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  • Writer's pictureMason Dalley

2023 NFL Season Preview: AFC EAST

Team Totals, Player Props and other Season Long Picks

Yahoo Sports


I have to preface this entire preview with my bias. I am a Patriots fan. Dyed in the wool type of stuff. I will be looking at the Patriots in what will likely be a more positive light than most, but I think I have enough nuance in me to be fair to every other team in the division, while maintaining a realistic outcome for the Patriots. With all that being said, let's rip.




New York Jets

O/U: 9.5

Super Bowl: +1800

AFC Champion: +1000

AFC East Winner: +250

Getty Images

2022 Record: 7-10(8-9 ATS)

2022 Offense: 29th(DVOA 26th)

2022 Defense: 4th(DVOA 5th)

2022 Special Teams: 11th(DVOA 21st)


Free Agency


Additions: QB Tim Boyle, RT Billy Turner, WR Mecole Hardman, C Wes Schweitzer, P Thomas Morstead, WR Randall Cobb, WR Allen Lazard, S Adrian Amos, QB Aaron Rodgers, LT Yodny Cajuste, C Trystan Colon-Castillo, S Chuck Clark, IDL Quinton Jefferson, IDL Al Woods, RB Dalvin Cook


Re-signings: LS Thomas Hennessy, EDGE Solomon Thomas, IDL Quinnen Williams, LB Quincy WIlliams, FB Nick Bawden, S Jordan WHitehead, IDL Isaiah Mack, K gre Zurlein, C Connort McGovern, EDGE Carl Lawson, EDGE Bryce Huff, LG Adam Pankey


Departures: CB Zane Lewis, S WillParks, EDGE Vinny Curry, RB Ty Johnson, WR Ridney Adams, RT Mike Remmers, S Marcell Harris, RG Laurent Duvernay-Taardif, S Lamarcus Joyner, LB Kwon Alexander, QB Joe Flacco, RB James Robinson, RT George Fant, LT Eric Smith, RG Dru Smith, WR Elijah Moore, QB Mike White, LG Dan Feeney, LT Cedric Ogbuehi, WR Braxton Berrios, WR Jeff Smith, IDL Nathan Shepherd, RG Nate Herbig, P Braden Mann, IDL Sheldon Rankins


Draft

Round 1: Will McDonald IV(15), Iowa State EDGE

Round 2: Joe Tippmann(43), Wisconsin C

Round 4: Carter Warren(120) Pittsburgh OT

Round 5: Israel Abanikanda(143), Pittsburgh RB

Round 6: Zaire Barnes(184), Western Michigan LB, Jarrick Bernard-Converse(204), LSU CB, Zach Kuntz(220) Old Dominion TE


Undrafted Free Agents of Note

RB Travis Dye, USC

EDGE Deslin Alexander, Pitt

S Trey Dean III, Florida

WR Jerome Kapp, Kutztown



2023 Preview


The Jets are attempting the Tampa Bay Buccaneer and Los Angeles Rams approach of a get a ring quick by mortgaging the future on aging QB. It's a more than a fair strategy to try. Aaron Rodgers had a bad 2022 for his standards, but a bad year for his standards would be 2nd only to peak Chad Pennington when it comes to all-time Jets quarterbacks. Without a doubt his presence raises the floor of this team. The biggest differences between Rodgers moving to NY and Brady and Stafford moving to Tampa and LA respectively are the roster and coaching staff situations, which I'll breakdown now.


Starting with the coaching, Robert Saleh lost my confidence last season. I cannot get behind a coach who is willingly playing players that harm their ability to win football games. Playing Zach Wilson for as long as he did to curry favor with the owner instead of trying to win football games does not sit well with me. Zach Wilson was a full nepotism pick, fueled by Woody Johnson paying off PFF to say he's amazing so he can draft his friend's nephew. It's nothing new in the NFL, but going full nepotism for the 2nmd overall pick is so much more catastrophic than for a coaching staff. It's obviously a tough situation for Saleh, but I truly think he's more cut out to be a long term defensive coordinator than a head coach His defensive schemes maximize talents to an exceptional degree. However, he also got rid of offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, who runs a Shanahan flavored west coast offense, to hire Nathaniel Hackett, who runs a Shanahan flavored west coast offense, but unlike LaFleur, has a history of not maximizing talent on offense, and a very poor track record as a play caller. Its a bizarre move from a pure football sense, but a sensible one if you're more interested in landing a big fish to rectify lighting a 2nd overall pick on fire.


