2023 Season Outlook: AFC East

Read the Other Season Outlooks Here!

Published August 18, 2023

2023 Season Outlook: AFC East

Written by Alex C.

Arguably the toughest division in the NFL as of right now, every team in the AFC East provided consistent performances throughout the previous season. Though each fell short from their early season expectations, the division is in a much stronger position after the offseason moves made by each team.

The AFC East is predicted to be the most exciting division to watch unfold as the playing field has leveled, leaving all teams with the same projected chance to take the crown.

Today, we take a look at what makes the AFC East the most exhilarating division to see progress in as we take a stroll through the offseason and draft moves each team has made. It really is an exciting time to be a fan of one of these teams.

Buffalo Bills

Previous Record – 13-3

To the surprise of everyone in the NFL, the Bills have emerged as a powerhouse in the league over the past few years, taking back-to-back division titles for the past three seasons. The Sean McDermott regime led by an electric Josh Allen has reinstilled hope in a once devastated franchise. However, the fans have reached the point where another division title won’t satisfy their hunger – they want a championship.

Buffalo came up as favorites to win the Super Bowl last season, but ultimately fell to the Bengals in the AFC Division Title, losing 27-10 at home. Despite losing Tremaine Edmunds to free agency, the Bills were able to preserve their superstar safety Jordan Poyer, signing him to a two-year $12.5 million deal. Buffalo also let starting running back Devin Singletary walk to free agency, leaving James Cook with the opportunity to step-up and take on an extended workload.

They also made some sneaky moves in the draft in efforts to beef up the receiving core and offensive line – specifically in the guard position. Dalton Kincaid was the major takeaway of the night as he looks to sit behind the Bills’ starting tight-end Dawson Knox, and add an extra bit of flair to an already explosive offense. The Bills’ offseason was generally quiet this time around as all focus panned towards the return of safety Damar Hamlin – who plans to play as many snaps as he can this upcoming season – and the rising tensions between Stefon Diggs and the franchise following his displeasure on the sideline of the AFC Divisional game against the Dolphins.

Though the rumors of added tension have been shut down between Diggs himself and other key members of the Bills, there was a glimmer of reasoning in a rather immature exchange as the Bills begun to spiral towards the middle of the season. It seems like Buffalo was off to a hot start, but as the season begun to further unravel it was clear that Josh Allen was becoming more reckless with the ball, causing costly turnovers that could have easily been avoided. The main question now is: Can Josh Allen continue playing at a high caliber while limiting the unnecessary turnovers?

The Bills can easily repeat division titles for a fourth time if all goes well, but the AFC East looks to grow stronger day-by-day. It wouldn’t be surprising if they ran it back, but this looks to be a crucial year for a strong Buffalo team who could easily compete on the world’s biggest stage. It’s been all talk the past few years, but it’s now time to put words into action.

Season Outlook Grade A-


Previous Record – 9-8

Miami started off the season surprisingly strong, quickly climbing into the elite tier of NFL offenses with absolutely no expectations of doing so. It was known that the acquisition of Tyreek Hill would positively impact the team upon his arrival, but the Cheetah had Tua Tagovailoa looking like an elite quarterback alongside an epic receiving duo with Jaylen Waddle. But as we all know, Tua had a lot of problems managing to stay on the field last season – regardless, the Dolphins were still able to ride off the young gun’s success and squeak into a wildcard spot with a respectable 9-8 record.

First-year head coach Mike McDaniel worked wonders on this Miami team, but it’s now time to further build on the success of the 2022 season. The Fins made one of the most shocking offseason transactions, trading a 2023 third-round pick and tight-end, Hunter Long, to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for star cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Ramsey looks to be a part of a nasty duo with Xavien Howard, who has consistently played a huge role in the Miami secondary. The Dolphins also picked up quarterback Mike White, who looks to play a reliable backup role behind Tua, and veteran-receiver Chosen Anderson, adding a new level of speed to an already flashy offense.

Miami wielded very minimal draft picks this year, losing their few to trades and a forfeit due to tampering in a situation that would have persuaded Tom Brady to sign with the team. The strength of the roster is really based off the foundation built throughout the 2022 season, as well as the plethora of key signings in the offseason. It’s hard to say how well Miami will perform this upcoming season with the multitude of health-related issues that struck Tua.

If he can manage to stay healthy for an entire season despite playing behind an unreliable offensive line, then Miami could easily find themselves in playoff contention once again.

