Win totals for the NFL are going to look a little bit different than in the past, as we now have a 17-game season to contend with. How that will change win total averages moving forward is yet to be seen, but it will take a toll on teams, with those who are able to stay healthy benefiting the most. The full schedule release is not expected until mid-May, but in the meantime, DraftKings Sportsbook unveiled their 2021 NFL season win totals, which we will go through in this series.
Today we’ll take a look at the AFC East, which saw a changing of the guard over the last couple of seasons. The Buffalo Bills overtook the Tom Brady-less New England Patriots and now hope to continue their march to a Super Bowl. But the Miami Dolphins are improving while the Patriots still have mastermind Bill Belichick at the helm.
Buffalo Bills, Win total: 10.5
The Bills won 13 games last season and looked like contenders for the Super Bowl for much of the year. This offseason they haven’t done anything to hurt their chances as they re-signed key players and were able to find replacements for key losses. And as long as Josh Allen stays healthy, they should continue to be a force in the AFC.
Their schedule isn’t a cake walk, as they face both 2020 Super Bowl participants, but they also get the bottom of the NFC South and AFC South, which includes a Drew Brees-less Saints team and possibly the Texans without Deshaun Watson, along with the Jets and a Patriots team without a strong quarterback. As long as health isn’t a major factor, the Bills are poised for another strong season.
Miami Dolphins, Win total: 9
The Dolphins rode their defense and a scrappy Ryan Fitzpatrick to a 10 win season last year. Fitzpatrick was relieved by rookie Tua Tagovailoa, who did very little to help bring in wins. Tagovailoa is now the no-doubt starter for 2021 and a lot hinges on his development. He looked overmatched last season, but he was a rookie and hadn’t played live football in a long time due to his hip injury. A fully healed hip, full offseason as the starter and a strong overall team around him should help a bunch.
The Dolphins added a great deep threat in Will Fuller and will add a strong running back in the draft. Najee Harris or Travis Etienne would go a long way toward keeping pressure off of Tagovailoa. And they have a lot of draft capital to get their running back while also upgrading elsewhere. In the end it comes down to Tagovailoa playing better, but he won’t have to do it alone.
New England Patriots, Win total: 9
Cam Newton was a disaster last season, but the Patriots still managed to win seven games. That’s a losing record of course, but after watching that offense last season, seven wins seems like a lot.
The Patriots went hard at the start of free agency, upgrading the offensive line in a big way while adding the two best free agency tight ends in Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry. But none of those moves netted them a new quarterback. Until they add a quarterback who can give the offense more options, I can’t consider them a winning team.
New York Jets, Win total: 6.5
The Jets will go into 2021 with a new head coach and likely a new quarterback. But no matter how you look at it, it would take a small miracle for them to turn things around in Robert Saleh’s first season. They had just two wins last season and they’ve done fine in free agency, especially on the defensive side, but we’ll need to see a Justin Herbert kind of rookie season out of whoever they draft for them to be competitve.
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