Hackett is a bad coach, but he has great vibes and everyone loves him. I don't trust him to call plays either, since last time he was doing that the Jaguars were a perennial bottom 5-8 offense, despite a solid offensive line, Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, and Leonard Fournette. It's a move you make to appease a free agent. The offense will be better because they have Rodgers, but I also don't think it will be better than around 12th, just because of Hackett, and personnel.


The defense is easy to cover. Quinnen Williams is a monster in the middle, only behind Aaraon Donald and Chris Jones, maybe throw Jeffery Simmons in their too, but at worst Williams is the 4th best IDL in the whole NFL. The corners are more than solid between Sauce Gardner, DJ Reed, and Michael Carter II. John Franklin-Myers is also a great defensive lineman and he's very versatile, playing anywhere from over the guards to outside the TE. The defense scares me in very slight aspects, not enough to have it fall out of the top 10, but enough for it to be taken to task by smart teams. The Edge players in Nickel, which is base now that can't be stated enough, are Carl Lawson, who is serviceable but nothing needle moving, and a rookie in Will McDonald IV. If the team they're facing has good tackles they'll be able to run outside zone very effectively since the linebackers and safeties are also mediocre. Quincy Williams and CJ Mosely are fine, Tyler Adams and Jordan Whitehead are fine, but nothing special and are incredibly reliant on Quinnen Williams to wreck the game and make their lives easier. Sauce will erase his side of the field a la Richard Sherman in the Legion of Boom, but there isn't a Kam Chancellor or Earl Thomas to elevate this defense to historically special. Still a great unit on the whole.


The offense will be better with Rodgers, but man, they have some very, very heavily ignored negatives that no one is mentioning in the national media. After Garret Wilson, who is nasty don't get it twisted, they have nothing inspiring. In fact, they traded away inspiring in Elijah Moore in order to bring in... Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb and Mecole Hardman coming off an injury?????? HUH??????????? Again, these aren't moves that help winning in the long term, at all. They are moves to appease to a QB who they had to give up draft capital to get. This is on top of the fact that they failed to address their biggest need in the draft in a meaningful way. They did not take a first round offensive lineman, and let the Patriots and Steelers hose them with draft day trade where those teams ended up with their players of choice while the Jets took an EDGE probably a round early. They needed to be willing to trade up for Broderick Jones, or even Peter Skoronski to make sure Rodgers is properly protected. The offensive line has a chance to be the worst in the whole AFC. Connor McGovern is a good center, Alijah Vera-Tucker only played 432 snaps last season and he needs to be on the field because he's at least average. The other three projected lineman are Laken Tomlinson, a bottom 3rd guard in the NFL, Duane Brown, a bottom quarter tackle in the NFL, and Mehki Becton, who just hasn't played football in two seasons due to injury. It's a bad situation. Maybe Breece Hall and Dalvin Cook have enough magic after contact to make things work, but its just a poor group that will ultimately cost them games.


All of this is said to say this, this Jets team is nowhere near the teams Tom Brady and Matthew Stafford joined. Brady joined a Buccs team with the best offensive line in the NFL, including a rookie 1st rounder in Triston Wirfs, arguably the best 1-2 punch at receiver in the NFL in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, and the friends he brought with him were Gronk and Antonio Brown. With an incredibly experienced and proven coaching staff lead by Bruce Arians. The defense was a bunch of sickos too, they were ready to win a Super Bowl with just the sheer talent on the team


Matthew Stafford joined a similarly built team, Cooper Kupp as a transcendent WR when healthy, the Offensive Line was an experienced unit that had played years in the same system, and McVay is a wicked solid coah. And oh yeah the greatest defensive player of my lifetime anchored a top 10 unit. Again, just a better infrastructure than what the Jets offer.


OVER OR UNDER

The offensive line is so weak that it will be holding back the team to a degree I don't think the national media wants to acknowledge. Rodgers has only played behind a good at worst OLine, and he's joining a far superior conference and division. I'm going under, but I think they win exactly 9 games.


