Well folks, it’s the doldrums of the NFL season, so here’s a nice little filler article regarding the floor and ceiling of each AFC East team!
New York Jets
Floor: I can see the Jets winning as few as three games this year. They have the toughest SoS in the division and sixth toughest in the NFL overall. The nightmare scenario is that Zach Wilson doesn’t make any progress in his quest to become a starting caliber NFL QB and Robert Saleh was just horribly overrated as a coach because, hey, who couldn’t make an elite defense out of the personnel in SF? Combine the two and the Jets are just as pathetic as always.
Ceiling: On the flip side, the Jets have assembled a strong roster, on paper. If Wilson does take a step forward and Saleh isn’t completely incompetent, the Jets could put together a winning season and even make a push for a wildcard. A strong defense and adequate performance on offense could have Jets fans comparing the 2022 Jets to the heady days of Mark Sanchez and Rex Ryan. Gross.
Floor: Unlike the Jets, Miami already had a strong defense, every question mark on this team is on the offense. Unfortunately, they fired the architect of that strong defense and hired a nobody from San Fran who mostly has experience with a rushing offense. Because that’s what you want in today’s NFL. In this nightmare, Tua can’t overcome the noodle arm and the offense flounders while Bong Shula shows how inept he is on the defensive side of the ball. All the speed in the world on the outside doesn’t mean jack squat when your QB can’t get the ball outside the numbers reliably. The Dolphins take a huge step back to a mere six wins.
Ceiling: Wonder of wonders, the defense remains a strength because Mikey McD has the good sense to leave well enough alone and designs an offense that will maximize Tua’s one strength, accuracy, and let Hill and Waddle do the rest. A quick slant attack off play action thanks to a running game that should be improved thanks to McDaniel’s run game coordinator experience will allow Miami to actually field a top 15 offense for a change and remain an effective defense. The result is that they finally get a playoff berth with 10 wins, though only a wildcard because Josh Allen is still their daddy.
New England Patriots
Floor: The Patriots have the weakest roster in the division, overall, but probably still have the best coach. Unfortunately, Coach Belichick has to deal with GM Belichick and as a result, the team he has to coach just doesn’t have a lot of talent. The overly inflated defense of 2021 can’t keep up and YAC Jones still has no one worth throwing to outside of Hunter Henry. The schedule is unforgiving and Coach BB just can’t get the Patriots back to the playoffs. Six wins is their floor.
Ceiling: On the other hand, Coach Belichick is still Belichick and he’s been able to conjure up defenses out of thin air. If he gets Mac “Doughboy” Jones on Brady’s secret HGH and Stem Cell Smoothie diet, maybe those floaters he was air mailing last year can actually reach their target on time to turn into positive plays. You can lose a lot of money betting on Belichick to fail, hell, he even managed to win seven games with the shell of Cam Newton as his QB. If all goes well, the Patriots are pushing the Bills for a division title again and easily make the playoffs one way or the other with 11 wins.
Floor: The Bills have a really solid roster and a bonafide elite quarterback. Barring injury, 11 wins is their floor and I think we saw that last year. There’s certainly some stout opposition on the schedule this year and I truly think that Miami and NYJ got better overall, so the division might be tougher too. But the Bills are just too talented and too deep to realistically go under 11 wins on the season, unless catastrophe strikes.
Ceiling: And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. When I look at the schedule for the Bills in 2022, I don’t see a single team on the list that makes me think “ooh, that’s probably a loss”. If the Bills go out on any field and play their game to the height of their abilities, they will win every game. The Bills’ ceiling is 17 wins, and a Super Bowl victory. I don’t expect 17 wins, nor do I predict it. The Bills lost to Jacksonville last year, obviously any given Sunday is a real thing. But there’s no team on the schedule that they aren’t at least as good as, if not outright better. Not a one.
Bonus! Without predicting win totals, I think the Patriots could finish dead last in the division this year. Yes, even behind the Jets. I could see the final standings being Patriots < Jets < Dolphins < Bills. Truly we are in the end times.