We are only about 10 weeks from NFL season, so it’s time to start looking at some of the divisional and conference future odds to see where the value lies this offseason.
New England Patriots (-200 AFC East, +400 AFC at Bet365)
The Patriots being the betting pick to win the AFC East should surprise no one. The Pats were one win away from advancing to the Super Bowl last season, and after a year of poor offensive line play, the Patriots look poised to get back to the top of the mountain. Sure, they are going to have to deal with a suspension to Tom Brady for the first four games assuming it doesn’t get overturned, but Jimmy Garoppolo should be fine for those first four games, especially considering three of them are at home. They will likely lose their first game at Arizona, but the Patriots could still easily be 3-1 by the time Brady comes back.
The Pats also made some nice offseason additions. They brought in Martellus Bennett for next to nothing thanks to him souring his relationship in Chicago, and they also brought in Terrence Knighton, Chris Long, and Nate Washington. Sure, they lost Chandler Jones, but other than that there is little to hate about the Patriots offseason other than the Brady suspension. It’s hard to see them not getting a first round bye in the top-heavy AFC.
New York Jets (+500 AFC East, +2000 AFC at PaddyPower)
Here’s the thing about New York. If they had caved to Ryan Fitzpatrick, they would be in pretty good shape for next season, but maybe not after that. There is no guarantee that Fitzpatrick will continue his success from last season, and at the same time, the Jets still don’t have a quarterback. They do have Matt Forte after not paying Chris Ivory, which could work out, but the problem of not having a quarterback remains.
Every day the Jets get closer to training camp without Fitzpatrick means more sweat from the Jets. They should eventually cave in and give Fitz the money, but who knows if and when that will be. For now, the Jets have had a mediocre offseason at best, and at this point, they are likely the third best team in this division behind Buffalo, and of course New England.
Buffalo Bills (+500 AFC East, +2000 AFC at 888Sport)
The Bills are one of those teams that half of the NFL handicapping community is high on, and the other half is pretty bearish on them. Tyrod Taylor is coming into 2016 as one of the most intriguing quarterbacks in the NFL, but is he ready to lead the Bills to a divisional title over the Patriots? The answer is probably not.
However, Buffalo did do some good things this offseason, and they also made some questionable moves. They brought back Cordy Glenn on a huge contract to shore up their offensive line, but they also gave Charles Clay a ton of money, which is questionable at best.
For Buffalo, their running game of LeSean McCoy and Karlos Williams looks pretty deadly if both players can stay healthy, but outside of Sammy Watkins, who is coming off a breakout season, the Bills might still lack the passing attack that could put them over the top in this division.
Their defense is still stacked even without Mario Williams this upcoming season. The Bills still have a veteran secondary and a solid front seven, so if everything goes their way this season, they might be in the mix for the division with Brady’s suspension, but it’s a big if.
Miami Dolphins (+650 AFC East, +2500 AFC at WilliamHill)
The Dolphins are like that cousin that can’t get their shit together. They have so much talent but little to show for it, and this season Miami is heading for the same disappointing season. They made one of the strangest moves on draft night sending the 8th pick to Philadelphia for the 13th pick, Byron Maxwell and Kiko Alonso. Could it work out? Sure it could. Or it could just make them look stupid in a year or two.
If Maxwell has a bounce back season it might end up working out. The Dolphins were pretty bad in the secondary last season, and beefing up their passing defense should help them at the very least compete this season. However, they are going to be leaning heavily on unproven running back Jay Ajayi unless they sign a veteran between now and training camp and improve their betting odds, and while their offense may look pretty good on paper, one injury to one of their main pass catchers like Jarvis Landry or Rishard Matthews could send them spiraling downward. They are easily the worst team in this division