Player Prop

Garrett Wilson is a good player that will only catch fewer than 87 passes if Rodgers decides he's only throwing to Lazard and Randall Cobb, especially at +105




New England Patriots

O/U: 7.5

Super Bowl: +6000

AFC Champion: +4000

AFC East Winner: +800

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

2022 Record: 8-9(7-9-1 ATS)

2022 Offense: 17th(DVOA 24th)

2022 Defense: 11th(DVOA 3rd)

2022 Special Teams: 7th(32nd)


Free Agency


Additions: RT Riley Reiff, LT Calvin Anderson, QB Trace McSorley, WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, TE Mike Gesicki, TE Anthony FIrkser, LB Chris Board, P Corliss Waitman


Re-signings: TE Scotty Washington, LB Raekwon McMillan, CB Myles Bryant, WR Matt Slater, LB MackWilson, CB Jonathan Jones, LS Joe Cardona, LG James Ferentz, CB Jalen Mills, S Jabril Peppers, LB Ja'Whaun Bentley, WR Devante Parker, IDL Daniel Ekuale, S Cody Davis, IDL Carl Davis


Departures: CB Tae Hayes, K Quinn Nordin, P Michael Palardy, RT Marcus Cannon, IDL Labryan Ray, RB Damien Harris, P Jake Bailey, RT Isaiah Wynn, TE Jonnu Smith, LT Yodny Cajuste, WR Jakobi Meyers, QB Brian Hoyer, WR Nelson Agholor, CB Joejuan WIlliams


Draft

Round 1: Christian Gonzalez(17), Oregon CB

Round 2: Keion White(46), Georgia EDGE

Round 3: Marte Mapu(76) Sacramento State S

Round 4: Jake Andrews(107) Troy C, Chad Ryland(112), Maryland K, Sidy Sow(117) Eastern Michigan OG

Round 5: Atonio Mafi(144), UCLA OG

Round 6: Kayshon Boutte(187), LSU WR, Brice Baringer(192), Michigan State P, Demario Douglas(210), Liberty WR, Ameer Speed(214), Michigan State CB

Round 7: Isaiah Bolden(245), Jacksonville State CB


Undrafted Free Agents of Note

QB/WR: Malik Cunningham, Louisville

TE Johnny Lumpkin, Louisiana

LB Jourdan Heilig, Appalachian State

WR Ed Lee, Rhode Island

IDL Justus Tavai, San Diego State



2023 Preview


The Patriots had the franchise set back no fewer than 5 years by the Matt Patricia and Joe Judge offensive hires. This draft is evidence of that, and that there is only one offensive draft pick on the opening day roster from 2022, the year Matt Patricia and Joe Judge had input on offensive personnel. The main issue is that they drafted for a West Coast offense, but the guys drafting for it had no idea how to caoch it to begin with because they're not offensive coaches. It's a retooling era for the Patriots, and I think they're on the right track.


The good news is that they have an new Offensive Coordinator and a new Offensive line coach, and both of them have great track records. Bill O'Brien got teams with TJ Yates at QB to the playoffs and ruinning good offense, I think he can make it work with Mac Jones. The offensive line coach is former Oregon Run Game Coordinator and Offensive Line Coach Adrian Klemm. He helped Penei Sewell develop into a top prospect and the Ducks in 2022 only allowed 5 sacks on the season. He has pedigree and should be able to mold all of the young lineman taken in this past draft. Play Calling+Play Design and line-play were by far and away the Patriots biggest issues in 2022 and just with O'Brien and Klemm that should improve.


I'm not going to assess any offensive player based on 2022 because its impossible and unfair to the players. You could have had Mahomes and any assortment of all-pro lineman and playmakers you want playing on the Patriots last year and they still would have gone 8-9 or 9-8. It was that poor of an offense at a fundamental level.


With all that being said, the pieces are there for at least an average offensive line betweem David Andrews, Michael Onwenu, and Trent Brown. Sidy Sow and Atonio Mafi could also take snaps at guard while Onwenu kicks out to right tackle, he's that talented on the right side. Camp has soured a lot of people on the offensive line but there's reason to hope for at least average play. Mac Jones will be better with a coordinator that knows more about offensive football than he does, and one that can speak the same language as him offensively. The pass catchers are fine. You can do a lot worse than Devante Parker, JJSS, and Kendrick Bourne at wideout but you can also do better. Mike Gesicki and Hunter Henry are a great TE tandem and should provide some matchup headaches for defenses. Rhamondre Stevenson is a good, complete back that will be spelled by Zeke when needed. What will be fascinating is to see how many snaps Kayshon Boutte and Demario Douglas get. The late round receivers have popped at camp and in the pre-season, and could greatly improve the receiving corp. Boutte in particular has the make up of a true #1 receiver and he fell strictly for the off the field reasons. Honestly if this offense can score around 24-27 points per game, they'll be a playoff team, because the stars of the show are the other side of the ball.


It's rare for a top 5 defense to improve. Typically you lose key contributors in free agency and replace them with guys who just aren't as good. The Patriots retained all of their key contributors and have added talent through the draft. Josh Uche, Christian Barmore, Keion White, and Matthew Judon is a hellacious front 4 and has a strong case to the best front 4 in the NFL. Ju'Whuan Bentley is a monster in the run game and an overall great middle linebacker. Then you get to the secondary which might be the single most versatile position group in the NFL. Jonathan Jones, Kyle Dugger, Marcus Jones, Jack Jones, and Jabril Peppers is a collection of great talent to begin with. Adding Chrsitian Gonzalez and Marte Mapu to this group feels like cheating because Gonzalez has lockdown, DROY potential while Mapu is a heat seeking missile that can play in the Box or outside. The defense is going to be a top 5 unit again, and frankly has top 1 potential.


Over or Under

Over. The AFC East is a great division, and I see whoever comes in last having a record of 8-9 at worst.


Player Prop

Matthew Judon OVER 11.75 Sacks. The Patriots front 4 are going to force lineman into 1 on 1's and Judon has the bend and the burst to clean up his own pressure, or the pressures of others.




Miami Dolphins

O/U: 9.5

Super Bowl: +2500

AFC Champion: +1200

AFC East Winner: +300

Getty

2022 Record: 9-8(9-8 ATS)

2022 Offense: 11th(DVOA 7th)

2022 Defense: 24th(DVOA 15th)

2022 Special Teams: 19th(DVOA 28th)


Free Agency


Additions: TE Tyler Kroft, WR Freddie Swain, TE Eric Saubert, WR Robbie Anderson, QB mike WHite, LG Dan Feeney, LT Cedric Ogbeuhi, WR Braxton Berrios, S Deshon Elliioott, P Jake Bailey, RT Isaiah Wynn, CB Jalen Ramsey, EDGE Malik Reed, LB David Long Jr


Re-signings: RB Salvon Ahmed, WR River Cracraft, RB Raheem Mostert, CB Nik Needham, RB Myles Gaskin, LT Kendall Lam, CB justin Bethel, FB John Lovett, RB Jeff Wilson, LT Geron Christian, CB Elijah Campbell, TE Durham Smythe, LB Duke Riley, EDGE Andrew van Ginkel


Departures: EDGE Trey Flowers, QB teddy Bridgewater, LB Sam Eguavoen, EDGE Porter Gustin, EDGE Melvin Ingram, IDL Justin Zimmer, LT Eric Fisher, S Clayton Fejedelem, TE Cethan Carter, CB Byron Jones, TE Adam Shaheen, WR trent Sherfield, RT Brandon Shell, P Thomas Morstead, S Eric Rowe, TE Mike Gesicki, IDL John Jenkins, TE Hunter Long, LB Elandon Roberts, C Michael Deiter, LT Greg Little


Draft

Round 2: Cam Smith(51), South Carolina CB

Round 3: Devon Achane(84), Texas A&M RB

Round 6: Elijah Higgins(197), Stanford TE

Round 7: Ryan Haes(238), Michigan OT


Undrafted Free Agents of Note

EDGE Mitchell Agude, Miami

LB Aubrey Miller JR, Jackson State



2023 Preview


It's very easy and reductive to say that a team's fortune comes down to the health of the man behind center, but no team has a bigger swing in quality than Miami when it comes to playing with or without Tua. Tua Tagavailoa is a great QB when he's on the field. The issue is that he has an extensive injury history, and Miami has prioritized building their team from the outside in as opposed to the inside out. While this is not inherently and at all, see the success the Bengals have had with Joe Burrow, it puts a ton of heat on the QB. Tua has avoided this with when possible with a quick release. He lead all QB's in EPA/paly when he had at least 2.1-2.5 seconds to throw, with 0.573/play. He also lead the whole NFL in Yards per Attempt at 10.8, Average Depth of Target at 11., and Passer Rating at 125.8. The offensive line just needs to hold up because when Tua is given a clean pocket and just over 2 seconds to throw, he's a monster and the reason why teams were tanking for him. He can elevate everybody with his quick decision making and potency throwing the deep ball. The arm strength thing is also overblown. Being able to hit deep crossers consistently is more important than shifted platform throws in shorts. Miami has the weapons in Hill, Waddle, Wilson, and Mostert. They just need to play better up front to have success. Liam Eichenberg is an active detriment to the Dolphins and the rest of the offensive line isn't good enough to hide him. They need a solution at left guard and RT ASAP, otherwise it could be a long season for Tua.



