From 2003-2019, the New England Patriots won all but one AFC East title. The Miami Dolphins took it in 2008, by tiebreaker, when Tom Brady missed nearly the entire season.
That unprecedented domination ended abruptly. Brady left the Patriots. And the Buffalo Bills took over the division.
The Bills won their second straight AFC East title last season and are favored to win a third straight division title. Only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are bigger favorites to win their respective division. It's hard to talk yourself into anyone but the Bills winning the AFC East.
That changed fast.
The Bills are big favorites in the AFC East. Here are the BetMGM odds:
Miami Dolphins +400
New York Jets +1800
Both of these statements are true: The Bills are tough to bet against, and the other three teams in the AFC East all have some intriguing potential.
The Patriots made it back to the playoffs last season, but were blown out by the Bills in a wild-card game. Mac Jones was surprisingly effective as a rookie and should be better. The Patriots made some moves this offseason that were questioned, but that's nothing new. It always works out fine for them. When you have Bill Belichick, you're never going to be that bad.
The Dolphins were aggressive in the offseason, which is what they do. They added Tyreek Hill and made moves to fix a bad offensive line. If it doesn't happen for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in his third season, it likely never will.
Then there's the Jets, whose draft was universally loved. They had a good draft last year too. If second-year quarterback Zach Wilson takes a step forward with a better supporting cast, they could far exceed expectations.
Yet, it would take a massive improvement for any of those teams to pass the Bills.
Can anyone challenge the Bills?
There's a good reason the Bills are Super Bowl favorites at BetMGM.
Buffalo has a loaded roster. Had the Kansas City Chiefs not pulled a shocking comeback in the final seconds of last season's thrilling AFC divisional playoff game to force overtime, the Bills might have won a Super Bowl. Josh Allen continues to improve and should make an MVP push this season. There's no real weakness on the Bills, and not a lot of reason to bet against them.
That makes betting on the AFC East hard. Laying -190 odds on any team to win a division is difficult. If Buffalo is a team that catches terrible injury luck, the rest of the AFC East is talented enough to take advantage. Yet, heading into the season, it's hard to make a reasonable argument against the Bills winning the AFC East again.
We'll see if any of the other teams in the division can make it interesting.