The AFC East will be one of the most intriguing divisions in the NFL this season. With Tom Brady suspended by the NFL, the Patriots become a bit more vulnerable in a division that is continually trying to catch them. Buffalo, Miami and New York all improved themselves, but was it enough? LeSean McCoy, Ndamukong Suh and Brandon Marshall are some of the new faces in the division.
Much like I did with the college football win totals, I will break down the schedules in terms of home and road opponents outside the division. In most situations, I'll give a split to each team in divisional play with them winning at home and losing on the road. Vegas is much more on the ball in the NFL compared to college football so the numbers are a lot sharper.
Note: Over/under odds courtesy of 5Dimes Sportsbook
(Over 8.5 wins -115, Under 8.5 wins -105)
Record Last Year: 9-7
Offense: The Bills bring in LeSean McCoy from Philadelphia and the first thing he'll notice is an offensive line that is nowhere near as proficient as the Eagles'. This is a group that allowed 39 sacks and only helped Buffalo score seven rushing touchdowns. To make things tougher for McCoy, the quarterback position is unsettled with Matt Cassel, EJ Manuel and Tyrod Taylor all vying for the job. Whomever wins the position will get to throw to Percy Harvin, Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods. This is a unit with a lot of potential that should come once the signal-caller is selected.
Defense: Kiko Alonso went to the Eagles in the McCoy deal, opening a bit of a hole at linebacker. The good thing for Buffalo is that its front line is stout with Mario Williams, Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams. The secondary also is pretty nice with Leodis McKelvin and Stephon Gilmore out wide. This unit held Green Bay in check at home last December.
Schedule: The toughest stretch for Buffalo comes from Weeks 10 to 15, when the Bills have five road games in six weeks. They play at the Jets, Patriots and Chiefs from Weeks 10 to 12 before getting Houston at home followed by the Eagles and Redskins at their place. Four of the Bills' first six are in Buffalo with the last two there as well.
Prediction: Slight lean to the over on the Bills. They have a great setup for the start of the year when they may be experiencing some offensive growing pains. If they rack up enough wins before their Week 8 bye, then the over is a great play. It's not one of my favorites, because none of these QBs inspire confidence.
(Over 8.5 wins -165, Under 8.5 wins +145)
Record Last Year: 8-8
Offense: I'm not going to lie, I really like Ryan Tannehill and think this is the year he breaks out. Tannehill is still growing as a passer because he was a WR to start his college career. The tall signal-caller will have to deal with some new weapons around him with the additions of Jordan Cameron, Greg Jennings and Kenny Stills. Those three replace Charles Clay, Brian Hartline and Mike Wallace, all of whom were shown the door. I think it's an upgrade especially since Stills was a solid piece in New Orleans. I also can't forget DeVante Parker out of Louisville who was a nice possession receiver. Knowshon Moreno's departure means Lamar Miller should dominate the RB carries from the start, although Jay Ajayi is a solid option as well.
Defense: Ndamukong Suh will be a huge help to Cameron Wake, who was already a real good pass rusher. The worry with the former Lions' lineman is that he'll get fat and happy with his new contract and not be productive. The linebacker corps is a question mark with Koa Misi, Jelani Jenkins and Chris McCain among others. The secondary is solid with Brent Grimes and Louis Delmas. Miami allowed 27 passing touchdowns last year.
Schedule: The Dolphins will be tested early with seven of their first nine games outside of Miami. They have three straight road games - at New England, Buffalo and Philadelphia - from Weeks 8 through 10. If they survive the early stretch, five of the final seven matchups are in Sun Life Stadium.
Prediction: Slight lean to the under. While that closing stretch is at home, the quality of opponent is high with Baltimore, Indianapolis and New England on the slate. There's a lot to like about this squad outside of the schedule. As I said above, I think Tannehill busts out and this offense will roll at times. The problem may be on the other side where there are some holes.
(Over 10 wins -190, Under 10 wins +150)
Record Last Year: 12-4
Offense: Get to know Jimmy Garoppolo as Tom Brady's suspension sits at four games, although the decision on his appeal should come soon. Garoppolo may be the signal-caller of the future, but he'll be called on early in 2015. The unit also will be without LeGarrette Blount for the opener against Pittsburgh. That's going to hurt a bit as Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley are no longer on the roster. Jonas Gray and Brandon Bolden were in the lineup at one point in 2014, but Bill Belichick is very fickle with his running backs and their usage. As long as Rob Gronkowski is healthy, this offense should continue to flourish.
Defense: This side of the ball took several hits during the offseason. The secondary lost Brandon Browner and Darrelle Revis as well as defensive line stalwart Vince Wilfork, who plugged up the middle. It's stunning how year after year players fall into the Pats' laps and Malcom Brown out of Texas is no different. It'll take him time, but Brown will be a nice start at replacing Wilfork. This is a real good linebacker group with Dont'a Hightower, Jerod Mayo and Jamie Collins. Pressure will be needed to help this young secondary led by Super Bowl hero Malcolm Brown.
Schedule: The Pats play four games over a five-week span from Oct. 25 until Nov. 23. The schedule lines up nicely at the beginning with home games against a weakened Pittsburgh and Jacksonville to go with a road game at Buffalo before the early Week 4 bye. New England also has road games at Denver, Indianapolis and Dallas.
Prediction: The over is the play here and that's with me trying to find value in the under. There are some tough opponents and I have them winning some tough road games, but when you get right down to it, there's no way I'm betting against Belichick and Brady when it matters.
(Over 7.5 wins -150, Under 7.5 wins +130)
Record Last Year: 4-12
Offense: There will be no excuses for Geno Smith this year if he fails. New York picked up Brandon Marshall to go with Eric Decker and rookie Devin Smith at wide receiver. Smith also has Chris Ivory and Stevan Ridley in the backfield. Should the former West Virginia quarterback struggle, New York could turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is a solid game manager. The offensive line is real steady and should be better with the addition of former Seahawk James Carpenter.
Defense: The hire of Todd Bowles as head coach should benefit this unit given his defensive background. It's going to be hard throwing on the Green and White with Antonio Cromartie and Darrelle Revis manning the corners. A fantastic defensive line improved with Leonard Williams falling into Jets' laps in the draft. He can spell Muhammad Wilkerson up front. It will hurt to lose Sheldon Richardson for four games, but there is some decent depth there. Quinton Coples and David Harris lead the way in the middle.
Schedule: Any sort of playoff hopes will be tested Weeks 15 through 17 with road games at Dallas and Buffalo to go around a home game against the Patriots. The Jets also benefit by drawing the Raiders and Jaguars as their AFC swing games.
Prediction: The Jets are one of my sleeper win total selections although the money move means they aren't off the radar at all. New York's defense will keep them in a lot of games, giving the offense a chance to win if the Jets can score 20 points or more. Heck, this unit can put up 17 and win a couple of close contests. There's a lot to like here.
— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Josephs prefers non-Power 5 college football and may be the only one wagering on the Sun Belt. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.