Analyzing All 4 AFC East Teams’ Futures Outlook for 2021

NFL AFC East Futures

We saw something new in the AFC East in 2020 when the Buffalo Bills took the division for the first time since 1995. And if you put a futures bet on the Bills, you won some money. Further, you almost won even more if you placed a straight bet on them all the way to the Super Bowl.

However, the Bills probably won’t win the AFC East so easily in 2021. In fact, you can expect a three-horse race for the title this season with Miami surging and the New England Patriots pulling off a rebuild literally overnight. But what else would you expect from Bill Belichick?

Today’s post breaks down all 4 AFC East Team’s futures outlook for 2021. If you’re looking for insight within the division, you need to keep reading.

1. Buffalo Bills

The Buffalo Bills finished 13-3 and won the AFC East easily. They were so good; they made it to the AFC Championship Game, where those pesky Kansas City Chiefs eliminated them one game out from the Super Bowl.

Now, the Bills are favorites to win the AFC East again, and chances are if you’re looking for a safe bet, they’re probably your best idea. The Bills have stability, a true franchise quarterback, and playmakers on both sides of the ball.

They’re a great football team who had spent the previous 4 seasons building a winner. Now, that winner has arrived and perhaps this season you’ll see the team return to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1993, which rounded out the Four Falls of Buffalo.

Buffalo Bills 2021

However, the Bills face more competition in 2021. And the Dolphins threatened there for a while in 2020. In Year 3 of their own rebuild, the Dolphins feature a strong offense full of playmakers in the pass-catching unit along with an upcoming quarterback in Tua Tagovailoa.

They figure to be the biggest threat to the Bills. But don’t count out the New England Patriots, who are coming off of a monster free agency period. In fact, the Pats “raided” the Dolphins roster to bring back a few familiar faces.

You can expect a dogfight in the AFC East. So odds are, the Bills remain the best bet. However, their odds for repeating as AFC East Champions or even encroaching an Over/Under have grown slimmer. They’re still lower-risk, but don’t expect a cakewalk in 2021.

2. Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins finished 10-6 and finally look to be turning the corner. While they saw some success throughout the 2000s and 2010s, it was never consistent. These days, head coach Brian Flores is looking to consistently take the Dolphins to a place they haven’t been since the Dan Marino era.

While the Dolphins look like a solid bet at least regarding the Over/Under, it’s also fair to say they will struggle against Buffalo and possibly against their old rival, New England. The Patriots snagged a few old faces back from the Dolphins, and Flores himself is a disciple of the Belichick coaching tree.

However, Tua can make The Leap in Year 2.

Tua Tagovailoa Miami Dolphins

And with Devante Parker, Mike Gesicki, and now Will Fuller in the lineup, he can further showcase his talents in South Beach.

If there is one team that is capable of in the futures betting category, it’s the Dolphins. And as mentioned, they should at least threaten the Over/Under. However, if they continue to point north on the radar, they can take it to their rivals in the north, including those pesky Patriots.

It really depends on how much the team has grown from Year 2 to Year 3 under Flores. If the Dolphins put together a good draft in April 2021, their futures odds will skyrocket. However, still be careful, given the Bills and Patriots.

3. New England Patriots

Perhaps no other team put the NFL Universe on notice more than the New England Patriots. And after 2-plus decades of dealing with the ageless Bill Belichick stalking the sidelines, should we really be surprised?

In free agency, the Patriots re-signed Cam Newton. And considering Newton’s awful 2020 in which he even acknowledged his “benching would be permanent” at one point in the season, they re-signed him to a one-year deal.

Cam Newton Patriots Smiling

Further, the Patriots signed the 2 top tight ends in free agency, Jonnu Smith, and Hunter Henry. Both of whom became solid starters with the Tennessee Titans (Smith) and Los Angeles Chargers (Henry).

Also, the Patriots signed the productive Nelson Agholor, and brought back center Ted Karras. They also traded for tackle Trent Brown, and brought in center David Andrews. A solid offensive free agent class altogether.

