Following the NFL schedule release, fans and analysts often try to predict which games will be won and lost by each team. Another key aspect of the schedule release involves sportsbooks setting the predicted number of games any given team should win, using the book’s models. I
n this series, each of the eight NFL divisions will be previewed on a team-by-team basis. The win total projections below have been taken from Caesars Sportsbook, via ESPN.
The eighth and last division that will be assessed is the AFC East. A group dominated by the Patriots not long ago, a new team has now won back-to-back division titles. This same team is now the betting favorite to win the Super Bowl, creating buzz around each game they play.
The other teams have added talent through the NFL Draft, free agency, and trades, including one team adding Tyreek Hill and another landing a trio of first-round picks. With all this being said, the AFC East is set to be an entertaining division in 2022.
Previous divisions in the series:
Caesars Sportsbook Over/Under Projection: 11.5 wins
2021 Record: 11-6
Fans in Buffalo have a lot to be excited about with this 2022 squad. Deemed to be the Super Bowl LVII favorites according to Caesars Sportsbook, the team has all of the pieces to make a deep playoff run. After defeating the Patriots in the Wild Card round by a score of 47-17, the Bills fell in overtime to the Chiefs in an instant classic.
One of the main factors in their success was star quarterback Josh Allen. In their two postseason contests, Allen finished with 637 passing yards, adding nine touchdowns and no interceptions.
The former Wyoming QB looks to continue his high-level play in 2022 with a few new faces. Instead of Cole Beasley starting in the slot, it is expected that Jamison Crowder will fill this role. Other skill-position players who were acquired during the offseason include O.J. Howard and rookie James Cook.
Looking at the offensive line, Roger Saffold will replace Jon Feliciano at left guard, and the former allowed fewer pressures per game than his predecessor, per PFF.
On defense, Von Miller signed with Buffalo for six years and a whopping $120 million, and the former Super Bowl MVP has been able to continue to make an impact as he has increased in age. Drafting Kaiir Elam from Florida should improve the secondary, and he could start at cornerback in his first NFL game.
The Bills have won double-digit games in each of the past three seasons, and the team will look to keep this trend going in 2022. The defense that conceded the fewest points and yards last year may have improved this offseason, and Josh Allen having another summer to train could establish Buffalo as one of the best teams in the NFL.
Prediction: Over 11.5 wins
New England Patriots
Caesars Sportsbook Over/Under Projection: 8.5 wins
2021 Record: 10-7
The Patriots have had two starkly distinct offseasons in as many years. The 2021 free-agent class amassed over $160 million in money that was guaranteed to players, a record at the time. This offseason, New England did not make many eye-catching moves, and as other AFC teams traded for or signed well-known players, the Patriots watched from a distance.
The team signed Malcolm Butler after playing elsewhere for a handful of years, and receiver DeVante Parker was acquired in a trade with Miami. New England opted to draft offensive lineman Cole Strange in the first round, a pick that many deemed to be just that – strange. The former Chattanooga Moc was mocked by 33rd Team scout Luke Carr to “likely [be] a late Day 2 or early Day 3 pick.”
The losses to the roster far exceed the additions, with standout players such as J.C. Jackson, Shaq Mason, and Ted Karras each finding new homes. One of the most notable departures is former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who spent over 15 years with the Patriots. He leaves to become the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, and Bill Belichick will be without one of his longest-tenured assistants.
If the Patriots do fall short of the over/under projection of 8.5 wins, it would be just the second time since 2001 that the team has finished with as few victories. But, the rest of the division looks to have improved its roster as New England may have been outpaced by others’ moves.
Prediction: Under 8.5 wins
Caesars Sportsbook Over/Under Projection: 8.5 wins
2021 Record: 9-8
The offseason for Miami was headlined by winning the Tyreek Hill sweepstakes, trading an abundance of draft capital for the star receiver. The most striking part might be Hill’s new contract, totaling $120 million guaranteed with over 60% of it guaranteed. Having a player with Tyreek Hill’s speed will add a dynamic to Miami’s offense it did not have last season, making deep passes and runs after the catch more threatening.
Hill was far from the only offensive player the team acquired in the offseason, revamping its backfield and offensive line. At running back, the Dolphins have newcomers Chase Edmonds, Raheem Mostert, and Sony Michel, adding to a returning Myles Gaskin. This group presents a compelling case for the deepest in the league, a trait the 2021 unit simply lacked.
The offensive line improved, too, with Terron Armstead and Connor Williams coming to Miami. The Dolphins led the league in pressure percentage last season at 37.3%, per PFF, and these additions should help this statistic decrease.
Miami also ended last season scorching-hot, winning eight of their final nine games to finish just shy of the postseason. However, much of their 2022 success may rest on the shoulders of 24-year-old Tua Tagovailoa. With an enhanced offense, the former Alabama quarterback has all of the tools to take a sizable step forward. Former NFL scout and current 33rd Team member Tom Rudawsky titled an article that says it best: “No More Excuses For Tua Tagovailoa.”
Prediction: Over 8.5 wins
New York Jets
Caesars Sportsbook Over/Under Projection: 5.5 wins
2021 Record: 4-13
The New York Jets ended the month of April with a strong draft class, headlined by a home-run first-round trio. The first pick was Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, the lanky cornerback from Cincinnati who Kyle Wilson, the Jets’ 2010 first-round pick, believes could be a “dream fit” with the team. After taking the cornerback The 33rd Team had ranked atop the position group, New York selected our top-listed wide receiver in Garrett Wilson.
The Jets then traded up twice, once towards the end of the first round to take Jermaine Johnson II, and another time in the second round to select our top-ranked running back in Breece Hall. All of these players should find themselves in meaningful roles for the 2022 season and the years to come as they play positions where the Jets need improvement.
The free-agent market was another place the Jets found talent at positions of need. At offensive guard, New York gave 2021 Pro Bowl selection Laken Tomlinson a three-year deal. The tight end room expanded with Tyler Conklin and C.J. Uzomah under contract, and Jeff Ulbrich’s secondary added D.J. Reed and Jordan Whitehead.
Injuries plagued the Jets last season, specifically with Carl Lawson and Mekhi Becton, but the team now has depth at important positions heading into next year.
Zach Wilson is amid his first full NFL offseason and has bulked up, adding 13 pounds to his frame. Like any young quarterback in the league, Wilson will have to show critics why he warranted the second overall selection in last year’s draft, but he now has an arsenal previously not at his disposal. Robert Saleh’s defense should be much improved, the offensive line appears more solid, and the receiving core looks promising.
The Jets are a tough team to predict, seen as they’ve beaten the Rams, Titans, and Bengals for half of their wins over the past two seasons, but the roster seems as strong as it’s been in years. Gang Green exceeding the over/under projection of 5.5 wins is a goal that should be considered attainable. Many others share this belief, as this was the team the most bettors chose to outdo their projected win total.