AFC East: Standing Projections

With the schedule release behind us, we are officially one step closer to watching football every Sunday once again. The NFL did announce that the Super Bowl date is flexible and can be moved if necessary. This was made due to the unpredictability of the Coronavirus outbreak. 

So since we’ve been in quarantine for what feels like forever now, I took the time to give my “professional” analysis at all 254 games. I created a table of all 32 NFL teams and predicted each of their records for 2020 based on their schedules. Before I get started, here is what I based it off of: 

-2019 performances 

-Coaching staff changes 

-Free Agency (additions and departures) 

-2020 NFL Draft results 

This is going to be a series of 8 articles (1 for each division). In this one, we’ll take a look at how I think the AFC East will look at the end of the 2020 regular season. First, I will show how the division will look as a whole, and then I will go into each team’s schedule and break down each of the key matchups. 

Standing Projection

#1: Buffalo Bills (10-6)

#2: New York Jets (6-10) 

#3: New England Patriots (6-10)

#4: Miami Dolphins (4-12)

Buffalo Bills 

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Week 1: Jets- W

Week 2: @ Dolphins- W

Week 3: Rams- W

Week 4: @Raiders- L

Week 5: @ Titans-

Week 6: Chiefs- W

Week 7: @ Jets- W

Week 8: Patriots-

Week 9: Seahawks- L

Week 10: @ Cardinals- W

Week 11: BYE

Week 12: Chargers- L

Week 13 : @ 49ers- L

Week 14: Steelers- W

Week 15: @ Broncos-

Week 16: @ Patriots- W

Week 17: VS Dolphins- W

Buffalo will be in the spotlight of four primetime games this year and those matchups are definitely ones you won’t want to miss. The way I see it, they will go 3-1 in the first four games. Even though they are against 4 teams that probably won’t be in the playoffs this year, I think they’ll suffer their first “upset” loss to the rising Raiders. After those games, that’s when things get challenging for the Bills From Weeks 5-10, I have them going 4-2.

The biggest takeaway is that I have them winning against Kansas City. I love this matchup with two young quarterbacks with star receivers in Stefon Diggs and Tyreek Hill. It should be a high-scoring matchup and I like the Bills giving the defending champs their first loss of the year. Other than that, there are winnable games in between to give them a comfortable lead in the East. After the bye, I have them taking back-to-back losses against the Chargers and 49ers.

San Francisco is going to be a tough opponent but it should be a good game. I also have them losing the Broncos, who I love coming into 2020. That offense is going to be fun to watch all year and it should be a great matchup between the two teams. To finish off the year, they’ll beat the Patriots on Monday Night and then the Dolphins while resting their starters for the playoffs. 

New York Jets 

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Week 1: @ Bills- L

Week 2: 49ers- L

Week 3: @Colts- W

Week 4: Broncos- L

Week 5: Cardinals- L

Week 6 @ Chargers- W

Week 7: Bills- L

Week 8: @ Chiefs- L

Week 9: Patriots- L

Week 10: @ Dolphins- W

Week 11: BYE

Week 12: Dolphins- W

Week 13: Raiders- L

Week 14: @ Seahawks- L

Week 15: @ Rams- W

Week 16: Browns- L

Week 17: @ Patriots- W

It’s not a good way for the Jets to start the year, I’ll just leave it at that. Out of the gate, they are going to start 0-2 and it will only be tough sledding the rest of the way. Considering that Sam Darnold will have a brand new offensive line and unfamiliar faces to throw the ball to, New York will have a rude awakening. What’s interesting to me is the schedule as a whole.

They play a lot of rising teams with young, promising talent. Heading into the much-needed bye week, the Jets play the Bills, Chiefs, and Patriots, where I have them going 0-3 in that stretch. After the bye, it’s deja vu for them because they play the Dolphins again. In the final stretch of the season, it doesn’t get any better for them as they take on the rising Raiders and dominant Seahawks. However, I do have them beating New England in the final week to give them the 2nd place finish (because of inner-division records). 

New England Patriots 

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Week 1: Dolphins- L

Week 2: @ Seahawks- L

Week 3: Raiders- L

Week 4: @ Chiefs- L

Week 5: Denver- W

Week 6: BYE 

Week 7: 49ers- W

Week 8: @ Buffalo- W

Week 9: @ Jets- W

Week 10: Ravens- L

Week 11: @ Texans- W

Week 12: Cardinals- L

Week 13: @ Chargers- W

Week 14: @ Rams- L

Week 15: @ Dolphins- L

Week 16: Buffalo- L

Week 17: Jets- L

New England has handed over the keys to Jarrett Stidham, attempting to achieve the same success Tom Brady had. Well, not really, but they still want him to be good. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening this year. It’s too much of a leadership change in the locker room and we still don’t know if it was Brady or Belichick who won all those Super Bowls.

I have them opening up the season with four consecutive losses. That’s right, four. This is the perfect time for Stidham to adjust to the system and learn to handle adversity. The first four games are not a cup of tea, as they have to travel to Seattle and Kansas City. After the bye, I have them taking down a powerhouse team in the 49ers because I think this will be when Belichick kicks it into overdrive.

Similar to the first four, their final four will be four consecutive losses as well. It’s a good season for Stidham to learn the system and to get familiar with the division, so I view this season as a learning stage for the whole team to adjust to the new environment. 

Miami Dolphins 

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Week 1: @ Patriots- W

Week 2: Bills- L

Week 3: @ Jaguars- L

Week 4: Seahawks- L

Week 5: @ 49ers- L

Week 6: @ Broncos- L

Week 7: Chargers- W

Week 8: Rams- L

Week 9: @ Cardinals- L

Week 10: JetsL

Week 11: BYE

Week 12: @ Jets- L

Week 13: Bengals- W

Week 14: Chiefs- L

Week 15: Patriots- W

Week 16: @ Raiders- L

Week 17: @ Bills- L

If the Dolphins make the playoffs this year, it will arguably be one of the miracle stories the NFL has ever had. However, I don’t see it that way.  I have them getting an early win over the Patriots, but it is going to be a tough ride for Tua the rest of the way. I also have them losing 5 straight games, including one against Jacksonville who is arguably the worst team in the league.

Going into the bye, I think the Dolphins will be 2-8. After the bye though, I do see some light at the end of the tunnel for Miami. They are set to defeat the Patriots twice this year. Why do I have this? I like the Dolphins to compete with teams better than them and those two wins make a statement. Unfortunately, that stretch for them will convert to back to back losses to Las Vegas and Buffalo.

In that respect, New England and Miami are very similar. This is a good year for all of the Dolphins’ rookies to learn the system and know what the NFL is all about. They have some tough opponents on the schedule this year, like the 49ers, Chiefs, and Seahawks, so these games should bring some challenges and help the young players learn how to play top squads. 

 

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