With training camp starting up for every team in the NFL, it is that time to see where every team is at before the regular season kicks off. Here at The Athletes Hub, I am going to give you predictions for who is going to finish where in the division and with what record leading up to the NFL season. First off, I am going to break down the AFC East.
1st place: New England Patriots (12-4)
With all the talks about deflategate and what not, it is no surprise that the Patriots are still the number one team in the AFC East. With the options that the team has on offense, such as Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola. The first four weeks should be fine for backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
Once Week 5 arrives, Tom Brady will be done serving his 4-game suspension thanks to Deflategate. Once Brady returns from suspension, that is bad news for the rest of the league.
He will be out to prove something from week 5 and beyond, and with the weapons that New England has, they will be a dominating offensive football team.
One thing to look at is the defensive side of the ball. Last season, the team struggled at some degree on the defensive side, costing the team games here and there. If the defense can hold it’s own against opponents this upcoming season, and the offense is still one of the best, we might be looking at a long playoff run for New England.
The 2016 schedule for the Patriots consists of playing six playoff teams from last season and playing six teams that did not even make the playoffs. The way this schedule is planned out, 12-4 is a good possibility for the team. At worst, they could finish is 11-5.
One player that everyone will be paying attention to is quarterback Tom Brady. With all the talks surrounding him and Deflategate ever since the 2015 postseason, everyone will be wondering how Brady will do once he comes back from missing the first few games of the season.
2nd Place: New York Jets (11-5)
Along with Ryan Fitzpatrick, the team has a great one-two duo at wide receivers in Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. The team also improved the running game by signing free agent running back Matt Forte in free agency.
The offensive line is still solid, so as long as the offense is clicking this season, the Jets could likely be looking at making the playoffs this year.
Offense was not the only strength of the team last season. Another thing that was successful for the team last season was the defense. The Jets defense has talent on it such as Muhammad Wilkerson, Darelle Revis, Sheldon Richardson, and Calvin Pryor.
The schedule consists of the team facing six playoff teams from last season, and seven non-playoff teams. With the way that the schedule is made up, 11-5 is a really possible record for the team. If they are able to out-preform themselves, the best the team could finish is 12-4.
One player, to watch for this upcoming season is quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, with the amazing season he had last season, everyone is wondering if he can produce the same type of productive numbers.
With the offensive firepower that the Jets have, there is a great chance for Fitzpatrick to produce the same numbers from last season to this upcoming season.
3rd Place: Buffalo Bills (8-8)
Last season, the Buffalo Bills had a lot of potential with the hiring of Rex Ryan as head coach. All that potential turned into just hype, as they did not missed the postseason. One thing for sure is that the team has a promising defense, as well as an offense that has room to grow.
Heading into last season, Tyrod Taylor started the preseason as the 3rd string quarterback behind Matt Cassel and EJ Manuel. During preseason, Manuel and Cassel did not perform as well as hoped, and that is when Taylor took advantage of this chance.
Taylor produced solid numbers in his first season as starting quarterback, producing above average numbers running as well as passing. Taylor would throw for 20 touchdowns, which helps when he has a number one wide receiver in Sammy Watkins.
The defense of the Bills last season was hyped to be a force in the AFC, and it was not as great as everyone hyped it up to be. During the start of the season, the defense did not play well, giving up points and allowing opponents to get down the field.
During the last few games, the defense showed signs of potential that it could be elite. The team has pieces like Shaq Lawson, Marcell Dareus, Kyle Williams, Jerry Hughes, Preston Brown, and Corey Graham.
This season, the Bills will be playing five playoff teams from last season and eitht non-playoff teams. With the way the schedule is planned out, another 8-8 season for this team is realistic. The team still has some growing to do before they become a legit contender in the AFC East.
One player to look out for this season is running back LeSean McCoy. After acquiring him from the Philadelphia Eagles last offseason, McCoy was nothing but a disappointment in his first season, running for under 1,000 yards and only 3 rushing touchdowns.
Everyone will be watching to see if McCoy will return to his old self and bounce back from last season, or if last season was just a sign of things to come in Buffalo for McCoy.
4th Place: Miami Dolphins (7-9)
Last season, the Miami Dolphins were talked about as a team that could compete with New England for the AFC East title. The team had a solid offense and defense on paper, but last season showed that on paper does not prove anything until you get on the field.
The Dolphins had a rough start to the season, as the team started with a 1-3 record, eventually leading to the firing of the head coach. After firing Philbin, the team showed some life in them, going 5-7 with Dan Campbell as head coach.
Offensively, It all starts with quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Last season everyone was expecting him to take the next step in becoming a franchise quarterback.
Even though Tannehill has not taken that next step yet, he showed flashes of potential that he is on the brink of taking that next step.
Tannehill has weapons on offense like DeVante Parker, Jarvis Landry, and Kenny Stills. Even though the team lost Lamar Miller this offseason to free agency, the team signed a solid running back (when healthy) in Arian Foster.
The offense looks promising, but we will see how all the pieces do together once the regular season starts.
Leading up to last season, the Dolphins defense was hyped to be a force in the AFC on paper with the signing of Ndamukong Suh in free agency, along with the other pieces.
One player that everyone will be watching for is Tannehill. Ever since coming into the league, he showed flashes of promise. Other times, he showed flashes of not being the quarterback that Dolphins fans hoped for.
With new head coach Adam Gase, Tannehill has a chance to break out this season with the offense that Gase is bringing. Tannehill fits that offense really well, so if there is any time for Tannahill to take the next step, it is right now.
This season, the Dolphins will be playing five playoff teams from last season and eight non-playoff teams. Looking at the way the schedule looks right now for this season, 7-9 is a solid prediction for the Dolphins.
Photo Credit http://bleacherreport.com/