Gone are the days when the AFC East was a cakewalk for Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots – these days the Pats are playing second fiddle in the odds to the dominant Buffalo Bills.
Belichick, Tom Brady and co won the East 17 times in 19 seasons between 2001 and 2019 – an incredible run of success which spoke volumes equally for how good New England was, and the weak opposition.
Now though, things are very different – Brady has taken his talents to Tampa and Pats owner Robert Kraft says no playoff wins in three years “bothers him”. Welp.
Buffalo has won the division for the last two years now, and a threepeat looks a pretty good bet right now. Here is the latest situation plus all the key offseason moves.
AFC East Odds
The early odds have the Bills as a strong favorite to retain the AFC East title. The Pats almost dethroned them last season, though New England was flattered by an astonishing mid-season swing where they won seven straight and Buffalo floundered.
A better illustration of the gulf between the two rosters came in the postseason, where Buffalo absolutely destroyed Belichick and his highly-rated defense in a 47-17 blowout. Utter destruction…
The Bills are not just favored to win the AFC East, they’re also favored to win the AFC Championship and Super Bowl LVII. Big Bill has it all to do.
New England meanwhile is not even second favorite now – that honor goes to Miami after a huge offseason upgrade headlined by that blockbusting Tyreek Hill trade. The Pats are only third best.
Here is the latest from major online bookmakers:
- -180 Buffalo Bills (FanDuel)
- +450 Miami Dolphins (FOX Bet)
- +500 New England Patriots (DraftKings)
- +2200 New York Jets (DraftKings)
NB: Odds correct on June 16, 2022
AFC East Predictions
It’s not a sexy pick, and it’s not going to make you super-rich, but we do not envisage any other scenario than the Buffalo Bills winning the AFC East again in 2022.
Only a catastrophic injury to Josh Allen (we should not really tempt fate) can stop the Bills reigning again, and as Super Bowl favorite they have much bigger fish to fry deep into January and February.
If betting Buffalo at -180 does not interest you, then the Over/Under lines for regular-season wins have a little more interest for casual bettors. We’ll also take the Bills to go over the current 11.5 line at -135.
New England currently has it’s line set at 8.5 and would you bet against Belichick posting another winning season? Nope, us neither. Take the -115.
OddsCritic AFC East Predictions & Best Bets
- Buffalo Bills to win the AFC East at -180 (FanDuel)
- Buffalo Bills to have OVER 11.5 regular-season wins at -135 (PointsBet)
- New England Patriots to have OVER 8.5 regular-season wins at -115 (PointsBet)
- New England Patriots to make the playoffs at +160 (PointsBet)
Offseason moves: Free agency and trades
Buffalo Bills: The Bills looked like a team capable of winning a Super Bowl in 2021 – they just happened to run into Patrick Mahomes and that incredible Chiefs offense on a memorable night in Arrowhead. The end result was a heartbreaking 42-36 loss despite a brilliant performance from Buffalo QB Josh Allen, who will start 2022 as MVP favorite.
The Bills went out in the offseason and made a huge splash by signing two-time Super Bowl champion Von Miller to a six-year deal worth $120million. Von was a big part of that Super Bowl win for the Rams in February, proving yet again he is the ultimate big-game player. He’s been signed for games in January, to get Buffalo over the hump. Time will tell if he’s the missing piece.
Buffalo did a nice job of upgrading the very few weaknesses it had heading into the NFL Draft in April. Florida CB Kaiir Elam in Round 1 should really add quality to the secondary, while second-round RB James Cook (brother of Dalvin) just adds another weapon for Josh Allen to go to war with in 2022. Also look out for fifth-round slot receiver Khalil Shakir (Boise State) getting a shot to replace the departed Cole Beasley.
New England Patriots: That seven-game win streak in mid-season really built up hopes that another dynasty might be incoming in Foxboro. But the end of the 2021 season made us tap the brakes just a little. While Mac Jones had the most impressive year of any rookie QB, he may also have a relatively low ceiling and we need to see more to believe he is the true heir apparent to Brady.
The defense remains strong and another weapon or two offensively would not go amiss. The 2021 signature for the Pats was to destroy bad teams and lose to the good ones – the epitome of a well coached unit which plays to its level. New England absolutely needed help at WR to open up that passing game just a little more, and it did bring in reinforcements. DeVante Parker arrived via a trade from Miami while Baylor speedster Tyquan Thornton was selected in Round 2 of the Draft.
The Pats’ first-round pick remember was Chattanooga guard Cole Strange – a pick that had Rams brass openly howling with laughter during a press conference. Better believe Belichick will use that as bulletin board material in 2022.
