2022 Season Reviews: AFC East


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2022 Season Reviews: AFC East

I wanted to do quick-hitting postmortem reports on every team since I spent so much time this summer breaking down all 32 franchises from a betting perspective for the 2022 season. It’s a good way for me to put a bow on the season that just finished while also getting a leg up on my early research for the 2023 season.

AFC East Reviews

1. Buffalo Bills

  • Record (ATS): 13-3 (8-7-1)

  • Season Win Total: Over 11.5

  • One-possession Record: 6-3 (1-0 postseason)

  • Postseason Record: 1-1 (0-2 ATS)

  • Division Odds: -225

  • Playoff Odds: -650

  • Over/Under record: 6-10

  • PPG: 28.4 (2nd)

  • PPG Allowed: 17.9 (2nd)

  • Average Scoring Margin: +10.6 (1st)

  • Turnover Differential: 0 (15th)

Season Review

The Bills had a trying conclusion to the season with Damar Hamlin going into cardiac arrest on the field in Week 17, but Hamlin is on the mend and recovering from the near-tragic event. The Bills lifted their teammate and fanbase up with a victory in the season finale to wrap up the AFC’s second seed after winning the AFC East title (-225 odds) for the third straight season. Buffalo ended the regular season on a seven-game outright winning streak to surpass its season win total of 12 with a 13-3 mark, matching the franchise’s best record from the 1990, 1991, and 2020 seasons. They also reached the postseason for the fourth straight season under Sean McDermott and won their division by the league’s largest margin (4.5 games). However, the NFL’s preseason Super Bowl favorites failed to advance out of the Divisional Round in disappointing fashion for the second straight year, losing by three scores to the Bengals despite entering as six-point home favorites.

The Bills finished behind only the Chiefs in scoring offense (28.4 PPG) and total offense (397.6 YPG) even with Josh Allen cooling off after Buffalo’s Week 7 bye. He topped 255+ passing yards just once in his final 10 regular season contests after posting 297+ yards in five of his first six games. Allen still threw for 35+ TD passes for the third straight year while running 760+ yards for the second consecutive season. Stefon Diggs also posted 100+ catches, 1200+ receiving yards, and 8+ TD receptions for a third straight year since joining the Bills in 2020. Buffalo finished with the league’s best average scoring margin (+10.6) for the second straight season after finishing second in PPG (28.4) and PPG allowed (17.9). Von Miller lived up to the hype with eight sacks in his first season before an ACL injury cut his season short after 11 contests.

What to look for this off-season

The Bills have the second-most wins (37) over the last three seasons behind only the Chiefs (40), but they don’t have a Super Bowl appearance to their name in that span. The Bills could use a talent infusion at most spots across their offensive line outside of LT Dion Dawkins, but it’s going to be difficult with a tight cap situation and their first pick coming at No. 27 overall. Buffalo gave the likes of Gabe Davis, Dawson Knox, and Isaiah McKenzie the runway to become key cogs in the passing attack behind Diggs, but all three players failed to develop into consistent forces for Allen. The Bills should prioritize finding a #2 receiver and push Davis more into a high-end reserve role. The secondary could see a mini-overhaul after a shaky finish to the season. Buffalo also has some key decisions to make with the likes of Tremaine Edmunds, Jordan Poyer, and Devin Singletary hitting free agency.

2. Miami Dolphins

  • Record (ATS): 9-8 (9-8)
  • Season Win Total: Push 9
  • One-possession Record: 6-5
  • Postseason Record:
  • Playoff Odds: +135
  • Over/Under record: 8-9
  • PPG: 23.4 (11th)
  • PPG Allowed: 23.5 (24th)
  • Average Scoring Margin: -.1 (14th)
  • Turnover Differential: -7 (t-28th)

Season Review

The Dolphins had arguably the league’s most chaotic season, playing like a Super-Bowl caliber team at times and wildly underperforming compared to their talent level in other periods. At the end of the day, they limped into the postseason (+135 odds) after snapping a five-game outright losing streak in the season finale to push their season win total of 9. The Dolphins opened the season with an 8-3 record and had the fifth-best odds to win the Super Bowl at +1200 in Week 13, but they ended up needing a head-to-head tiebreaker with the Steelers to grab the AFC’s seventh seed. It was the franchise’s third straight winning season and they qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2016 in Mike McDaniel’s first season.

