AFC East projections: Calculate division favorites; Dolphins, Pats playoff hopes

The AFC East has some nice storylines going into the 2022 NFL season, and so they’re unfold from the highest of the division to the underside. The truth is, my mannequin has a Tremendous Bowl favourite and the least favourite mannequin within the division.

The Payments have the lead as apparent Tremendous Bowl contenders, whereas the Dolphins and Patriots are each within the playoffs. With the ball rolling proper, these two groups could possibly be on a deep playoff run. On the down facet, the Jets will probably be principally interested by Zach Wilson’s well being and progress to see what path the franchise is headed.

I am going to use my NFL projection mannequin to simulate an NFL season 100,000 instances and dive deep into the AFC East to indicate how possible every group is to win the division and make the playoffs within the 2022 season.

Buffalo Payments

  • Mok’s Odds to Win AFC East: 73.3%
  • BetMGM odds to win the AFC East: -225 (69.2%)
  • Moc’s Playoff Likelihood: 90.7%
  • BetMGM Playoff Odds: -550 (84.6%)

If all the things is right:

In an ideal world, Josh Allen takes one other step ahead and cements himself as top-of-the-line quarterbacks within the recreation for a Tremendous Bowl victory. The Payments have surrounded him with expertise on either side of the ball, and his play in 2021 was adequate to be a Tremendous Bowl contender. The Payments in all probability would have gone there final season if that they had received the coin toss in additional time.

Nonetheless, with Allen’s present profile and the Payments’ roster being the perfect group in my modeling heading into the 2022 season, any enchancment would make an even bigger distinction than the remainder of the league. The lack of offensive coordinator Brian Daboll marks an early season transition, however the addition of Von Miller on protection might make up for any struggles on offense. After all of the offseason strikes, the Payments are the one group in my design that’s high 5 offensively and defensively.

Though going house has been the principle objective of the Payments’ common season, this group will probably be seeking to end the yr on a excessive notice, and if issues go their approach, they may be capable to obtain that objective.

If all goes fallacious:

Josh Allen regressing a bit and the protection not bettering might result in an early playoff exit or lacking the postseason altogether. Certain, it appears inconceivable, however Allen and the Payments have failed in three of their 5 losses in the course of the 2021 common season (I am ignoring the tip-off recreation in opposition to the Patriots). Whenever you take a look at the protection giving up 30.3 factors per recreation in a climate loss, you may see how this season might go off observe.

The Payments went 11-6 final season, so if issues go fallacious in Buffalo, a 9-8 or 8-9 season will not be too distant.

Invoice’s Tremendous Bowl Prediction:

My mannequin offers the Buffalo Payments a ten.0% probability of profitable the Tremendous Bowl, the perfect within the NFL.

Miami Dolphins

  • Moc’s Odds to Win AFC East: 14.7%
  • BetMGM odds to win the AFC East: -225 (69.2%)
  • Moc’s Playoff Odds: 47.4%
  • BetMGM playoff odds: +450 (18.2%)

If all the things is right:

Mike McDaniel’s offense, mixed with Tua Tagovailoa’s third-string efficiency, offers the Dolphins an opportunity to increase their 19-game profitable streak over the previous two seasons and win the AFC Championship. The Dolphins made an enormous splash this offseason by buying and selling for Tyreek Hill and signing Terron Armstead in free company, a transfer that solved two of their greatest issues, downfield and offensive line play. If the road can enhance, Tagovailoa can have no excuses this yr.

The Dolphins protection must be adequate. This can be a high 10 unit in my mannequin, so “going proper” will probably be on the shoulders of crime. Tagovailoa has no downside getting the ball out shortly, as he was within the high 5 within the league in go share thrown underneath 2.5 seconds ( per TruMedia ). His common of 6.8 yards per try stays an issue. The addition of Jaylen Waddle and Mike Gesicki to Hill, in addition to Cedric Wilson Jr., will give Tagovailoa all he must get these yards per try in the course of the seventh.

If Tua takes the subsequent step and the offense takes off underneath McDaniel, it is simple to see him being a top-10 unit in my mannequin, giving the Dolphins a top-10 unit on either side of the ball. That is adequate to compete for the AFC Championship.

If all goes fallacious:

The protection is crumbling and the Dolphins aren’t even in competition for the AFC playoffs. Certain, Tua can soar, however proper now my mannequin is projecting a dolphin injury as a mean unit. If Miami cannot depend on its protection prefer it has in years previous, the Dolphins might find yourself within the high 10, possibly even the highest 5, of subsequent yr’s NFL draft.

The Dolphins have received eight of 9 video games to complete the 2021 season, and an enormous a part of that success has been on protection. If the protection returns to its 2021 first-season type, the Dolphins might have a seven-game profitable streak, in accordance with the EPA/Play’s, which was the fifth-bottom protection via the primary eight weeks of the season.

Miami Dolphins Tremendous Bowl Prediction

My mannequin offers the Miami Dolphins a 2.9% probability of profitable the NFL’s seventeenth Tremendous Bowl.