Miami Dolphins: The Fish fired Brian Flores after another tumultuous season in South Beach, though the move did come after a second winning season. No wonder then that his replacement Mike McDaniel has a shot at at least challenging the Bills and Pats.
Miami had a horrible offensive line in 2021 but overhauled that united brilliantly by signing former Dallas guard Connor Williams and the best LT on the open market Terron Armstead. The blockbusting trade for Kansas City Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill gives another dimension to the Miami passing game when paired with Jaylen Waddle – there are no longer any excuses for QB Tua Tagovailoa.
The Dolphins didn’t have a pick until 102 overall in the Draft following the trade for Tyreek, but it did snag speedy LB Channing Tindall out of national champion Georgia. While the passing game should go up several notches, we also expect the Dolphins rushing attack to be much improved in 2022. McDaniel remember was the evil genius behind that sensational ground game in San Francisco in recent years.
Throw in a talented defense and it’s clear Miami should be a much improved team in 2022. Good enough to win the division? That is very much another matter.
New York Jets: A laughing stock for so long, it feels like the Jets are at least starting to make good moves on a regular basis. Their success in 2022 will though be tied to the development of second-year quarterback Zach Wilson. We saw the odd flash from the second overall pick in 2021, but injuries hampered his rookie campaign.
New York has built around Wilson, signing a pair of tight ends in former Bengal C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin and beefing up their offensive line with the $40million three-year deal given to 49ers guard Laken Tomlinson. The defense also got some attention with former Seattle corner D.J. Reed and Tampa safety Jordan Whitehead bolstering the back end.
The Draft – by national consensus – was terrific for the Jets as they aced Round 1 in particular. They ended up getting three cornerstone players at key positions of need – Cincinnati CB Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner, Ohio State WR Garrett Wilson and Florida State DE Jermaine Johnson. The Jets also brought in two excellent new weapons for Wilson, in the shape of Iowa State RB Breece Hall and Ohio State TE Jeremy Ruckert – great job.
New York is still a couple of years from challenging in the East, even if Wilson is the real deal. The best it can hope for in 2022 is that the right moves start to bring the right results.
AFC East Schedules for 2022
We do now know when the games will be played after the confirmation of the NFL schedule, and here is each team’s 2022 opponents:
Home: Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings Pittsburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans
Road: Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Rams
New England Patriots
Home: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts
Road: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Las Vegas Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers
Home: Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Minnesota Vikings, Pittsburgh Steelers
Road: Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions, Los Angeles Chargers, San Francisco 49ers
New York Jets
Home: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars
Road: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks
Most of this comes down to the Patriots of course – which has seven of them since Belichick came to town. The Miami Dolphins have two Lombardi trophies with the Jets holding that solitary win on the back of Joe Namath’s famous guarantee. In total the division has won it all 11 times (the other courtesy of the Baltimore Colts, no longer in the East of course).
Like we told you, Buffalo is a strong favorite at -180 (bet $180 to win $100) on the back of claiming the title in 2020 and 2021.
* Head-to-head record
* Best division record
* Best record in common games.
* Best conference record
* Strength of victory in all games.
* Strength of schedule in all games
* Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed in all games.
* Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed in all games.
* Best net points in common games.
* Best net points in all games.
* Best net touchdowns in all games.
* Coin toss
The Bills are a red-hot favorite to win the East, coming off a dominant division title in 2021 and further upgrades in the offseason (headed by luring Von Miller away from the Rams). Current odds for Buffalo are -180 (bet $180 to win $100). Nobody – except the high rollers – is getting rich off that.
The Fish are now second favorite to win the AFC East, ahead of New England, after a huge offseason shopping spree. This was headlined by the blockbusting trade for Tyreek Hill, but also included key offensive line upgrades with the arrival of LT Terron Armstead and LG Connor Williams. Odds for Miami to win the East right now are +450 (bet $100 to win $450).
The Pats are only third best after a season in 2021 which promised so much but ended in that devastating demolition by Buffalo in the playoffs. Bill Belichick’s team is a +500 shot (bet $100 to win $500) to win the AFC East in 2022.
The Jets, not surprisingly, are the outsider of the four to win the East in 2022. But the odds are coming down after a terrific offseason headed by that great Draft in April. New York came away with three excellent first-round selections at key positions, and followed up by providing more weapons for Zach Wilson. New York is now +2200 to win the East (bet $100 to win $2200) – it had been +3000 a few short weeks ago.