It’s the official start of the 2021 NFL season, team captains are being selected, and the first injury reports are coming out. We are starting to have that old familiar feeling…football is back.
With stadiums expected to be at full capacity, fans are eagerly awaiting to see what this 2021 season will bring. Especially in the AFC East, where we’ll see two starting rookie quarterbacks in Zach Wilson for the New York Jets and Mac Jones for the New England Patriots. Let’s look at all four of the teams in the division and how they look in the QB position going forward.
The Buffalo Bills, led by 3rd-year starter Josh Allen, look to be the clear favorites to repeat as AFC East champions. With Buffalo coming up 1 game shy of the Super Bowl last season, it looks, for now, like a solid pick.
We are halfway through a season we weren’t even sure we were going to get. It seems almost impossible, but the NFL has kept on track during the pandemic and for some teams, things are going quite well. Others…not so much.
I reached out to our fan forum to check in with them to see how they felt their favorite teams were doing 8 weeks into the 2020 season.
Matt Cullen is a new member of our fan forum. He is a long-suffering New York Jets fan, and at the halfway mark, is ready for a change.
Week one of the 2020 NFL season for the AFC East will see all four teams facing off against each other. The Buffalo Bills will host the New York Jets, while the Miami Dolphins will start where they finished their 2019 season, in Gillette Stadium against the New England Patriots.
Let’s take a look at each team before Week 1.
Starting behind quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, the team will have first-round, future franchise QB Tua Tagovailoa watching and waiting in the back-up spot. Miami solidified that spot for Tagovailoa after the release of former first-round quarterback Josh Rosen.
Year after year after year, former Denver Bronco safety Steve Atwater has been denied recognition in the ProFootball Hall of Fame. After waiting 16 years, Atwater will finally be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 2020.
It’s hard to believe it took this long for Atwater to be recognized for the tremendous player that he was in the NFL. It’s even more surprising that a free safety with such power and impact on a Super Bowl caliber team was denied for so long.
Since the departure of quarterback Tom Brady from the New England Patriots to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the AFC East now is considered “up for grabs”. So which team is poised and ready to take over the reins?
With the Miami Dolphins in full rebuild mode and the Jets still finding their nitch with second-year Head Coach Adam Gase, the Bills are poised and are deemed the heavy favorites to take over the AFC East. Fourth-year head coach Sean McDermott brought the Buffalo Bills to a 10-6 record and second in the AFC East in 2019. With the aid of a departing Brady and a solid draft class(see below) for 2020, the Buffalo Bills and their Bills Mafia fan base are ready for an AFC East take-over.
You know how in the winter, or anytime really when that one coworker of yours is sneezing, coughing and blowing their nose constantly. Oh…and they may or may not be using hand sanitizer in between. And you ask them, “uhh…are you OK? Are you coming down with something?” And they instantly say, “I’m fine…I sound worse than how I feel.” You give them the side-eye cause they look like death warmed over, and pray that they don’t give you their crud. But the bottom line is, they just won’t go home??
Well, that’s sort of the opposite happened with Jets running back Le’Veon Bell. He had the flu and was sent home so that he wouldn’t get the rest of his teammates sick. Which is a smart move, because why would you want to get anyone sick? Though, in the interest of full disclosure, I did risk getting people sick in college once. But it was finals week, and I only had strep throat. So, I wore a mask and sat in the back of the class. I passed, no one got sick. Replay first down.
It’s hard to believe we are at the mid-point of the NFL season. As such, there were eight teams starting the year with brand new head coaches. Six of them are in their first head coaching position, while two have held the job before.
In the competition to see who made the best hiring decision, the clear – and only – winner at this point is the Green Bay Packers. Matt LeFleur has this team leading their division at 7-1. Now, perhaps it’s the Aaron Duo – quarterback Aaron Rodgers and running back Aaron Jones – who deserve some credit, but there are other teams in this group with talented players who are not even close to being .500. That means I’m giving the Packers an A on the hire. Trust me – other coaches might have found a way to screw up this team so I’ll give credit to LeFleur because he hasn’t.
Let’s take a look at the other seven teams to see how they are faring…
The Patriot’s reign over the AFC East appears to be in good standing.
The Patriots took their perfect 6-0 record into New York Monday night and completely dominated their AFC East rival New York Jets.
The Jets, coming off their huge win against the Dallas Cowboys last week at Met Life, failed to gain any ground in the standings. They are now sitting with a 1-5 record with little to no chance of seeing postseason play, let alone give the Patriots any sort of competition for an AFC East title.
When you think of the AFC East, you think about the New England Patriots. They have won the division title every year since 2003, with the exception of 2008. That’s a lot of years of dominance. But with the Reign of Brady coming to an end, and with the other three teams either revamping their teams, is the AFC East becoming more competitive? This season could be a preview of what’s to come in the future.
With that said, the Patriots still have a stronghold on the division, which is no surprise to anyone. Taking a look at week 7 and beyond, what can we expect from the AFC East?