The AFC East has had an interesting dichotomy this century – it’s been one of the weakest divisions in the league year over year, while fielding a dynasty that has been the class of the entire NFL.
It’s unlikely anything changes this season, with the New England Patriots still expected to rule with an iron fist above an underwhelming trio of teams.
Learn more on all four teams in our AFC East team guides.
Head coach: Sean McDermott
Star player: LeSean McCoy
Last season: 9-7, lost in Wild Card round
Key ins: Star Lotulelei (Carolina), Russell Bodine (Cincinnati), Chris Ivory (Jacksonville), Vontae Davis (Indianapolis), Josh Allen (rookie), Tremaine Edmunds (rookie)
Key outs: Tyrod Taylor (Cleveland), Cordy Glenn (Cincinnati), E.J. Gaines (Cleveland), Preston Brown (Cincinnati)
Strengths: Talented in the secondary with several playmakers.
Weaknesses: Offence has a chance to be the worst in the league.
Verdict: Unless their quarterbacks perform much better than expected – particularly Allen – they’ll be in contention for the top overall pick in next year’s draft.
Head coach: Adam Gase
Last season: 6-10
Star player: Cameron Wake
Key ins: Ryan Tannehill (injury), Josh Sitton (Chicago), Danny Amendola (New England), Robert Quinn (LA Rams), Frank Gore (Indianapolis), Albert Wilson (Kansas City), Minkah Fitzpatrick (rookie), Mike Gesicki (rookie)
Key outs: Ndamukong Suh (LA Rams), Jarvis Landry (Cleveland), Mike Pouncey (LA Chargers), Jermon Bushrod (New Orleans)
Strengths: The defensive end group has depth and experience.
Weaknesses: Top-end talent is lacking on both sides of the ball.
Verdict: Gase may have something up his sleeve, but it’s hard to imagine them fighting for a playoff spot considering the foundational pieces they lost, even in a weak division.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Head coach: Bill Belichick
Star player: Tom Brady
Last season: 13-3, lost in Super Bowl
Key ins: Cordarrelle Patterson (Oakland), Trent Brown (San Francisco), Adrian Clayborn (Atlanta), Danny Shelton (Cleveland), Jeremy Hill (Cincinnati) Sony Michel (rookie), Ju’Whaun Bentley (rookie)
Key outs: Dion Lewis (Tennessee), Malcolm Butler (Tennessee), Brandin Cooks (LA Rams), Danny Amendola (Miami), Nate Solder (NY Giants)
Strengths: Continued stability with Belichick and Brady leading the way.
Weaknesses: Wide receiver corps is thin with Julian Edelman suspended.
Verdict: The defence should be better and as long as Father Time doesn’t catch up to Brady, they’ll be in the mix come January.
NEW YORK JETS
Head coach: Todd Bowles
Star player: Leonard Williams
Last season: 5-11
Key ins: Trumaine Johnson (LA Rams), Spencer Long (Washington), Avery Williamson (Tennessee), Henry Anderson (Indianapolis), Isaiah Crowell (Cleveland), Terrelle Pryor (Washington), Sam Darnold (rooke), Nathan Shepherd (rookie)
Key outs: Matt Forte (retired), Muhammad Wilkerson (Green Bay), Demario Davis (New Orleans), Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Jacksonville)
Strengths: Secondary features some of their best players.
Weaknesses: Pass rushing again appears to be lacking.
Verdict: With Darnold, they have hope for the future, but this will be a developmental year.
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