Yes, there are less than 100 days left for the kick off of the 2022 NFL Season; Most of the big-name free agents are no longer available, the NFL Draft has also come to an end, and that means the rosters of the league’s 32 organizations are gradually beginning to take shape. So now is the perfect time to consider the best and worst case scenarios for each AFC East team next season.
Before starting, it is necessary to emphasize that the aspirations of the Bills, Dolphins, Jets and Patriots, for the next season, are clearly not similar. There are teams destined to fight for SB LVII, many others would settle for extending their regular season and entering the Playoffs, while there are also those that could classify as success the simple fact of not closing the year with a negative record.
Without further ado, here are the best and worst case scenarios for each AFC East team in the 2022 NFL Season:
Best situation: Be champions of SB LVII
Technically, there is no better scenario for any team than Super Bowl champions, but it’s not a realistic option for everyone. In this case, it is for the Bills, and “better situation” is a pretty friendly term for Buffalo, who have missed the NFL Championship Game for two years in a row.
Honestly, Sean McDermott’s side have the best squad in the AFC East; Winning their division shouldn’t be difficult for them next season. Therefore, the real test would begin in the postseason, where they will have to finally topple the Chiefs who deprived them of the throne in both 2020 and 2021. Although, this time, the AFC is full of talent, so the Bills will have to overcome more uncomfortable rivals such as Chargers, Bengals, Ravens, among others.
worst situation: Not entering the postseason
The narrative, for the third season in a row, remains the same: the Bills must be champions of the Super Bowl, which, for the LVII edition, will be played in Glendale, Arizona. Any other result than winning Vince Lombardi should be classified as a resounding failure for the simple fact that this team has a fearsome squad that, if it already was, is now even more so after the incorporation of LB Von Miller, superstar of the league.
However, for Buffalo, although it is a failure not to be crowned in SB LVII, their worst scenario is not to enter the postseason, which would be equivalent to not being champions of an AFC East which at this point they seem to own. If the division, the playoffs, or even just the Super Bowl slips out of their hands, it’s only fair to start wondering where this project is headed and how much longer it can hold up as the perfect prototype of already merited.
Best situation: In his first year as a HC, Mike McDaniel puts Miami in the Playoffs
Two consecutive years with a winning brand They haven’t paid off in Miami, who have only had a taste of the playoffs once in the last 13 seasons. Extending such a negative streak would be alarming, as it would mean a couple of things: that the reinforcements of Tyreek Hill and Terron Armstead were in vain, and that QB Tua Tagovailoa, who will be mentioned below, would not be worthy of having the keys to this organization heading for the long-term future.
On the other hand, it remains to be seen with what face the Dolphins will face the 2022 NFL Season, who will reformulate their identity at the hands of the new HC Mike McDaniel, who, in addition to being characterized by his love of running the ball, enters to leave behind a once and for all the Brian Flores era, which ended with overwhelming controversy and even a lawsuit against the league and three of its teams.
worst situation: Tua Tagovailoa is not consolidated as a franchise quarterback
Last call for Tagovailoa. At first glance, the native of Ewa Beach, Hawaii, is often criticized without much foundation: record of 13-8 as a starter, and 449 passes for 4,467 yards, 27 TD and 15 INT is what Tua records in two years with the Dolphins. The problem is that he came out of the same draft class as Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert, who are clearly one step above a Tagovailoa who is running out of time to establish himself as a franchise quarterback.
Miami went to great lengths this offseason to change Tua’s narrative, not just signing Hill and Armstead, but signing WR Cedrick Wilson or OG Connor Williams. Thus, Tagovailoa finds himself surrounded by talent like never before, and one of the most disappointing cases in 2022 would be to finish without the Playoffs, since they would show a regression compared to his last two years. This team must take the expected leap or, otherwise, it will be the end of an ephemeral era, where everything would start with a change of QB.
New England Patriots
Best situation: Mac Jones shines in his second year, puts the Patriots back in the Playoffs
The post-Tom Brady era has been extremely turbulent in New England, who in the last two seasons they register a combined mark of 17-16, but the time has come for them to find a much-needed consistency. Last year they already made it clear that they are capable of entering the playoffs, but they were thrashed by the Bills. Therefore, now they must show that they can be competitive with QB Mac Jones, and the first step to maneuver the change of era is to be recurring in the postseason.
Jones, without much hesitation, was the best rookie quarterback in 2021, recording 3,801 yards, 22 TDs and 13 INTs. Having only one season in the league and having already had a trip to the Playoffs speaks volumes about the player’s leadership capacity. Also, during this offseason, the Patriots signed WR DeVante Parker. New weapon for Jones, combined with his experience, could make New England a more serious team than anticipated next year.
worst situation: Offense resents Josh McDaniels departure; take a step back
All is not rosy in New England, who are about to face a rare problem they haven’t had since 2011: Who will call the offensive plays next season? OC Josh McDaniels stepped down to become Raiders head coach, leaving a huge hole in the staff of HC Bill Belichick, who has never been a fan of imposing titles on his coaching staff, but it was always obvious that McDaniels was the one he was in charge of the plays.
Thus, everything would indicate that this complicated task will fall to a Matt Patricia who has worked with the offensive line during the current offseason, or to a Joe Judge who has been in charge of the quarterbacks. Whatever the final decision, this offense could resent the departure of McDaniels, especially Jones, who can’t be assured that he will perform like he did last year under a new system. Will the Patriots be able to adapt to the change? If the answer on the field is negative, they could hit rock bottom sooner rather than later.
New York Jets
Best situation: Close the year with a winning record
The Jets had a great Free Agency, they also made some quality additions in the NFL Draft, and therefore they can dream big or, at least, they can be realistic. Last season they finished with an awful 4-13 record, but the same is not expected for 2022. New York are now a more prepared and complete team so, with some help, they could close the year with a winning record: Some kind of 9-8 is the best case scenario for this team and they could be well served.
Really, the postseason still looks a long way off; if they were members of the NFC, which was weakened this offseason, another narrative would be. But within an American Conference where stars like Russell Wilson, Matt Ryan, Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill, among others, landed, the Jets still look a step below several franchises although, honor to whom honor is due, this reconstruction period looks extremely well headed.
worst situation: Zach Wilson does not take off
QB Zach Wilson, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 Draft who pitched just 9 TDs against 11 INTs during his rookie campaign, will be the center of attention for this team next season. The worst case scenario for the Jets is not only ending with the same sad record as last year, but the fact that their franchise quarterback turns out not to be and that they have to fish again in the 2023 Draft for a position they already thought have solved.
So, it’s time for a big twist. During the last two years, the Jets register a record of 6-27. Plus, in six of the last seven seasons they’ve finished bottom of the AFC East, and they can’t afford those luxuries again. If his good free-agent additions, coupled with his talented draft picks, don’t translate into wins, the problem could be seen as not the players, but the culture behind the organization, and that doesn’t change overnight. .
What are each of the AFC East teams destined for in the 2022 NFL Season? Which of the aforementioned will manage to give a better role next year? We read you in the comments below this article and on our social networks.
Don’t forget to check out the rest of the best and worst case scenarios in 2022 series below.:
|Best and worst scenario for each team in the 2022 NFL Season|
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Best and worst case scenario for each AFC East team in 2022