Season Outlook Grade B


Previous Record – 8-9

What more can be said about the new-age Patriots that hasn’t been said already?

Despite finishing the year with a solid 8-9 record, the Patriots season was a complete disaster. Who knows what Bill Belichick was thinking when he assigned the offensive coordinator role to a shared position between Matt Patricia and Joe Judge, whose unusual pairing brought the worst out of starting quarterback Mac Jones both on and off the field.

Jones had very limited help on offense, but his immature reactions towards the situation began to cause tension within the organization, leaving the team without a true leader in the locker room. Patricia and Judge have now been replaced with previous offensive coordinator Bill O’ Brien, but there is still a grey area concerning the definitive answer at quarterback. On top of that, the team continues to lack a reliable receiving core, with the only somewhat valuable addition to the unit being ex-Dolphins tight-end, Mike Gesicki.

The lack of transparency in the receiving rooms definitely translated into the draft, but Belichick still managed to come out with the biggest steal of the night – Oregon star cornerback Christian Gonzalez at pick number seventeen in the draft. Gonzalez was projected to fly off the board within the top ten range, but now looks to add on to an already lethal Patriots defense.

The grand majority of Patriots draft picks were used to beef up the defense, offensive line and special teams, still leaving a big question mark on the total offensive unit. It’s hard to determine what Belichick’s plan is on offense – aside from having O’Brien call the plays – but Bill’s defense will always be enough to suffocate opposing squads with an extremely lethal front seven backed by a dangerous secondary.

If there’s one thing that Patriots fans could boast about, it’s a defense backed by a football mastermind – but of course, a strong defense can only get you so far if your offense isn’t up to par. Whether the answer is Mac Jones or Bailey Zappe, Patriots fans are in for another rollercoaster of a season.

At least you guys have two decades of dominance to reminisce about…

Season Outlook Grade C+


Previous Record – 7-10

The biggest what-if scenario of last season was: What if the Jets had stable quarterback play?

The New York Jets defense took the league by storm in 2022, putting on a championship-level showcase on the front seven and secondary unit. Rookie cornerback Sauce Gardner broke out as a reliable partner across fellow ballhawk D.J. Reed Jr, and linebacker C.J. Mosley held his own and rallied a reliable spread in the middle of the field. And who could forget the constant pressure applied in the front-line, with Quinnen Williams leading the way and putting together an All-Pro-caliber season? Rookies Breece Hall and Garrett Wilson also instilled a new life into a once stale offense, so where was the problem with the Jets?

The answer – inconsistent quarterback play.

Zach Wilson displayed a major incompetency in moving the ball, which the cost the team a lot of potentially easy victories. The Jets are aware of the foundation they’ve built last season and what they need to make another leap into playoff contention, leading them to a very active offseason. The big narrative this year – as it always was – revolved around Aaron Rodgers and his preferred destination as he split from the Green Bay Packers. The Jets quickly capitalized off the Rodgers sweepstakes, laying the red carpet treatment for big 12 – or 8 this year – as he geared to sign with Gang Green.

OC Nathaniel Hackett’s presence in the building helped bridge the gap, as the ex-Packers OC developed a close relationship with Rodgers in which he helped him map out back-to-back MVP campaigns. In addition, the Jets made a move at signing ex-Packers receivers Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb to serve as a security blanket for Rodgers on offense.

The main question leading into the 2023 draft was how the Jets would tackle the improvement of the offensive line, which started off quite horribly as division – and lifetime rival – Bill Belichick screwed the team out of their intended pick of offensive tackle, Broderick Jones. Gang Green made a few more attempts at beefing up the O-line, but it was quite the sporadic set of picks to be made.

The Jets have a lot of potential to make a deep playoff run with their retooled roster, but at this point, all signs point to if Rodgers can rally this team to meet these expectations. He is coming off a major down-year, in which the Packers narrowly missed a playoff berth after a Week 18 loss to the Detroit Lions. If Rodgers can relink his chemistry with Nathaniel Hackett to put together another amazing run in Gotham, then the Jets could easily make a deep run at a division title and an AFC Championship appearance.

But as said previously, the AFC East looks to be the toughest division top-to-bottom. Can Rodgers hang with this spread of young talent, or will this Jets move mirror that of Brett Favre’s in 2007?

Either way, they are going to be one of the most fun teams to watch in the league going into the 2023 season.

Season Outlook Grade A-

Enjoy Your Read? Subscribe and Never Miss a Post!

Leave a Reply