Miami had such a chaotic campaign mostly because of the multiple concussions suffered by Tua Tagovailoa and the subsequent controversy surrounding Miami’s handling of his brain health. He appeared to suffer a concussion in Week 3 but he was allowed to return to action in their victory over the Bills. He then stepped back onto the field just four days later on Thursday Night Football and suffered a gruesome head injury that caused his fingers to seize up. Tua missed two games before returning and playing MVP-caliber football — his odds were as short as +500 in November — but he suffered another concussion in Week 16 that knocked him out for the remainder of the season. He still finished as the league’s most efficient passer in TD rate (6.3%), YPA (8.9), and QB rating (105.5). Miami opened the off-season by stunning the league with its acquisition of Tyreek Hill from the Chiefs for five draft picks. He didn’t disappoint with career-bests in receptions (119) and receiving yards (1710), forming the NFL’s best-WR duo with Jaylen Waddle, who paced the league with an 18.1 YPR average. Miami’s defense ranked in the bottom 10 in PPG allowed (23.5) after ranking in the top half of the league in PPG allowed in their final two seasons under Brian Flores.

What to look for this off-season

Tua seems intent on continuing his NFL career in 2023 and beyond, and his health is the most important storyline to follow this off-season. The Dolphins will likely bring in a veteran quarterback as a backup plan behind Tagovailoa like they did with Teddy Bridgewater last off-season, who ran into his own troubles staying healthy in 2022, which forced seventh-round pick Skylar Thompson to play more than the franchise would’ve liked. Tua is also eligible for a contract extension entering his fourth season, which complicates the situation for both parties. Tagovailoa has the NFL’s most dangerous WR combo already, but the Dolphins need to keep improving his offensive line after signing Terron Armstead last off-season. Miami also needs to fix a banged-up defense that underperformed from previous seasons, which got Josh Boyer fired after a three-year run as defensive coordinator. They tried to improve their defense by acquiring Bradley Chubb from the Broncos for a first-round pick at the trade deadline, which leaves them with just five picks in April after last year’s Hill trade. Miami is expected to let Mike Gesicki walk in free agency after McDaniel found little use for him, but they’ll try to keep the likes of Elandon Roberts, Jeff Wilson, and Raheem Mostert in the mix despite their bottom-10 cap situation.

3. New England Patriots

  • Record (ATS): 8-9 (7-9-1)
  • Season Win Total: Under 8.5
  • One-possession Record: 4-4
  • Missed Playoff Odds: -165
  • Over/Under record: 8-9
  • PPG: 21.4 (17th)
  • PPG Allowed: 20.4 (11th)
  • Average Scoring Margin: +1.0 (10th)
  • Turnover Differential: +7 (t-4th)

Season Review

Bill Belichick is closing in on Don Shula’s all-time wins record of 318, sitting just 30 victories behind Shula’s legendary mark and 20 wins behind George Halas in third place overall. Belichick may now have to coach an extra season to chase down Shula’s record after leaving a few wins on the table by mismanaging his offensive coaching staff in 2022. Longtime offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels left to become the Raiders' head coach last off-season. Belichick opted to hand his offense to a pair of veteran non-offensive assistants in Matt Patricia and Joe Judge, who combined for a 23-52-1 record (.306) as head coaches away from Belichick’s nest. The Patricia/Judge experiment went even worse than imagined with the Patriots averaging the seventh-fewest YPG (314.6). Mac Jones saw his TD rate (4.2% to 3.4%), YPA (7.3 to 6.8), and QB rating (92.5 to 84.8) plummet as a sophomore under their tutelage, and Jones even found himself in a mini-QB controversy with fourth-round pick Bailey Zappe.

The Patriots were still in a position to grab one of the AFC’s top Wild Card spots with a 6-4 start to the season, but they dropped five of their final seven games to miss the playoffs (-165) for the second time in three years in the post-Tom Brady era. New England hit arguably its lowest point in the Belichick era when Jakobi Meyers made the dumbest play in NFL history, which crushed their postseason hopes. He tried to lateral a pass to Jones in a tied game with no time left on the clock, only to have Chandler Jones snatch the ball and return it for a game-winning touchdown. Rhamondre Stevenson had a breakout sophomore campaign with 1461 scrimmage yards and 69 receptions, but even his performance tailed off at the end of the season. Belichick’s defense still kept the Patriots in contention most weeks, and they led the league with seven defensive touchdowns.

