The New England Patriots kick off training camp next week with their eyes set on winning their seventh Lombardi trophy. Exciting times are ahead as players will start to make a name for themselves. It's no secret that this is going to be a tough season for the Patriots. But, how will they hold up within the division?
The AFC East is loaded with talent. Especially now with former Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers joining the New York Jets. The Patriots could face an uphill battle within the division this year. With that being said, what could the AFC East rankings look like this season keeping in mind training camp doesn't start for another week or so?
1. Miami Dolphins
If Tua Tagovailoa can stay healthy the Miami Dolphins will win the AFC East this season. Last season the Dolphins went 8-5 with Tua under center and went 1-3 without him. Miami is expected again to have a top offense with Tua under center. But, injuries are a huge concern for Tua. With that being said, if Tua is injured once again this season the AFC East is a toss up between the Dolphins and the Buffalo Bills.
How do the Patriots matchup with the Dolphins this year? On paper the Sunday night football matchup between these two teams in week two could be a defensive slugfest. It's unknown what the Patriots offense will look like. But, as for the defense, on paper they look to be a top ten defense lead by Matt Judon and Ja'Whaun Bentley.
Rookie cornerback Christian Gonzalez will be tested in this game as he will most likely be lined up against either Tyreek Hill or Jaylen Waddle two deep threat receivers for Tua who show off their speed. The same could be said again for when these two teams meet up in week eight.
2. Buffalo Bills
No surprise here that the Buffalo Bills are right behind the Miami Dolphins. Winning the AFC East could come down to the week 18 showdown between these two teams in Miami. The Bills have been a favorite to win the Super Bowl the last two seasons but this season it seems like the hype about this team has been quieter than usual.
A reason as to why there may not be as much hype as there has been concerns about Josh Allen's turnovers. Yes, Allen is an incredible quarterback and is a top five quarterback in the NFL. But, turnovers are a huge issue for Allen. Last season Allen had 19 total turnovers. If Buffalo want's to make it to the Super Bowl that number needs to decrease.
As for the defense of Buffalo they should pick up from where they left off. Yes, their season ended disappointingly against the Cincinnati Bengals last season, but before the playoffs their defense was one of the best last season. Von Miller will be back from injury and players like Jordan Poyer and and Tre'Davious White will continue to lead the way in the secondary.
In simple terms, the Patriots will struggle against the Bills. Buffalo is a powerhouse in the regular season. The Bills bullied the Patriots last season in both meetings and it should be expected to happen again. In general, it is tough to beat Buffalo in the regular season. The postseason however, they seem more beatable.
3. New England Patriots
The Patriots will finish third in the AFC East this season. If things go right they could compete for the seventh and final wild card spot in the AFC. They have a tough schedule, but if Bill O'Brien's offense translates smoothly with Mac Jones and the rest of the offense, some opposing defenses will have a hard time against the New England offense.
Losing out on Deandre Hopkins hurts. But, it doesn't make this team worse. The Patriots brought in Leonard Fournette and Darrell Henderson Jr for workouts so it seems like the Patriots might not be done yet with adding to the offense.
It's no secret that the defense is more polished than the offense. There's big expectations surrounding this year's first round pick in Christian Gonzalez and also second round pick defensive tackle Keion White. The pass rush is expected to be better with White, Christian Barmore and Matt Judon. Hopefully Lawrence Guy will make his return from his holdout to make the defensive line even better.
4. New York Jets
Yes, despite adding Aaron Rodgers, the Jets will still finish last in the AFC East. It's not that the Jets are a bad team, it's just that historically seemingly nothing goes right for this organization. Remember when they added Brett Favre and were deemed to be one of the best teams in the AFC? It didn't end well then and it won't end well now.
The Jets have both the reigning offensive and defensive rookies of the year. But, it could be possible one of them suffers from a sophomore slump. Most likely it will be wide receiver Garrett Wilson even with Aaron Rodgers throwing him the ball. As for defensive back Sauce Gardner, he's one of the best cornerbacks in the league and will continue to be the heart and soul for the Jets' defense.
As for how the Patriots and how they match up with the Jets, they matchup pretty well. In fact, there is a possibility the Patriots could even sweep the Jets this season. The defense will give Rodgers a hard time and the offense should have limited to no problems as long as Sauce Gardner is not a factor in both their meetings this upcoming season.