2019 AFC East Predictions and Expert NFL Betting Picks
Sooner or later, the New England Patriots are going to come crashing back down to earth and the other 31 NFL franchises and fan bases are going to rejoice. It could happen this year, or it could happen two more Super Bowl wins from now. Nobody knows, and that's why football is the best sport on planet Earth.
The Patriots have a 42-year-old quarterback under center, and they are completely fine with that. Mind you, Tom Brady will go down as one of the best QBs in NFL history, but in a game where guys are faster and stronger than ever before, the old-head stays one step ahead of the competition thanks to his football IQ. It helps that he has one of the best coaches in the game calling the shots, but it also helps that he plays in a division where three pathetic franchises reside.
As you'll see below, the oddsmakers give the Patriots an 83.3 percent chance of winning the division for the 11th straight season and 15th time in the last 16 seasons. That kind of dominance is rare in professional sports these days as parity is the name of the game. And unfortunately for fans of the Jets, Bills, and Dolphins, the Patriots reign of terror doesn't seem any closer to ending.
As we kick off Week 2 of the preseason this week, I'll be taking you on a guided tour of each division to prep you on what to expect for the upcoming season. Keep in mind, injuries can occur at any moment to derail a season, so getting to hyped up on a division preview is never a good thing.
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New England Patriots
Season Win Total 11 (-140)
AFC East Win Odds (-500)
The term "value" gets misconstrued a little too much for my liking. Half the people you poll would think you are out of your mind to lay -500 with the Patriots to win the division, while the other half would think this is tremendous value because they believe the line should be up close to -1000. How do you turn down an opportunity like -500 to wager on the defending Super Bowl Champions to finish with more wins than the rest of the division who are all 100+/1 to win the Super Bowl? You simply can't turn that opportunity down.
The Patriots got better this season through the draft (something they seemingly always do), by picking up WR N'Keal Harry with the last pick in the first round. That gives Brady another solid weapon to throw the ball to in addition to the newly acquired Demaryius Thomas, with hopes of replacing some of the production lost by the retirement of Rob Gronkowski. Defensively, the Patriots added defensive end Chase Winovich from Michigan in the third round to bolster the unit. They did, however, lose Trey Flowers and Malcolm Butler, but the Patriots will be fine without them.
For what seems like the millionth time in the last million years, the Patriots are the right pick to win the division even if the Jets seemingly got better on paper. Experience is valuable, and the Patriots know how to win.
New York Jets
Season Win Total 7.5 (-125)
AFC East Win Odds (+500)
The New York Jets and their fan base have seen the highs and they've seen the lowest of lows over the course of the decade. The Jets made back-to-back AFC Championship games in 2009 and 2010 only to lose both in heartbreaking fashion. Since then, they've experienced only one winning season and have yet to be back to the postseason.
This year, with a quarterback that's one year older and more mature, Sam Darnold will have the pressure on his shoulders to lead the Jets back to the postseason. He has some great help in the form of Le'Veon Bell, who signed here in the offseason. However, other than that, there's not much to be encouraged about offensively. They still have a leaky offensive line, and the addition of Quinnen Williams to the defensive side of the ball will be one of the few bright spots for the Jets to speak of.
We know why the oddsmakers set the totals the way they did. They are building hope for the Jets fan base only to have them end in a dismal 6-10 season. Sportsbooks can be cruel too at times.
Season Win Total 7 (-125)
AFC East Win Odds (+1000)
The new-look Bills are hoping that the 2019-20 NFL season will be their year. Should I tell them? Or do you want to? This year is going to be more of the same from the Bills - an 8-8 season with no real steps towards the future.
Sure, Josh Allen is back for his second season, and with that should come more maturity and an opportunity to limit his mistakes. He has a host of new weapons on offense to play with, but let's be real, the guys they added are all complementary pieces, not the stud you need to have in today's NFL. Guys like Cole Beasley, John Brown, Frank Gore, and T.J. Yeldon are not superstars in the making -- they are pieces to the puzzle -- and ultimately the Bills puzzle still has plenty of missing pieces.
The Bills did, however, make two great draft choices that I'm looking forward to seeing as to how they pan out. Defensive tackle Ed Oliver out of Houston comes highly touted, and running back Devin Singletary from FAU led the FBS with 32 rushing touchdowns in 2017. Will these two players push the Bills to a second playoff appearance in three seasons? Doubtful, but building for the future seems to be the Bills thing nowadays.
Season Win Total 4.5 (-130)
AFC East Win Odds (+6000)
Young quarterback or old quarterback? That is the question the Dolphins have to answer after four weeks of preseason football. They acquired Josh Rosen from the Cardinals in hopes of handing the keys to the offense to him but backtracked a bit by signing Ryan Fitzpatrick to a deal worthy of potentially giving him the starting role. Fitzpatrick has been around long enough and has shown both upside and downside in his play. Rosen was destined to fail from the start on a very bad Cardinals team, so the Dolphins would be wise to give him a fresh start.
This Dolphins team didn't get any better or worse. However, to win a division, you have to continue to take steps forward even if you aren't taking them backward. Look for another miserable four- or five-win season out of the Fins. I wouldn't bet their season win total if you handed me money to do so. I think it's that spot on.
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