The AFC East has been dominated by the New England Patriots for almost twenty years but that could change if Tom Brady leaves the division.
To be clear, I believe that the AFC East will see Tom Brady finish his career in New England. I don’t buy the talk that Brady is taking his talent to another city in 2020. In fact, I believe he will use the other teams as leverage to get the deal he wants from Patriot owner Bob Kraft.
The question many NFL fans have asked over the years is whether or not Tom Brady made the Patriots great or Bill Belichick made Tom Brady great. Leaving via free agency could give some insight into that, should the Patriots succeed without him or if Brady can succeed without Belichick. Perhaps they both succeed or both of them fail. Now that would be fun to watch.
For the sake of this article let’s assume that Brady does leave the AFC East next month, who will be the team that takes over the top spot in the division? Is it close?
New England with or without Brady should still be the team to beat in the AFC East. They have a very good defense and a coach that knows how to
cheat win better than any other in the league. Without Brady, however, they will be more vulnerable and their lock on the division will be far from automatic.
The Bills made it to the post-season last year and the second time in three years. They have their future quarterback in place and a good defense. The coaching is getting better but they still have a lot of inconsistent weeks and they will have turnover on their roster that could set them back a bit. Still, if anyone is going to supplant the Patriots in 2020 or 2021, the Bills have the best chance of doing so.
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Miami doesn’t have a franchise quarterback and has missing pieces at every position on the field but in 2019, we saw a team that played hard with no-name players and got better winning five of their last nine games (for some reason I have been putting five of six the last month). Miami played hard and with an influx of talent from the free-agent veterans pool to potentially top draft talent, the Dolphins could get turned around quickly.
No, I’m not picking on the Jets to be last here but of the four teams in the division, the Jets simply seem to be the furthest away. Head coach Adam Gase gets another year but it is unclear if he can rally his team around his way of thinking or if the wheels are going to fall off and how far into the season will they?
New York has talent but they lack more than consistency. Gase’s careless attitude and ego is going to eventually implode and when it does so will the Jets.