Projecting AFC East records for the 2024 season

New England Patriots v Buffalo Bills
New England Patriots v Buffalo Bills / Timothy T Ludwig/GettyImages
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Just like the Great Dying put paid to the dinosaurs (although Harrison Butker somehow survived), TB12’s departure ended the Patriots’ domination of the AFC East.

Since 2000, the Patriots have won the AFC East title 17 times, but the Bills have finished champions each of the last four years. Could that be about to change?

Well, the first thing to say is that AFC East teams have been beating up on each other for over a decade now, so it won’t be a surprise if a different team wins. The last AFC East team to go undefeated against their divisional opponents was the Bills in 2020.

But before that, it hadn’t happened since 2012, when the Patriots achieved the feat! 

Projecting AFC East records for the 2024 season

Dolphins record: 11-6 

No team in the league scored more touchdowns than the Dolphins did in 2023; they finished the regular season tied with the 49ers, having broken the plane 61 times! Only the Cowboys scored more points in the regular season than Miami.

But, despite trading for Jalen Ramsey (five months after trading for Bradley Chubb), their defense was an issue. Under Vic Fangio, they allowed an average of 23 points per game. 

If there’s one thing to admire about Mike McDaniel, it is that he learns his lessons quickly. He replaced Fangio with former Ravens defensive line (and assistant head) coach Anthony Weaver. Weaver's Ravens defense led the league with 60 sacks in 2023, four more than the Dolphins managed.

To assist Weaver with his transition, the Dolphins signed 11 new defensive players, including two safeties from the Bills and four defensive tackles. 

In case that wasn’t enough, they then drafted Chop Robinson and Mohamed Kamara, who recorded the second and third-fastest 40-yard times in the 2023 EDGE class! That’s so Miami. They also acquired Grayson Murphy and Leonard Payne Jr. as undrafted free agents. Between them, those two recorded 34 sacks during their college careers.  

The other areas in which the Dolphins had room for improvement in 2023 were punt and kick returns. They addressed that in the draft, too, selecting Malik Washington from UVA and Tahj Washington from USC. Malik averaged 19.5 yards per return in Virginia last year, and the last time Tahj returned kicks, as a junior, he averaged 25 yards per kick!

They could both be useful on offense. But with Jaylen Waddle, Tyreek Hill, and De’Von Achane already on the roster, Miami Gardens has no shortage of offensive talent. 

Even though the offense didn’t need an upgrade, if you’re not moving forward, you’re going backward, right? So, Miami bought in Jody Fortson, Jonnu Smith, and Odell Beckham Jr., too. They’re going all in on 2024. 

In 2023, the Dolphins raced to a 9-3 record in the first 13 weeks of the season, but they tailed off dramatically in December. They only won two of their final six games. The 2024 schedule gives them another favorable start, with three home games in the first month of the season.

That means they have three road games in the last five weeks of the season, but they will have a mini-bye before playing the Jets in Week 14.

The Dolphins didn’t manage to hold off the Bills' challenge in 2023, but if they can win the division and secure home-field advantage during the playoffs, they could be in line for a deep run in the postseason.