AFC East Review: Have Jets caught up in highly competitive division?

Have Jets caught up to AFC East rivals?
Jets running back James Robinson (23) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown against the Bills.
AP Photo/John Minchillo

There was plenty to like about the New York Jets in 2022. They had a top offensive rookie, a top-five defense, and finished with the most wins they have had in over seven years. 

And yet despite all the progress made, New York’s 7-10 record was good enough for another last-place finish in the AFC East. The division may have missed out on the “best overall” record to their NFC counterparts, but there is still plenty of talent the Jets will have to overcome if they want to be seen as a championship contender. 

With the expected imminent arrival of Aaron Rodgers though, the tides of the division certainly feel like they have turned. To look to see if that’s truly happened, let’s take a look at the rest of New York’s most hated foes. 

Buffalo Bills – trouble up north?

In all seriousness, the loss of Tremaine Edmunds and public frustrations of Stefon Diggs isn’t enough to take the Bills out of playoff contention. Buffalo has a top quarterback in Josh Allen, another running back threat in Damian Harris, and the return of Jordan Poyer. 

But should the Jets acquire Rodgers, are they a more complete roster than their northern rivals? It’s hard to see why they wouldn’t be. New York split the season series last year even though they outplayed Buffalo both at MetLife Stadium and on the road. The one edge Buffalo had (quarterback) won’t be the same overwhelming advantage as it has been in recent years.

When comparing the two rosters, New York has the better overall defense and plenty of consistent weapons to keep up with Josh Allen. 

As long as Aaron Rodgers is calling the shots, Gang Green should be pretty confident going into 2023. 

New England Patriots – Belichick’s dysfunctional mess

When was the last time the Patriots have shown to be more dysfunctional than the Jets? New York may be in the negotiating phase with Green Bay over Aaron Rodgers but compare that to what’s going on in New England and the two teams couldn’t be further apart. 

The Patriots added some solid offensive weapons in free agency this year with the signing of JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mike Gesicki. Under Bill O’Brien, the Patriots’ offense should be much improved from last year’s debacle.

That was, of course before the anonymous reports started coming out against their quarterback. Reports ranging from Belichick being upset that Mac Jones wasn’t listening to a defensive linebackers coach calling offensive plays to Robert Kraft having his six-time Super Bowl-winning coach on the hot seat have run rampant in recent weeks. 

Analysts could make fun of the Jets for not having the quarterback situation figured out just yet, but at least they haven’t thrown their leader under the bus like the Patriots are doing. 

Miami Dolphins – Swinging for the fences

The Bills and Patriots are two teams that have arguably got worse over the free-agent period due to players leaving and overall dysfunction. 

For the Miami Dolphins, they are the lone exception in that not only has the team improved, but they might also be the best overall roster on paper in 2023. The trade for Jalen Ramsey completed an already loaded secondary and defense. Offensive acquisitions like Mike White, Braxton Berrios, and Dan Feeney were all done to help improve the depth of the roster should injuries come calling again. 

Remember, Miami made the playoffs last season with their starting quarterback missing four games. The Jets will have the better quarterback when the Rodgers trade is official, but there are very few spots on the roster that they’ll have better players in than Miami. 

This is the matchup that will come down to Rodgers’ greatness, and the ability of Robert Saleh to outcoach his opponent. 

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