my eyes, it's Josh Allen keeping the great Bills defense fresh with an occasional 3rd and 7 run.

Biggest Question Mark

Will the defense stay top notch? Will Stefon Diggs be involved? Is Von Miller going to slow down? So many questions for the Bills but then again most of the questions have answers - the defense should be fine, Diggs will succeed and Miller will probably slow down some and it will be OK.

Will make the playoffs if…

They stay moderately healthy. Josh Allen is so good he doesn't need every piece around him to be great and he can even mask an inefficiency at OL. While the defense will succeed no matter what, I just don't see the Bills not making the playoffs - to a point where I think a bigger question is what would keep them out.

Season Prediction

The only losses I see for the Bills are one of the games against the Jets, maybe one against the Dolphins and probably a loss against either the Bengals in Cincy or the Chiefs in KC. But the Bills face Kansas City the week after their week 13 Bye - a favorable spot for one of their biggest games.

Record: 14-3

New York Jets

Photo Credit: Jeff Hanisch - USA Today

Key additions: Aaron Rodgers QB, Allen Lazard WR, Mecole Hardman WR, Al Woods DT

Key departures: Mike White QB, Braxton Berrios WR, Elijah Moore WR,

Biggest Strength

Defense. Defense. Defense. The New York Jets will build on a historic rookie season from Sauce Garnder, who had one of the best rookie corner campaigns we have ever seen. They also paid DT Quinnen Williams, who will be a mainstay in this defense for years to come. Somehow, this has all overshadowed LB CJ Mosley, who anchors the middle of the defense and was again named a Jets captain. If there is a weakness on this team it would be at safety. But that issue may be masked by what should be a bruising pass rush.

Biggest Question Mark

It is no secret the Jets offensive line, AKA the protectors of Aaron Rodgers is a question mark. While they came together late in the preseason, LT Duane Brown has not had a chance to get many reps with the first team. Brown is also coming off two shoulder surgeries. On the other side, RT Mekhi Becton, a former 4th overall pick, is must succeed on the right side of the line.

Will make the playoffs if…

The offensive line stays healthy or Max Mitchell and Joe Tippmann can step it up. There are few to no questions on defense and there is depth all around. The Jets will also need one of the other middle tier contenders to falter - the Ravens, Steelers, Dolphins, Chargers are all expected to contend for the wildcard spots. I can also see the Titans or Jags getting into the mix with the other vying for the division.

Season Prediction

The Jets start off with a tough first six game (Bills, @Cowboys, Patriots, Chiefs, @Broncos, Eagles). If the team starts off poorly, the season could go off the rails going into the week 7 bye. Going 3-3 out of the gate should be considered a success. The second half of the season is far less daunting, including a stretch with Atlanta and Houston back to back at home. They then face Washington and Cleveland back to back as their final non-divison games before the season closer against New England. The team should be improved but are they good enough to get to the postseason? If it all clicks well, they will be far better than my prediction, but if it does not, then it will fall apart and the franchise will need to re-set with all the youth.

Record: 10-7

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