Photo: Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire

There is an argument to be made that three out of the four teams in the AFC East can win the Super Bowl. There is also a case that the fourth team might have drafted the best quarterback in the draft. With so many teams fighting for ultimate glory, this division is shaping up to be one of the most competitive in the NFL. 

To break it all down, Mark Schofield from SB Nation joins our own Bryce Rossler to look at each team in this division in the latest episode of Off The Charts.


Let’s dive into one thing Bryce and Mark talked about for each team and how it will shape the landscape of the AFC East this season. 

How vulnerable are the Bills to giving up the AFC East crown?

In the offseason, the Bills lost Stefon Diggs, Tre’Davious White, Mitch Morse, Leonard Floyd, Jordan Poyer, Gabe Davis, and potentially Micah Hyde. A serious reshaping of the roster will take effect in 2024, putting all the more pressure on Josh Allen to be an MVP caliber quarterback.

The Bills have decided to put all their eggs into the Allen MVP basket, as they have given him fewer weapons to make hay on the offensive side of the ball. The last two years of production show that he is capable of achieving this level, as he is only behind Patrick Mahomes in Total Points in that time. 

“They still have who I would say is the second-best quarterback in football in Josh Allen. And, despite all the things I said about Josh Allen coming out, he’s a guy that can and has carried this team. But this is kind of a soft rebuilding year for them.”

– Bryce Rossler

A soft rebuild? With all the talent in the AFC East, it is certainly reasonable to think this team is vulnerable to not win the division. 

The Jets don’t need vintage Aaron Rodgers to make noise this year.

The 2024 Jets are primed to take a major step forward assuming that they can get a lot more than 4 plays out of Aaron Rodgers this year. 

They bolstered the offensive line by signing veteran tackles Morgan Moses and Tyron Smith, and then used the 11th pick in the draft on another tackle in Penn State’s Olu Fashanu.

After Rodgers went down, less-than-middling quarterback play ultimately led to their demise. Their young talents in Breece Hall and Garrett Wilson were severely limited by this, and they could never make the impact that they are capable of.

On the other side of the ball, the Jets boast one of the best stop-units in the NFL. In 2023, they ranked second in EPA per play against the pass and sixth against the run. That’s all the more impressive with them being on the field more often than not due to the inept offense. Quinnen Williams and Sauce Gardner will once again be the anchors, with both coming off Pro Bowl seasons and Gardner his second straight first team All-Pro season.

All of the talent here suggests that Rodgers doesn’t need to be otherwordly. 

“They need just say an average Rodgers, like, subpar year. He probably gets them to be a playoff team, and that was the hope going into last year. If you just got sort of run-of-the-mill season type numbers from Aaron Rodgers, you’re probably a playoff team.”

– Mark Schofield

Anything can be better than an offense that ranked last in passing EPA and positive play percentage that the Jets’ quarterbacks gave them last season, so a jump to at worst 16th would be a major improvement and can get this team to a place it hasn’t been to since the days of Mark Sanchez.

How good does the Miami Dolphins defense need to be?

The departure of Vic Fangio at defensive coordinator, late-season injuries to Bradley Chubb and Jaelan Phillips, and free agency losses in Christian Wilkins and Andrew Van Ginkel leave a lot of questions about this Dolphins defense. This defense ranked 12th in EPA per play last season before all that upheaval.

However, there is still plenty of talent here. Phillips and Chubb will return at some point during the season and the Dolphins used their first round pick on Penn State edge rusher Chop Robinson to add to the rotation. Jalen Ramsey ranked first in EPA per target allowed among cornerbacks in a partial season. Jevon Holland also finished in the Top 10 in EPA per target among safeties with 15 targets.

The Dolphins also added Jordyn Brooks and Jordan Poyer via free agency, two players who had significant impacts to their prior teams. Brooks topped linebackers in Pass Rush Total Points per play while Poyer was Top 10 among safeties in Run Defense Total Points.

Anthony Weaver comes in from the Ravens to take the reins of a defense that has seen a lot of moving parts. Luckily, this offense is still good enough to lead this team, so a top five defense isn’t really required.

“I think this doesn’t need to be a top five defense. This doesn’t need to be a defense that you’re calling on and hoping will pitch a shutout here and there. It needs to be the kind of defense that can steal an extra possession or two for your offense, particularly. On those days where that offense is struggling a little bit, give them a short field, give them an extra possession via a turnover, things like that.”

– Mark Schofield

Can Drake Maye be the answer for the Patriots to push the ball down the field? 

As soon as the 2023 NFL Draft was complete, rumblings began about the 2024 talent at quarterback. At the time, Drake Maye and Caleb Williams were considered the top tier, and mock drafts varied between the two on who would be the top pick.

Fast forward a year after the rise of Jayden Daniels and the meteoric rise of Williams, Maye dropped out of the top tier and ended up as the third overall pick of the draft. 

Yes, Maye also took a bit of a step back in 2023, with fewer passing yards and a lower Independent Quarterback Rating (IQR) for the Tar Heels, but there are plenty of signs that the Patriots might have found the guy to build around in the future.

“You see some of the throws, some of the reads, the willingness to attack the middle of the field with velocity between defenders with anticipation type throws. You see the competitive toughness, which is the thing that I value highly in quarterbacks.” 

– Mark Schofield

In his two full seasons Maye had the 3rd and 15th most pass attempts between the numbers in the FBS, respectively, and he was in the Top 15 in IQR (our Independent QB Rating stat)  in both seasons.

Going forward, Maye and the Patriots will look to add verticality in the offense under new offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt. Van Pelt comes from a Browns offense that ranked 7th in average depth of target in 2023. The Patriots’ offense ranked 28th.

The goal this year is to evaluate Maye and see if he can be the quarterback of the future, so giving him every possible opportunity to excel in this offense is crucial. 

So what do Mark and Bryce think on how the division will pan out? You can check out the full podcast here for more of a breakdown as well as their predictions.