The AFC East is loaded with young, talented QBs, some of which are established (Josh Allen) and others with much left to prove (Zach Wilson). While there is no question that the Bills should easily win the division this season, like everything in football, the unpredictable can always occur. This year, big expectations are on the horizon for 2nd-year QBs (Wilson, Mac Jones) and former NCAAF National Champions (Tua Tagovailoa). And the expectations have already been set for Allen and the Bills one season removed from sniffing back-to-back AFC Championship appearances.
Even though the East is the Bills’ division to lose, the Dolphins, Patriots, and Jets can still challenge the favorites and make a run at a Wild Card berth. The bar has been set, and there are win totals to bet. Here are our best bets for the over/under on each team’s win totals this season:
Win Total Over/Under: 11.5
In the inaugural 17-game season, the Bills compiled an 11-6 record – yet there is no doubt that Buffalo played better than their record indicated. The Bills owned the best points allowed-points scored differential in the league, with a plus-194. Four of their 6 losses came against playoff-bound teams (the Jaguars and Colts were the other two). This season, Buffalo should top their win total from 2021 even though they must play the 5th-toughest schedule of all 32 teams. After opening the year against the defending Super Bowl Champions, the Rams in LA, the Bills will play the Titans, Dolphins, and Ravens in the first 4 weeks of the season. While those three teams have the potential to secure playoff positions, the Bills are a far superior squad with their top-ranked defense and high-powering offense. A 12-5 or 13-4 season is not out of reach for the team most consider to be the favorites to win the Super Bowl.
Win Total Over/Under: 9
The Dolphins enter 2022 with sky-high expectations. After firing head coach Brian Flores in a controversial move, Miami hired former 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel to take over the reins. It is perhaps a make-or-break year for 3rd-year QB Tua Tagovailoa, who now has the benefit of throwing to Pro Bowl WR Tyreek Hill, who Miami acquired in a trade in the offseason from Kansas City.
On paper, the Dolphins are a better team than last year’s squad as Hill and 2nd-year wideout Jaylen Waddle should make a formidable receiving tandem. However, there is still the question of Tua’s health and whether or not the former Alabama standout can stay on the field. Since his college days, Tua has been injured often and forced to miss significant time. Not to mention, many around the league question his ability to lead a team to the playoffs. One factor that could prohibit Tua from making a giant stride is the Dolphins’ schedule, which ranks the 2nd-hardest in the league this season. Can Tua and the Dolphins overcome the scheduling and clinch a spot in the playoffs? We don’t think so, and that’s why this is an Under bet for us. Miami will have a disappointing season.
New England Patriots
Win Total Over/Under: 8.5
The Patriots surprised many last season, going 10-7 in Mac Jones’ first year as an NFL starter. Jones, in particular, impressed in his debut season, throwing for 3,801 yards with 22 TDs and a 92.5 passer rating. However, Jones struggled down the stretch as the Patriots finished the regular season losing 3 of their last 4 games. It got only worse as Jones struggled mightily in the Wild Card round against the Bills, en route to a 47-17 shellacking.
Though the consensus around the league is that the Patriots will take a step back this season, I don’t believe the regression will be significant. New England does have the 2nd-toughest schedule entering the year, but Bill Belichick knows how to scheme better than any coach in the NFL. The Patriots may miss the playoffs since the competition in the AFC is stacked, but they should finish around the .500 mark. It’s worth taking a shot at the Over and a 9-8 record on the year.
New York Jets
Win Total Over/Under: 5.5
The Jets entered the 2021 season-high on BYU product Zach Wilson as their franchise QB. After all, they gave up on Sam Darnold after 3 underachieving seasons and put their faith in Wilson by drafting him 2nd overall. As expected, it was a rollercoaster season for the Jets and Wilson, with more ups than downs. However, the Jets have one of the youngest rosters in the league and can only improve moving forward.
The Jets looked to bolster their defense by drafting Sauce Gardner in the first round. Head coach Robert Saleh and his brilliant defensive mind selected perhaps the player with the most athleticism in the draft, and it could greatly benefit a team that ranked dead last in total yards and total points allowed. The Jets also signed S Jordan Whitehead from Tampa Bay to further improve their secondary.
New York may be headed for another subpar, last-place finish season, but the Jets should improve their win total from last year. Six wins seem reachable, given their young talent has another year of experience under their belts. Coach Saleh received praise from his players during his first year as a head coach, and he should have the defense in better shape than the one he inherited last season. Take the Over.