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2022 AFC East Predictions: Will The Patriots Make The Playoffs Or Collapse?

The Patriots and their division rivals have a lot of question marks heading into next season. How will the four teams in the AFC East respond to a completely evolved conference?

After six months, hundreds of days, and an abundance of transactions, the off-season is finally coming to a close. Fans saw Tyreek Hill, Russel Wilson, DeVante Adams, AJ Brown, Matt Ryan, Von Miller, Julio Jones, and Jarvis Landry find new teams in one of the most exciting offseasons in recent memory.

The AFC East was not left out of any fun, meaning the division could become interestingly close, unlike in past years. Now that we have a general idea of what the rosters will look like on Week One, let’s take a deeper dive and predict the standings for this promising division.

The Miami Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins make a solid case to be a top-seeded team in the NFL this year simply because of the opponents they will be facing. Only nine other teams in the NFL have an easier schedule than the Miami Dolphins. In addition, this team might shock the nation with the secondary, receiving core, and youth they have on their roster.

With that being said, the very opposite can also happen. Picturing Tua Tagovailoa as the captain of a top-seeded playoff team is difficult, mainly because he has never thrown over 18 touchdowns in his career. If he and the Dolphins want to succeed in the ever-so-talented AFC, a significant shift in production will have to occur. Do I think that the needed shift will take place? No.

Game By Game Prediction

Week One vs. Patriots: Loss

Week Two vs. Ravens: Win

Week Three vs. Bills: Loss

Week Four vs. Bengals: Loss

Week Five vs. Jets: Win

Week Six vs. Vikings: Loss

Week Seven vs. Steelers: Win

Week Eight vs. Lions: Win

Week Nine vs. Bears: Win

Week Ten vs. Browns: Loss

Week Eleven: (bye)

Week Twelve vs. Texans: Win

Week Thirteen vs. 49ers: Win

Week Fourteen vs. Chargers: Loss

Week Fifteen vs. Bills: Loss

Week Sixteen vs. Packers: Loss

Week Seventeen vs. Patriots: Win

Week Eighteen vs. Jets: Win

Final Record: 9-8

I predict the Dolphins to miss out on a playoff spot by a few games. Tua, in my opinion, will be the main factor holding this extremely talented roster from success.

The Buffalo Bills

The Bills are the most likely candidate from this division to raise the Lombardi Trophy in early February. The roster features a top group of receivers, quarterbacks, linebackers, and cornerbacks. This is most definitely their year to make a deep playoff run.

Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs are an electric duo to watch every time they take the field, and all NFL fans will get very familiar with watching this duo on primetime. The Bills are going to be around as a contending team for a very long time. This year could be the beginning of their dominant hold on the NFL.

Game By Game Prediction

Week One vs. Rams: Loss

Week Two vs. Titans: Win

Week Three vs. Dolphins: Win

Week Four vs. Ravens: Win

Week Five vs. Steelers: Win

Week Six vs. Chiefs: Win

Week Seven: (bye)

Week Eight vs. Packers: Win

Week Nine vs. Jets: Win

Week Ten vs. Vikings: Win

Week Eleven vs. Browns: Loss

Week Twelve vs. Lions: Win

Week Thirteen vs. Patriots: Win

Week Fourteen vs. Jets: Win

Week Fifteen vs. Dolphins: Win

Week Sixteen vs. Bears: Win

Week Seventeen vs. Bengals: Loss

Week Eighteen vs. Patriots: Win

Final Record: 14-2

I predict the Bills to have one of the most dominant seasons in franchise history. Fueled by a Week One loss against the Rams, I expect Allen to lead the charge against top teams like the Chiefs, Packers, and Ravens to claim the top seed in the AFC. The days of New England humiliating the Bills are over.

The New York Jets

The narratives on the Jets this coming year have been mixed. Some predict the Jets to be a sleeper team in the AFC, while others predict to continue their bottom-feeder performances. I think their excellent draft will significantly contribute to their future improvement, with Sauce Gardner being a DPOY and Breece Hall taking over the run game. Nonetheless, I doubt the New York Jets will perform well enough to remain competitive in the division.

Game By Game Prediction

Week One vs. Ravens: Loss

Week Two vs. Browns: Loss

Week Three vs. Bengals: Loss

Week Four vs. Steelers: Win

Week Five vs. Dolphins: Loss

Week Six vs. Packers: Loss

Week Seven vs. Broncos: Loss

Week Eight vs. Patriots: Loss

Week Nine vs. Bills: Loss

Week Ten: (bye)

Week Eleven vs. Patriots: Loss

Week Twelve vs. Bears: Win

Week Thirteen vs. Vikings: Win

Week Fourteen vs. Bills: Loss

Week Fifteen vs. Lions: Win

Week Sixteen vs. Jaguars: Win

Week Seventeen vs. Seahawks: Win

Week Eighteen vs. Dolphins: Loss

Final Record: 6-11

The Jets may have the capacity for an upset in one or two of these games, but I don’t see them stirring up much in the NFL. With the announcement of Mekhi Becton, the former first-round pick, getting injured, the already struggling offensive line on the Jets will have to suffer even more. Couple that with a young, inexperienced quarterback in Zach Wilson, and you have a serious offensive problem.

The New England Patriots

It is abnormal to have a sophomore quarterback already being held to veteran expectations, yet here we are. While quarterbacks from the 2021 draft class are still catching onto the speed of everything, Mac Jones is looking to throw 30 touchdowns and make another playoff appearance. Out of the five quarterbacks taken in last year’s first round, Mac Jones has been the standout performer, and it isn’t particularly close.

There are some coaching concerns to consider, but I think the Patriots have been criminally underrated this offseason. Although their roster did take a hit by losing JC Jackson and Shaq Mason, I have difficulty convincing myself that those players will be the difference between a ten-win season and a seven-win season.

Game By Game Prediction

Week One vs. Dolphins: Win

Week Two vs. Steelers: Win

Week Three vs. Ravens: Loss

Week Four vs. Packers: Loss

Week Five vs. Lions: Win

Week Six vs. Browns: Win

Week Seven vs. Bears: Win

Week Eight vs. Jets: Win

Week Nine vs. Colts: Win

Week Ten: (bye)

Week Eleven vs. Jets: Win

Week Twelve vs. Vikings: Win

Week Thirteen vs. Bills: Loss

Week Fourteen vs. Cardinals: Win

Weel Fifteen vs. Raiders: Loss

Week Sixteen vs. Bengals: Loss

Week Seventeen vs. Dolphins: Loss

Week Eighteen vs. Bills: Loss

Final Record: 10-6

This prediction would place the Patriots at the same record as last year, which is not an outrageous guess. However, there are a lot of games on this schedule that could go either way and how the Patriots respond in those close situations will determine the fate of their season. The last four games of the season against the Raiders, Bengals, Dolphins, and Bills will be necessary, but unfortunately, I have the Patriots losing all four.

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