What to look for this off-season

New England’s top priority is to fix their broken offense from last season. They took a promising first step to do it by hiring former offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien, who called offenses for the Texans plus Alabama and Penn State at the college level since last leading New England’s offense in 2011. He’ll be tasked with getting Mac Jones back on track entering his third season, but it also isn’t out of the question that the Patriots have a QB competition between Jones and Zappe this summer. The Patriots also need to improve their tackle spots and they need to find a difference-maker at receiver after trotting out a bunch of secondary options at the position since Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman left the mix. New England ranks in the top 10 in cap space once again after they went on a spending spree after the 2020 season, and they’re expected to have 11 draft picks once compensatory selections are awarded, including the 14th overall pick. This year will be the earliest the Patriots have been on the clock since 2008 when they used New Orleans’ pick to select Jerod Mayo 10th overall — he’s the new potential successor to the Belichick throne. The Patriots have some decisions to make with the likes of Jonathan Jones, Meyers, Isaiah Wynn, Damien Harris, and Devin McCourty hitting free agency.

4. New York Jets

  • Record (ATS): 7-10 (8-9)
  • Season Win Total: Over 5.5
  • One-possession Record: 4-6
  • Missed Playoff Odds: -1000
  • Over/Under record: 5-12
  • PPG: 17.4 (29th)
  • PPG Allowed: 18.6 (4th)
  • Average Scoring Margin: -1.2 (t-18th)
  • Turnover Differential: -7 (t-28th)

Season Review

The Jets appeared headed toward ending their league-worst streak of six straight seasons with a losing record when they opened the year with a 7-4 mark through Week 13 — they cleared their win total of 5.5 by Week 9. New York’s offense hit the skids starting in December, though, losing six straight games to lock in double-digit losses for a third straight season and to miss the playoffs for an NFL-worst 12th consecutive season (-1000 odds). They failed to score touchdowns in their final three games and averaged only 8.8 PPG in their final five contests after averaging 21.0 PPG in their first 12 games. New York’s offense wasted one of the league’s best defenses, which limited opponents to the fourth-fewest PPG (18.6) and YPG (311.1). Fourth-overall pick Sauce Gardner elevated the entire defense with two INTs and a league-high 20 passes defended to put him in the driver’s seat to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year.

The Jets also had one of the favorites for Offensive Rookie of the Year in Breece Hall before he tore his ACL in Week 7. He posted an impressive 80/463/4 rushing (5.8 YPC) and 19/218/1 receiving (11.5 YPR) in his seven games for a ridiculous 6.9 yards per touch average. Garrett Wilson took Breece’s place as the team’s offensive focal point and as a favorite OROY, ending his rookie campaign with 83/1103/4 receiving (13.3 YPR) on the second-most targets (147) all-time for a rookie WR. He excelled and the Jets stayed in playoff contention until Week 17 despite yet another massively disappointing campaign from 2021 No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson. He got benched two different times in his sophomore season with the most embarrassing coming on Thursday Night Football in Week 16 for CFL standout and Tim Tebow-wannabe Chris Streveler. Wilson finished with a league-worst completion percentage (54.5%) and more INTs (7) than TDs (6) for the second straight season. It didn’t help that stud OG Alijah Vera-Tucker missed the final 10 games of the season, and 2020 first-round OT Mekhi Becton has played just one game in the last two seasons.

What to look for this off-season

The reason for New York’s disappointing 2022 campaign can be boiled down to their terrible play from the quarterback position. The organization decided to make OC Mike LaFleur the fall guy for the entire coaching staff, which put the rest of the coaching staff on notice to make the playoffs in 2023 or else be fired. It also likely hurt them when they went to hire LaFleur’s replacement. They churned through more than 15 candidate interviews before settling on Nathaniel Hackett, whose Broncos’ offense averaged only 15.5 PPG before getting fired after just 15 games. Let the Aaron Rodgers to the Jets rumors commence. The Jets can’t waste their top-flight defense with another awful season from their quarterbacks, and they figure to aggressively pursue a veteran at the position to try to break their embarrassing playoff drought. New York is in solid standing against the cap compared to the rest of the league, and they could gain more space by releasing Carl Lawson ($15 million in relief) and Corey Davis ($10.5 million) to help facilitate a deal for a quarterback. A splashy QB acquisition would potentially hinder them from keeping players like Sheldon Rankins and Connor McGovern. New York will return to a normal draft-day routine after having six selections inside the top 36 picks over the last two seasons. They’ve done extremely well with most of their selections with one notable selection in Wilson, whose time in New York is uncertain starting this off-season.

Tom is a Senior Writer at Fantasy Points who specializes in fantasy and betting analysis. He’ll be helping you to navigate the waiver wire and manage your fantasy teams while also keeping our betting content robust all year long, especially during the season. Tom's Best Bets against the spread won at 64.3% clip last season and he owned the last undefeated team out of 3000 entries in Scott Fish Bowl 12.