Please Note:
They really stepped it up on defense, having signed linebackers Matthew Judon, Kyle Van Noy, and Raekwon McMillan. All 3 of whom figure to start on the revamped linebacking unit that will also include the returning Dont’a Hightower. And we haven’t gotten to the NFL Draft. Odds are, many of us will at least consider placing a wager on the Patriots. Or as the NFL Network is calling them, the “Throwback Patriots.” However, the Patriots are also facing tougher competition than any other time during the 2000s and 2010s. They won the AFC East every year during the first 2 decades except for 2000, 2002, and 2008. Most of the time, they won it with ease.

These days, you can’t expect the Patriots to have such a clear-cut path to the division title, even if it’s more than possible that they will encroach the Over/Under and perhaps make a playoff appearance. The Bills and Dolphins are stronger than ever, so expect a hard-fought rise back to the top.

Plus, if you are a conservative bettor, the Patriots are no longer the safest bet in the East.

4. New York Jets

It’s crazy to see just how many players were willing to drop everything and join the NFL’s doormat in the New York Jets. But the New York Market will always attract key players, even if the Jets have hardly anything to show since their lone Super Bowl win back in 1968.

Since then, they have seen 0 Super Bowl appearances, a handful of AFC Championship appearances, and even fewer AFC East Championships.

But, as mentioned, the New York Market alone attracts star players, even if it means signing with arguably the NFL’s least successful franchise since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970.

Corey Davis, Carl Lawson, Keelan Cole, and Jarrad Davis are 4 high-profile names that dropped everything to join the Jets. And before he re-signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers, there were rumblings that JuJu Smith-Schuster was in talks to sign.

Juju Smith

Imagine that.

They also signed serviceable gadgets like Dan Feeney and Lamarcus Joyner. Now, the Jets figure to be only a quarterback away from at least making things interesting.

If they still have faith in Sam Darnold, and they should, they’re free to draft a few more cornerstones to build around him.

Sam Darnold Jets

While it’s still premature to think the New York Jets are a solid futures bet, they have enough puzzle pieces in place along with a reputable, competent coach, to at least make a run here.

Should you bet on the Jets?

You at least need to monitor what’s going on over in the Big Apple. Especially if they stick with Darnold. Only consider if you’re an aggressive bettor who is looking to wager a surprise team. But the Jets may not disappoint you if you put your faith into them.

AFC East Outlook

The Buffalo Bills are clear-cut favorites to win the AFC East. So if you’re conservative, they’re the best team on today’s list to put your money on. However, don’t automatically think that the Bills will have it so easy in 2021.

If you believe the NFL’s Greatest Head Coach in Bill Belichick is poised for another run after the free agent frenzy, you may be right. However, as with the Bills, this isn’t the same AFC East from the Brady-Belichick Era.

If you bet on the Patriots, don’t expect an easy return to the top.

The Miami Dolphins are on the outside, looking in. But they appear weaker after the Patriots coaxed a few of their then-former players back north. However, they also appear to be stronger on offense. The Dolphins are that high-risk, high-reward bet.

The Jets are only appropriate to wager if you’re looking for a bottom-dweller from 2020 to take a flyer on. Sure, they can shock the NFL universe, but in 2021, it’s farfetched. Especially given the talent in the other 3 cities.


There is no clear-cut winner in the AFC East once again. For years, the Patriots were a surefire moneymaker for futures bettors.

Please Note:
Now, it’s not the case and the AFC East has become perhaps one of the riskiest divisions in which to place a futures bet. Not that you should steer clear, but proceed with caution.

Are you considering placing a futures bet on a team from the AFC East in 2021 at any of the top NFL betting sites? If so, which team do you like the most and which would you stay away from? Let us in on your perspective in the comments.

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Rex Hoffman / Author

Rex Hoffman is a passionate sports writer, with over five years of experience covering sports journalism in line with the Vegas betting landscape. His favorite subjects include football, basketball, and baseball. As a Las Vegas resident, he enjoys finding an edge against the local sportsbooks and aims to share his extensive knowledge with both beginners and experienced bettors. Rex also dabbles in horse racing wagering and enjoys typical casino fare like blackjack and poker in his spare time.