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New England Patriots still reign while New York Jets have reason to believe in AFC East preview

Breaking down the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots and New York Jets heading into the new season.

Jay Asser 2018/09/03

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.

There’s some intrigue around the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills because of their rookie quarterbacks, while the Miami Dolphins are almost starting from scratch from last year.

Learn more on all four teams in our AFC East team guides.

BUFFALO BILLS

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.

MIAMI DOLPHINS

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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Adam Gase Bill Belichick Buffalo Bills Josh Allen LeSean McCoy Miami Dolphins New England Patriots New York Jets sam darnold Tom Brady