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The NFL’s New Best Division Has Ascended With These Improvements

Updated: Jun 10, 2023

The title for the NFL’s best division has been rotating for quite some time. Lots of NFC Wests in there, some AFC North here and there… After a 2022 season where all four teams had over seven wins and two made the playoffs, the AFC East is poised to take the mantle of the NFL’s best division after an offseason where each team improved itself. Here are the biggest improvements that will catapult every single AFC East squad.


Bills: Adding Depth At Positions Of Need


For an NFL contender as talented as the Bills, there aren’t really many gaping holes to address, and often that can make the free agency and draft process difficult. The Bills, however, saw injuries compromise important position groups in 2022 and showed a clear need for more solid players and more depth in general.


Their loss to Cincinnati showed a major need for improvement in the trenches. The Bills listened. Adding McGovern added serious star power at guard, while O’Cyrus Torrence himself was one of the absolute steals of the draft. As far as skill positions are concerned, they added important RB depth in Damien Harris, who, while he does have health concerns, is very reliable when healthy.


Furthermore, their drafting of Dalton Kincaid adds more depth alongside the talented but inconsistent Dawson Knox. The Bills not only gain another playmaker but also gain the ability to try two tight-end sets. Defensively, adding Taylor Rapp helped a safety group that dealt with a lot of injuries in 2022 and made a valuable addition to the secondary.


In the meanwhile, they made a number of re-signings to keep the core of the team intact. The Bills may have not had the flashiest offseason in the NFL, but they created an even more stable version of last year’s team.


Dolphins: Bolstering Their Secondary


The Dolphins already had a fairly good secondary last year, but it faltered against elite passing offenses. This offseason, they turned that unit from good to elite. Adding Jalen Ramsey gives them a seriously threatening CB duo with him and Xavien Howard that will allow the Dolphins to limit NFL offenses with multiple threatening weapons.


In the draft, they added Cam Smith, a prospect whose ability to read the QB and whose athleticism made him a first-round level NFL draft prospect. The Phins were able to nab him in the second in a move that was certainly one of the steals of the draft.


Finally, they added a very talented player in DeShon Elliot, a guy who can cover AND hit effectively, from the Lions to a safety group that was somewhat lacking in depth and top-level talent.

Patriots: Extremely Improved Offensive Coaching

Two of the biggest weaknesses for the Patriots in 2022-23 were their offensive play calling and their offensive line, or lack thereof. Mac Jones rarely had time to work with, and when he did, him and the offense were not going into the game with a properly ironed out plan. They made big steps in addressing this over the offseason. Matt Patricia, who was responsible for both offensive play calling and offensive line coaching, finds himself on the Eagles.


Meanwhile, the offensive coordinating duties will be taken over by Bill O’Brien, who has had this position for the Patriots before, and unlike Patricia, has been around offense in different capacities his entire career. Furthermore, both in college and in the pros, he has worked with a lot of young QBs and could be a great fit for Mac. For the offensive line, they hired Oregon’s Adrian Klemm, who is a rising star in the coaching world, and actually played offensive line in New England before coaching.


First of all, by assigning two people to a pair of roles that one person had last year, each person can focus on their duties completely. Furthermore, they struck the perfect balance of staying within the Belichick tree and gaining outside, offensively strong perspectives.


This will allow the Patriots to get a true answer as far as how good Mac really is and how the offense can function. There’s no doubt the offense will see improvement, so the only question is: how much?

Jets: Their Best QB In Decades

Last year, the Jets already had a lot of the ingredients they needed to succeed. Their running back room was decent – especially before Breece Hall’s injury. They had promising, young wideouts, a stout defense, both up front and in the secondary.


One of the biggest missing factors was consistent QB play. Whether it was Wilson, White or Flacco, nobody was able to make the most of the offensive core for multiple games, and the season was littered with missed open throws and costly turnovers.

With Rodgers, they gain someone who has zip and accuracy, and can bring out the best in a fairly deep receiver group of Garret Wilson, Mecole Hardman, and two weapons he already has a rapport with in Randall Cobb and Allen Lazard. Rodgers is well known for taking care of the ball better than almost anyone in history, and while least season wasn’t his best, it was also the only NFL season he’s had since 2011 with double-digit picks.


In an even more outrageous stat, he hasn’t had under 60% completion in a season since 2007. Most importantly, he’s been there and done that. He knows how to lead a team from behind, how to make big throws in clutch moments, and how to navigate the course of a season when the playoffs are on the line.


The Jets still have other gaps, offensive line being the most glaring now, but expect the Jets to look a lot cleaner offensively in 2023 and ascend a few spots if not more in the NFL hierarchy.

 

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