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.
The Miami Dolphins have released their 2021 NFL training camp schedule. It will be held at their new facility, the Baptist Health Training Complex, located in beautiful Miami Gardens, Florida.
There is no doubt that all eyes will be on Miami’s quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who, to say the least, had some struggles during the coronavirus plagued 2020 season. Tagovailoa was benched by Dolphins head coach Brian Flores during the team’s playoff run late in December, only to have to go back to him after named starter Ryan Fitzpatrick tested positive for COVID-19.
Now comes a brand new season. Let’s, for the sake of argument, give Tagovailoa the benefit of the doubt. I say sake of argument purely because the fans have seemingly divided, making it so you are either for him or against him. I find myself on the fence. I have spoken to many NFL experts on his play and the 2020 season. They all agreed that as unorthodox the season was, it is still too early to make a call on him. And from all that I have seen, the Dolphins agree.
How popular is that headline? Pretty popular if you live in South Florida.
Going into week 5 of the NFL season the Miami Dolphins are sitting at 1-3. Have you seen enough of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick? I mean really. We all know about “Fitzmagic”. He is fun to watch and has plenty of drive left to keep him trotting out on the field.
Honestly, you couldn’t find a more driven guy then Fitz. He loves to play the game and the players love him. He knows how old he is, and he also knows that the Dolphins have his replacement sitting right behind him. Which hey, we get it. If you have a job and know a younger, more athletic guy is biting at the bit to take it, you’re going to give it all you got. I am not here to tell you about Ryan Fitzpatrick. We all know his story.
With week one in the books, the Miami Dolphins opened up their 2020 campaign right where they left off, visiting AFC East rival New England Patriots. Except, this time, it was the Patriots that would end up coming out on top, sending Miami to a 0-1 start.
The Patriots, behind new starting quarterback Cam Newton, put together a good game plan that made playing in an empty Gillette Stadium, and no Tom Brady, not a problem at all. Dolphins failed to take advantage of either.
Offensively, where do I start? I have to start with the Dolphins offensive line. Every year it seems fans are having the same discussion…no push upfront. The Patriots were shoving them around all game long. Yes, it’s a new unit, but you should have at least some continuity built up while in training camp.
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.
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.
Over the last few weeks in the NFL, we’ve heard a lot about the NFC West, quarterback Lamar Jackson and the amazing Baltimore Ravens, the troubles in Dallas, and the possible decline of New England Patriots QB Tom Brady. Who we haven’t been hearing much about are the Buffalo Bills, which has been a huge miss by the media. Its time to give credit where credit is due… let’s talk Bills.
The Buffalo Bills have a 9-3 record. The Bills. 9-3. The same Buffalo Bills that hadn’t been to a playoff game in 17 years, and made it to that Wild Card game in 2017 with a record of 9-7. This means that unless the Bills lose out, which is insanely unlikely, they will have the best record they’ve had since 1999. 20 long, heartbreaking, fandom testing years.
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?
When looking at this week’s New England Patriots game against the Buffalo Bills, not only is this an early pivotal AFC east match-up, this game already has the word epic swirling all around it. And it’s not just because both teams are 3-0. Oh no. It’s also because this has garnered what could be the strangest headline in NFL history.
Before Sunday’s matchup, Bills fans will again be warned, via social media, that there would be repercussions if any… umm… “toys” are tossed on the field. And I don’t mean kids toys. Anyone caught throwing said toys will face a lifetime ban.
One thing I know about being a life long Dolphins fans, Bills fans are easily the top-five wildest fan bases in the NFL. So this is nothing but a challenge for them.