The Defense has high level playmnakers and with a new DC in Vic Fangio, expect them to over perform their perceived value. Fangio is an all time DC and bare minimum the floor for the defense has shifted from bottom 5 to bottom 20. Jaelen Phillips is a monster off the edge and Christian Wilkins and Bradley Chubb will be able to take advantage of the double teams Phillips forces. Jerome Baker and David Long are solid linebackers. Jevon Holland, Xavien Howard, and Kader Kohou are great in the secondary. It' just a matter of usiong them in the right way instead of playing unhinged cover 0 with 8 man blitzes over and over and over again.



OVER OR UNDER

This is such a conditional Over or Under. If Tua can stay upright, easy OVER, but its condition he has yet to meet, so I think I have say UNDER, and potentially a last place team.


Player Prop

Jaelen Phillips OVER OVER OVER 9.25 sacks. He's poised for a monster year.



Buffalo Bills

O/U: 10.5

Super Bowl: +900

AFC Champion: +500

AFC East Winner: +120

Getty


2022 Record: 13-3(8-7-1)

2022 Offense: 4th(DVOA 2nd)

2022 Defense: 2nd(DVOA 4th)

2022 Special Teams: 17th(DVOA 1st)


Free Agency


Additions: RB Latavius Murray, IDL Kameron Cline, RG Connor McGovern, WR Trent Sherfiled, RT Brandon Shell, RB Damien Harris, LB Travin Howard, S Taylor Rapp, EDGE Leonard Floyd, RG David Edwards, WR Deonte Harry, IDL Poona Ford, QB Kyle Allen, C Greg Mancz


Re-signings: LB Tyrel Dodson, LB Tyler Matakevich, K Tyler Bass, IDL Tim Settle, EDGE Shaq Lawson, P Sm Martin, RB Nyheim Hines, LB Matt Milano, S Jordan Poyer, IDL Jordan Phillips, RG Ike Boettger, IDL Ed Oliver, S Dean Marlowe, RG David Quessenberry, CB Dane Jackson, CB Cameron Lewis, LB AJ Klein


Departures: RB Taiwan Jones, LG Roger Saffold, WR Jake Kumerow, WR Cole Beasely, RT Bobby Hart, LB Tremaine Edmunds, Isaiah Mckenzie, TE Tommy Sweeney, WR Jamison Crowder, RT Justin Murray, S Jaquan Johnson, RG Greg van Roten, RB Devin Singletary, QB Case Keenum


Draft

Round 1: Dalton Kincaid(25), Utah TE/WR

Round 2: O'Cyrus Torrennce(59) Florida OG

Round 3: Dorian Williams(91), Tulane LB

Round 5: Justin Shorter(150), Florida WR

Round 7: Nick Broker(230), Ole Miss OG, Alex Austin(252), Oregon State CB


Undrafted Free Agents of Note

RB Jordan Mims, Fresno State

OT Richard Gouraige, Florida


2023 Preview


The Buffalo Bills had a habit of making me very mad last year. It had nothing to do with them dog-walking the Patriots, but everything to do with how they called their offense. Ken Dorsey needs to evolve as a play-caller. When you have Josh Allen, obviously you think you can just throw the ball a million times, but doing that just causes your offensive line to only take steps backwards and that isn't tenable for a team looking for consistent success. Based on how they approached the offseason, I think they will take the effort to call a balanced offense. O'Cyrus Torrance is a MAULER. He is going to take hold of an IDL and take him for a ride. This compliments signing short yardage hammer Damien Harris and just boosts James Cook as a runner as well. This with the addition of Dalton Kincaid will boost the offense and keep teams off-balance. Kincaid is a receiver, not a TE, and his size and speed will create problems for defenses. This will take coverage off of Diggs and force 1 on 1's across the board in coverage. Just please Buffalo, no more Josh put on the cape and throw 70 times games. You just don't need to do that.


The defense will be great again. They roll deep at every position group and they are going to be a healthy defense for the first time in 2 seasons. Tre White is going to be all the way back, and so are Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer. It's going to be a no fly zone. They also did the same thing on the defensive side of the ball as they did on the offensive side of the ball, they're making an effort to get meaner. Leonard Floyd is a a grinder who sets the edge, frees up backers to shoot gaps, and cleans up plays. Darion Williams is a hammer from Tulane that will find his way into the rotation with matt Milano.


Overall, Just pencil Buffalo in to the Division Winner. They're so solid across the board and have been for about 4 years now.


OVER OR UNDER

Over. Easy.


Player Prop

James Cook OVER 675.5 yards means the Bills have been running a balanced offense.







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