Another NFL season comes and goes, and the New England Patriots remain the class of the AFC East (and the entire league). The Patriots have won 10 straight division titles, with double-figure victories in each of those seasons.
It would seem that if any of New England’s rivals want to challenge for the AFC East crown, they would need at least 10 wins, and books think that’s a tall task given the season win totals for those competing teams.
Here’s a look at the sports picks and odds to win the AFC East in the 2019 NFL season:
New England Patriots -500
The AFC East should be more competitive in 2019, with the Bills showing growth last season and the Jets adding some talent to a young promising group. That said, the road to the AFC East title goes through Foxborough where the defending Super Bowl champs are in a bit of a transition year. While Tom Brady and the passing game (one without the retired TE Rob Gronkowski) get all the glory, the strength of the Pats is their ground game behind breakout RB Sony Michel. New England’s defense was MIA for the first half of the season but showed up late in 2018 and carried the team to another Big Game win. The loss of defensive play caller Brian Flores and sudden resignation of Greg Schiano leave coaching gaps on that side of the ball.
New York Jets +600
The new-look Jets are the second choice in the AFC East, with second-year passer Sam Darnold getting a handy tool in do-it-all RB LeVeon Bell. Bell, who sat out the entire 2018 season with the Steelers, can pick up gains on the ground and through the air and rounds out a promising offensive attack in New York. New head coach Adam Gase will inject some life into the playbook but a porous offensive line could ruin a lot of those plans. New York brought in Gregg Williams as defensive coordinator, and it looks like he has his work cut out for him. The Jets lack shutdown talent in the secondary and edge pass rushers: two things you need to survive in today’s NFL.
Buffalo Bills +1,000
Think this is the year the Patriots finally fall from grace? Then the Bills are a smart play to win the AFC East at 10/1. Buffalo’s defense is among the best in the league and that was during a 2018 in which the Bills’ inept offense couldn’t stay on the field and put up less than 17 points per game. Second-year QB Josh Allen showed flashes of brilliance in 2018 and did some damage with his legs, but the Bills don’t want him scrambling as much this year. He has new targets in John Brown and Cole Beasley, two speedy route runners who can help him out in the pinch. The rushing game features two RBs combining for 67 years of age in LeSean McCoy and Frank Gore. The Buffalo secondary is the strongest part of a defense that finished first against the pass and that coverage should help buy time for a so-so pass rush.
Miami Dolphins +7,500
The Dolphins are on track to finish dead last in the AFC East – and most likely the entire AFC. Miami won seven games in 2018 but did so in odd fashion, rankings 31st in total offensive yards and 29th in total defensive yards. A few big plays and lucky points here and there made the difference. Josh Rosen, acquired in a trade with Arizona, is the new face of the franchise and he has some reliable options in WR DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills. Along with a new head coach in Flores, the Fins also added former Patriots WR coach Chad O’Shea, so expect to see shades of New England rolled into the 2019 playbook. The less we say about the Miami stop unit the better. Kiko Alonso and Xavien Howard are the standouts among a group of underperformers and inexperienced players.