AFC East: New England Patriots
The New England Patriots have owned the AFC East during the 21st century, winning the division all but two times, including each of the past nine years. 2018 will likely be no different, although there are strong indications that the Patriots’ dynasty is finally nearing its end.
The Patriots got worse over the offseason, losing a number of key contributors, including tackle Nate Solder, running back Dion Lewis, cornerback Malcolm Butler and wide receivers Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola. In addition, fellow receiver Julian Edelman faces a potential four-game suspension — and quarterback Tom Brady is another year older.
Luckily for New England, the rest of their division provides little in the way of competition for the top spot, with the Buffalo Bills entering rebuilding mode after their nine-win 2017 season, and the Miami Dolphins spinning their wheels over the offseason.
The New York Jets appear to be the most improved team in the AFC East, but aren’t ready to compete with a Brady-led New England team. Provided TB12 stays healthy — and doesn’t experience a “Manningesque” drop-off in play — the Patriots will once again take the division crown and compete well into January next season.