New England Patriots

  • Moc’s Odds to Win AFC East: 11.9%
  • BetMGM odds to win the AFC East: +450 (18.2%)
  • Moc’s Playoff Likelihood: 41.3%
  • BetMGM playoff odds: +135 (42.6%)

If all the things is right:

Identical to Joe Barrow did in Cincinnati final season, Mack Jones makes a well-known leap in his second yr and the Patriots compete for the AFC Championship. The weapons aren’t nearly as good because the 2021 Bengals, however the offensive line is arguably higher. If Jones can convey his effectivity to a high 10 QB, the Patriots ought to see one other deep playoff run.

Jones and the Pats offense rank barely above common in my mannequin heading into the 2022 season, so any enchancment would possible put them within the high 10. I am fearful concerning the assault talent cap, however I had it. Final yr, Jones additionally led the offense to almost a top-10 rating in opponent-adjusted EPA/Play in my mannequin.

And one factor that has to go proper is one other masterful matchup between Invoice Belichick and the Patriots protection. New England’s protection is at the moment league common in every of my mocks, and there are a whole lot of questions on the cornerback place. Truthfully, the one positive wager unit that will probably be good is the protection. But when Belichick can work his magic and show himself as top-of-the-line defensive minds within the recreation, the protection will enhance and be a top-10 contender. The mixture of Jones and the Patriots offense will possible have them competing for the highest of the AFC.

If all goes fallacious:

Any transfer Jones makes would be the greatest consider New England surviving a down season, however my foremost concern is the protection. As talked about earlier, the cornerback place is an enormous query mark simply weeks into the common season, and there aren’t many star gamers in that space. If this defensive class fails, we might simply see a backside 10 end within the NFL. The protection could possibly be a problem for the Patriots in 2022, because the Payments offense is dominant and will enhance in Miami.

Invoice Belichick will possible have the offensive and defensive coordinators in place by the common season, however the public could not know who they are going to be. This can be trigger for concern. It is laborious to “choose” Belichick’s decision-making primarily based on his success with ensures, however the latest draft choices and lack of a transparent picture might trigger some misperceptions within the locker room. Jones and Josh McDaniels did properly final yr. Will Jones be capable to adapt properly to Matt Patricia or Joe Choose in 2022? Time will inform, however it’s not a place I need to wager on.

New England Patriots Tremendous Bowl Odds

My mannequin offers the New England Patriots a 2.5% probability of profitable the Tremendous Bowl, which is twentieth within the NFL.

New York Jets

  • Mock Odds to Win AFC East: 0.2%
  • BetMGM odds to win AFC East: +2200 (4.3%)
  • Mok’s odds of constructing the playoffs: 1.2%
  • BetMGM playoff odds: +650 (13.3%)

Zach Wilson’s standing is a bit unsure, however the Jets anticipate him to be again within the first few weeks of the season, if not the primary week. That efficiency and odds recommend he is again for the common season.

If all the things is right:

The ceiling is not excessive, but when issues go proper for the Jets this yr, Zach Wilson will make the leap in his second yr holding the offensive line, Tagovailoa will not enhance, and the Pats’ protection will crumble. When these issues occur, the Jets’ probabilities of making a playoff run will probably be barely open. Shedding Mehi Becton is not very best, however the addition of Laken Tomlinson will assist the offense change into a mean unit this season.

Together with an bettering offense, Robert Saleh’s protection wants to regulate on the offensive line and within the secondary. If first-round picks Sous Gardner and Jermaine Johnson II have their rookie years, this protection might actually shock individuals and carry the group very similar to the Dolphins’ protection did the final two seasons.

As talked about above, the ceiling is not that top, primarily as a result of Wilson is not that top in my design, however the expertise is certainly there. The Jets are in a great place going ahead, however they may want Wilson to get them there. In the event that they discover a technique to compete for the playoffs in 2022, that may be an enormous accomplishment.

If all goes fallacious:

Wilson wasn’t nice as a rookie as a result of he dealt with the ball an excessive amount of (third-most makes an attempt behind three seconds per TruMedia). Wilson ranks among the many worst beginning quarterbacks in my mocks, and whereas he is improved this season when wholesome, he nonetheless has an extended technique to go to play efficient soccer. The knee damage, and the ensuing limitations on Wilson’s mobility, will additional complicate his and the Jets’ offense.

Along with Wilson’s struggles, if each first-round picks disappoint, it could possibly be a significant concern going ahead. Not solely will this hinder the group’s capacity to compete this yr, however it’s going to additionally start to solid doubt on the way forward for a rebuilding group. There may be loads of depth on protection, particularly on the road, however Gardner and Johnson will probably be relied upon closely of their debut seasons.

If Wilson would not enhance and the Jets find yourself with the primary or second choose within the 2023 draft, there could possibly be an enormous determination. With big-name quarterbacks projected early within the draft, two unhealthy seasons from Wilson might go away the Jets questioning what to do within the midst of a rebuild. If Wilson goes unhealthy once more, I am all for shifting on, however it won’t be for these searching for quicker ends in such an enormous market.

New York Jets Tremendous Bowl Odds:

My mannequin offers the New York Jets a 0.04% probability of profitable the Tremendous Bowl, the final within the NFL.

(Picture: Wealthy Barnes/USA Right this moment)

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