Patriots Take Home NFL Record 8th Straight AFC East Title
Written by: Quintin Bentley Crevling
The New England Patriots have won the AFC East for the thirteenth time in the last fourteen season!
The Pats have won their division for an NFL record eighth straight year, putting together a streak unparalleled throughout the history of the league.
The division was home to the playoff bound miami dolphins, who made the postseason for the first time in eight years. The Dolphins speedy young players blew past the defenders as the team had the second highest percentage of big plays. A big play is defined as a rush for over 10 yards and a passing play of more than 25 yards.
The Buffalo Bills and New York Jets brought up the tail end of the division with both teams struggling to find their identity this season.
The Bills offense has seen the rise of quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who has made his name known this season by passing the ball very well despite throwing to a subpar receiving corps.
The Jets had the opposite problem, with an offense packed full of weapons and no quarterback to get them the ball. New York finished the season with a 5-11 record and should be looking to the draft to find a serviceable signal caller.
Bill Belichick has cemented his name in the history books as the greatest head coach in NFL history.
Belichick drafted quarterback Tom Brady in his first season with the Patriots and they quickly became the best head coach and quarterback combination the league has ever seen. This year the two have posted their fifteenth season with ten or more wins.
The entire Patriots organization went into the season fueled by the heavy penalties handed down by the NFL after the deflategate scandal (in which New England allegedly deflated footballs in the 2014 AFC championship game). The penalties included a four game suspension for quarterback Tom Brady, removal of 1st and 4th round draft picks, and a $1 million fine; the largest fine ever given to an NFL organization.
The Pats went on to win 3 of their 4 games while Brady was suspended, making a statement to the rest of the league that they were a great team without the future hall of fame quarterback, and they were going to be an unstoppable force when he returns.
A 39 year old Brady went on to have the second best season of his remarkable career, completing 67.4% of his passes for 3,554 yards, 28 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions for an extremely impressive 112.2 passer rating in only 12 games.
Tom lead his team to an 11-1 record, with his only loss coming from the new dynasty on the block, Seattle Seahawks.
New England had a very well rounded team this season, the offense finishing fourth in total yards and the defense allowing the fewest points in the league.
The big surprise this season came when New England traded Pro Bowl linebacker Jamie Collins midseason for a fourth round draft pick because he was going to ask for a large contract after the season was over and his production was dwindling.
With Tom Brady heading into his seventh Super Bowl, the big question going into the offseason is: how much longer can he conceivably play?
The Fins opened the season to a deflating 1-4 record.
First year head coach Adam Gase struggled to find traction, averaging just over 17 points per game in the first five weeks of the season. The Dolphins offense exploded, averaging nearly 27 points a game over the following six matchups.
Miami finished the season on a 9-2 stretch, arriving to the postseason right as they were gaining momentum.
The Dolphins put together one of the best teams this year despite having to place nine defenders on injured reserve. Gase has transformed the mindset in Miami and they are going to compete regardless of who is able to take the field.
The Ryan brothers have been reunited at last as head coach Rex Ryan hired his long hair, potbelly, brother Rob to be his assistant head coach.
It seems as if the entire NFL community was excited about the antics we were sure to see from the fun loving twins. The novelty quickly faded for Bills fans as the team was plagued by inconsistent play across the board.
Buffalo had four instances this season in which they lost back-to-back games.
The silver lining for the Bills was a rushing offense that ranked first in the league with a former All-Pro running back in LeSean McCoy and the scrambling quarterback Tyrod Taylor who added 580 yards to an already solid unit.
The front office made the decision to fire the Ryan brothers at the culmination of the season. With respected coaches like Belichick and Gase in the division, it will be interesting to see who the Buffalo hires this offseason.
The Jets have finished in the bottom of the division for the second time in three seasons.
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has taken the brunt of the criticism this year, posting the worst season of his 12 year career with 2,710 yards, 12 touchdowns, 17 interceptions, and an extremely bleak 69.6 passer rating.
New York has the offensive weapons to be one of the biggest threats in the league, but they will need to invest millions of dollars or a high draft pick for a confident quarterback who can get play makers the football.