With the NFL Draft closing in, it’s an excellent opportunity to look back on each division’s 2020 season. Here is your AFC East Division review for 2020.
AFC East 2020: Final Standings
As we’ll highlight in more depth in a minute, 2020 in the AFC East was all about the Buffalo Bills.
Buffalo won their first division crown since 1995, snapping an eleven-year streak from the New England Patriots.
Buffalo Bills (13-3)
Miami Dolphins (10-6)
New England Patriots (7-9)
New York Jets (2-14)
The Bills were the only team to make the playoffs from the AFC East. Miami just missed out on the final Wild Card spot in the conference to the Indianapolis Colts.
Fourth Place: New York Jets
New York Jets Team Page
The Jets, at 2-14, were one of the NFL’s very worst teams. As a result, they will be picking second in the upcoming NFL Draft. Experts and insiders expect New York to take a quarterback.
New York started 0-13 until winning two straight games in Weeks 15 and 16.
The story of their year was another underwhelming season from former first-round pick quarterback Sam Darnold. His lackluster season culminated with a trade to the Carolina Panthers in early April.
New York lacked any juice on the offensive end, often getting blown out by the opposition.
The team fired head coach Adam Gase and replaced him with former San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.
Third Place: New England Patriots
New England Patriots Team Page
2020 marked the first year New England did not have Tom Brady on their roster since 2000. Brady, of course, went on to win the Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The transition led to the end of the era. Six Super Bowls and 17 AFC East championships since 2001, 2020 was not the same.
The Pats finished 7-9, with erratic play from quarterback Cam Newton capturing much of the storyline.
Newton threw just eight passing touchdowns to go along with ten interceptions, though he did score 12 times with his legs.
Newton was re-signed and will return as the starter in 2021.
Second Place: Miami Dolphins
Miami Dolphins Team Page
The Dolphins had one of their best years in a long time, finishing 10-6.
Miami drafted former Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovaliao with their top pick, and the rookie passer initially sat behind Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick was having one of the best seasons of his long career, but the Dolphins made a switch for their future.
Tagovailoa ended up starting nine games, with his first start coming at the beginning of November.
It was an up-and-down stretch for the rookie, which has left some questioning if he is the answer. Fitzpatrick signed with Washington in the offseason.
The Dolphins have some intriguing young weapons, including Myles Gaskin, DeVante Parker, and Mike Gesicki.
First Place: Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills Team Page
After clinching a Wild Card spot in 2019, the Buffalo Bills and quarterback Josh Allen had a coming-out party in 2020.
Their 13-3 season often saw them dominate teams through the air. Allen had a quartet of receivers who had a knack for big plays. A strong offensive and defensive line helped take Buffalo to the next level.
Allen had some MVP buzz throughout the year. He finished with 4,544 yards passing and 37 touchdowns, along with another eight scores on the ground.
The addition of wide receiver Stefon Diggs in free agency was a huge reason for Allen’s third-year leap. Diggs led the NFL in receiving with 1,535 yards, scoring eight times.
Buffalo won their first two playoff games against the Colts and Ravens before losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship.