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    The AFC East is one of the most competitive divisions in the NFL. No fewer than three teams have a legitimate shot at the playoffs and a couple are being touted as championship contenders. Without question, the landscape of the division changed when Aaron Rodgers was traded to the Jets.

    That the Jets have invested heavily to surround Rodgers with talent is well-known. What’s lesser understood are the moves that the Bills, Dolphins, and Pats have (or have not) made in response. Every team in the AFC East has a difficult schedule and the intra-divisional record for each will be huge in determining playoff seedings come January.

    To determine how things might play out in the AFC East in 2023, we’ll reference each team’s Strength of Schedule (SoS), Projected Wins (PW), and Playoff Probability (POP) as look-ahead metrics. Let’s get into it!

    Buffalo Bills

    SoS: 4th most difficult, PW: 10.6, POP: 67.1% 

    The Bills fell short in ‘22 when Von Miller went down and they have not done much to upgrade their D since at any level. The same can be said of the RB position, where the uninspiring Damien Harris will replace Devin Singletary. The receiving core will get a boost from newly drafted TE Dalton Kincaid, but Stefon Diggs still needs a legit #2 WR to take some of the double coverages away. Where the Bills did spend this offseason was on the interior of the Oline: Guards David Edwards and Connor McGovern were signed as free agents, while G O’Cyrus Torrence was drafted early. 

    Looking at the Bills 2023 schedule and keeping the state of this defense in mind, I don’t have a hard time getting to their projected 10 or 11-win total, but I’d put their playoff probability closer to about 60%. The downgrade comes from the very chewy middle of the Bills ‘23 schedule, which includes tilts against the Bengals, Jets, Eagles, Chiefs, and Cowboys over a seven-week stretch. In survivor formats, the Bills are a good pick in Week 2 vs. the Raiders, and again in Week 3 at the Commanders. In ATS formats, the trends dictate picking Buffalo ATS in away games, but not against divisional opponents.

    Miami Dolphins

    SoS: 3rd most difficult, PW: 9.5, POP: 51.1% 

    The Dolphins were to have two first-round picks in the 2023 NFL Draft but traded one away to the Broncos and lost another to tampering, so Miami was never going to have much of a draft. Short of picking up CB Jalen Ramsey, who was promptly injured, the Dolphins haven’t added a lot, unless you count signing QB Mike White to backup the concussion-prone Tua Tagovailoa, who has missed 15 games over his first three seasons. Oline depth is very suspect going into the season, though the RB room is excellent with Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. now joined by electrifying receiving specialist Devon Achane. 

    Looking at the Dolphins 2023 schedule, I think an over/under on a win total of 8.5 is about right and I can live with a PoP of a little over 50% in this tough division. December and early January are going to be brutal, with games against the Jets, Cowboys, Ravens and Bills all to be played — the Buffalo game on January 7 could well decide who goes to the playoffs and who goes home in the AFC East. In survivor formats, Miami is scheduled to play at home against Carolina’s rookie QB in Week 6 and I like them. In ATS formats, look for the Dolphins as a home favorite, or road underdog, in conference games.

    New England Patriots

    SoS: Most difficult in NFL, PW: 7.8, POP: 27.2% 

    There’s a new OC in town in the contentious Bill O’Brien, and the Pats have added a few pieces through free agency to try and fix their dysfunctional offense. WR JuJu Smith-Schuster and TE Mike Gesicki provide modest receiving options, while OTs Riley Reiff and Calvin Anderson will be asked to toughen up the Oline unit and protect young QB Mac Jones. The defense got better with the selection of island CB Christian Gonzalez and another good pass-rushing option in DE Keion White.   

    Looking at the Patriots’ 2023 schedule, I truly struggle to find more than 5 wins and I give them a zero percent chance of making the playoffs. Their schedule is brutal: In addition to 6 division games against quality competitors, the Pats must also face PHI, DAL, NYG, NO, PIT, and KC this season, which are all playoff-caliber teams. That said, I just don’t like the Patriots’ odds this year. In survivor formats, Week 6 at Las Vegas, Week 9 vs. Washington, and Week 10 vs. the Colts may be your best picks. In ATS formats the Pats were an atrocious 2-7 as an underdog last season, but as a favorite, they went a solid 5-2-1.

    New York Jets

    SoS: 7th most difficult, PW: 9.7, POP: 53.4%  

    The Jets had a busy offseason. In addition to trading for QB Aaron Rodgers, the Jets added WR Allen Lazard, WR Mecole Hardman, WR Randall Cobb, and OT Billy Turner to the O through free agency, and drafted C/G Joe Tippman and OT Carter Warren. Oh, and they also replaced their OC, so, yes, the Jets are going all-in on offense this season. On defense, first-round draft pick DE Will McDonald will join a talented group already composed of Carl Lawson, Jermaine Johnson, and Michael Clemons. They’ll need a strong pass rush again to make up for weaker safety play. 

    Looking at the Jets’ 2023 schedule, the back half is easier than the front. In the first 9 weeks of the season, the Jets must face Buffalo, Dallas, KC, Philly, the Giants, and the Chargers. In the last 9 weeks of the season, they will get the Raiders, Falcons, Texans, Commanders, and Patriots to end the regular season. I have no problem envisioning a 10 or 11-win season for the Jets and I think they will make the playoffs. In survivor formats, I’d wait to use the Jets later in the season when their schedule softens. In ATS formats, just be aware the lines the Jets get in 2023 with Aaron Rodgers at QB will be very different compared to last season.

    Wrap-Up

    It’s not what I thought I would end up writing when I started this analysis, but here goes: The New York Jets are going to win the AFC East in 2023. The Bills will finish up a game or so behind and make it in as a wildcard. Tua will get injured again in Miami and the Dolphins will miss the playoffs. The Pats will be poor in 2023 but have the talent to steal a few games with good coaching.

    NFL FAQs

    How do you play football survival pool?

    Players pick one team each week they think will win the game outright. They may only pick a team ONCE per season, meaning you can't pick the same team twice in one season. If their pick is correct, the player survives another week and continues to play. An incorrect pick eliminates the player from the contest entirely. This is sometimes called an elimination or suicide pool. The last person standing wins.

    How to make a football pool?

    A football pool generally requires the creation of a shareable spreadsheet (like Google Sheets) so that members may pick teams. Then depending on the game type, creators must use several kinds of formulas (e.g. CountIF), data validation, and conditional formatting. Or, you can just use football pool hosting service like RunYourPool where we do all the work for you!

    How to run a weekly football pool?

    In order to run a football pool, you must first crown yourself as Pool Commissioner. Begin by picking a game type like Survivor or Pick'Em. You'll want to establish rules before inviting friends, family, and colleagues to join. As commissioner, you make the rules and also need to enforce them equally and fairly.

    What is a football survivor pool?

    In a Football Survivor Pool, players choose one team weekly they think will win. Usually, a team can be picked one time per season. Picks are made "straight up," no spreads necessary. If a pick is correct, members survive another week. An incorrect pick eliminates the player, unless a mulligan is used.

    How does a football pool work?

    Football pools are games of skill played among a group of people. There are a variety of pool types to fit every players needs, from casual to competitive. Pool commissioners can set up pools manually, or use a hosting service like RunYourPool whiel still customizing your own settings. Some examples include NFL Squares, NFL Survivor, NFL Pick 'Em, and Playoff Brackets.

    What is an NFL pickem pool?

    In an NFL pick’em pool, simply pick the outcome of each NFL game throughout the season. You can pick straight up winners or losers, or pick each game against the spread.

    How to play a football pool?

    The way one plays a football pool varies on the game type. For example, in Survivor, you pick one team to win each week and can't pick that team again. Guess wrong and you lose. Another example is Pick'em Pools in which you simply pick every game each week.

    How does a fantasy football pool work?

    Fantasy football pools don’t involve a traditional fantasy football draft. You can have as many members in your pool as you’d like, meaning no more 12 or 14 team limits! You pick a new lineup of players each week, and once you use a player once, you can’t use them again for the rest of the season.

    What is a fantasy football pool?

    A fantasy football pool is similar to a traditional fantasy football league but without the draft. Pick a new lineup each week, and once you use a player, you can’t use them for the rest of the season. Your players will receive points based on their in-game stats, and the member with the most points at the end of the season is the winner.

    What is a football pool?

    "Football Pool" is a broad term for a group of people competitively guessing the outcome of one or more football games. There are many types of formats, each assigning winners differently. They can be played informally between friends or through a more formalized system. They are often considered a great alternative to fantasy football given the ease of playing, although there are fantasy football pools as well.

    How do football pool squares work?

    There are different kinds of football square pools. Most have a 10x10 grid with one team for the rows and columns. In an attempt to win, participants select a square where they believe the last digit number of each team's score will intersect at the end of each quarter, and the game's end.

    How do you play football squares pools?

    To play a football squares pool, you're going to want to pick the squares with the best odds. As winners are determined by the point totals at the end of each quarter, try to consider options where scores are most common. Some of the most popular squares include 7-3, 7-0, 7-7, and 0-0. Numbers divisible by seven are good starting points.

    How many squares in a football pool?

    In a traditional football squares pool, a grid is sectioned off into 100 squares with 10 columns and 10 rows. This accounts for a direct relationship between each possible digit from 0 to 9 on both the X and Y axis. For smaller square grids like 5x5, multiple numbers can be assigned to each column and row.

    How to play squares football pools?

    Football squares are played by creating a grid, in which Team 1 takes the column and Team 2 the rows. In some cases, participants may claim as many squares as they like. In others, commissioners limit them to one. At the quarter times and end of the game, the winner is decided at the point the scores final digit intersect.

    What is a football squares pool?

    Also called Grid, Block, or Box Pools, Football Squares Pools can be played with any single game, but are most popular during the Super Bowl. Pool members claim squares on a 25, 50, or 100-square grid by putting their information in the square. Game scores are matched to the winning square(s), usually with winners being determined every quarter.

    How to read a football pool sheet?

    In Squares formats, football pool sheets include a grid, where one team is the column and one is the row. Winners are determined at the end of each quarter when the last number in the team’s score (on each side) is matched to the numbers on the grid, and the intersecting square wins.

    How do you play football credits pool?

    In the credits format, all players start with the same number of credits. Players make picks each week by risking a certain number of credits on games, assigning more credits to the picks with a higher confidence level. Members receive double the credits risked for each win. The member with the most credits at the end of the season wins.

    What is a football credits pool?

    In Football Credits Pools, players start with the same number of credits. They then make picks each week by risking a number of credits on games, assigning more to the picks they have more confidence in getting right. Members double credits risked for each win. The member with the highest credits at the end of the season wins.

    How to run a football pool?

    How you decide to run a football pool varies greatly depending on the game type. In each case, however, you'll want to determine the rules and settings before you begin inviting members to join you. You'll want to clearly establish how score will be kept, how tiebreakers work, and how winners are decided before anything else.

    How do you play football confidence pool?

    A football confidence pool is played straight up, not with a point spread. Not only do members pick the winning teams, they must back up their picks by giving them a relative confidence ranking. Your score reflects the number of confidence points given to winning teams. So if your confidence for a team winning is '1', then you can only win one point at most. If your confidence for a team winning is '5', then you can win five points for a win. The member with the most credits at the end wins.

    What is a football confidence pool?

    "Football Confidence Pool" refers to how you rank the teams that you think will win each week. For example, in the NFL, there are often 16 games weekly. In this scenario, you would rank each game from 16 to 1, based on the your confidence in that team winning.

    How do you play football margin pool?

    Margin pools are an NFL pool format that rewards members for picking a winning team each week. Pool commissioners can decide whether they award points equal to a winning teams margin of victory or the point spread for that game. When a commissioner chooses the point spread option, this format is often referred to as an NFL Underdog Pool.

    What is a football margin pool?

    In a Football Margin Pool, you are awarded points for picking a winning team. Pool commissioners get to decide whether they award points equal to a winning teams margin of victory or the point spread for that game. The player with the most points at the end of the season wins.

    How do you play football 33 point pool?

    The football 33 pool format is a casual pool where members are each assigned an NFL team (these pools are 32 members max, as there are 32 NFL teams). Members win when their team scores 33 points. Options for changing the target score, or having the closest to the target win each week is also available.

    What is a football 33 point pool?

    In the football 33 pool format, each member is assigned a unique NFL team (32 members max). A member will win when their team scores 33 points. This is a casual pool where you can change the target score or the option to have the closest to the target that week win.

    How to run a weekly football pool?

    In order to run a football pool, you must first crown yourself as Pool Commissioner. Begin by picking a game type like Survivor or Pick'Em. You'll want to establish rules before inviting friends, family, and colleagues to join. As commissioner, you make the rules and also need to enforce them equally and fairly.

    What is an NFL Playoff bracket pool?

    NFL Playoff Bracket pools are simple NFL pool formats where members pick every round of the playoffs before they start in an attempt to predict every match up correctly. It's optional to configure a multiplier for each round, or add a tiebreaker option of total points in the Super Bowl.

    How to make a football pool?

    A football pool generally requires the creation of a shareable spreadsheet (like Google Sheets) so that members may pick teams. Then depending on the game type, creators must use several kinds of formulas (e.g. CountIF), data validation, and conditional formatting. Or, you can just use football pool hosting service like RunYourPool where we do all the work for you!

    How to set up a football pool?

    To set up a football pool, you'll need to first choose a pool type like Survivor or Pick'em. Then, you'll need to set the ground rules. As pool commissioner, you'll enforce these rules and make sure the game runs smoothly throughout the season. Many commissioners use pool hosting sites like RunYourPool to make it easier and more engaging.

    What is a football power ranking playoff pool?

    In a power ranking playoff pool, members rank all 12 NFL teams competing in the playoffs from strongest (12 points) to weakest (1 point). Picks are made only ONCE before any games begin. Members are awarded the number of points assigned to a team when they win. Commissioners can optionally set up a point multiplier for each playoff round.

    What is a football confidence pool?

    "Football Confidence Pool" refers to how you rank the teams that you think will win each week. For example, in the NFL, there are often 16 games weekly. In this scenario, you would rank each game from 16 to 1, based on the your confidence in that team winning. This is similar to the Playoff Pool Power Ranking, just less teams.

    How to run a football pool?

    How you decide to run a football pool varies greatly depending on the game type. In each case, however, you'll want to determine the rules and settings before you begin inviting members to join you. You'll want to clearly establish how score will be kept, how tiebreakers work, and how winners are decided before anything else.

    What is a football playoff precision pool?

    In a playoff precision pool, members attempt to pick the winner of every playoff game each week. You can decide if it’s straight up or on a point spread picks, but point totals are also added. Points are awarded for correct picks AND for how close to the correct combined point total they were.

    How to read a football pool sheet?

    In Squares formats, football pool sheets include a grid, where one team is the column and one is the row. Winners are determined at the end of each quarter when the last number in the team’s score (on each side) is matched to the numbers on the grid, and the intersecting square wins.

    What is a Super Bowl Prop Bets Pool?

    A Super Bowl Prop Bet Pool is a fun and thrilling way to compete against friends and family during the big game! It's a simple questionaire of prop betting questions revolving around the Super Bowl, and whoever earns the most points based off correct answers wins!

    How does a Super Bowl Prop Bets Pool work?

    Pool members simply fill out a wide range of prop questions, each question worth a different value. Commissioners decide on the point value for each question, along with the amount of questions. Whichever member earns the most points based on corret answers wins the pool.

    What is a football Super Bowl Squares pool?

    Also called Grid, Block, or Box Pools, Football Squares Pools can be played with any single game, but are most popular during the Super Bowl. Pool members claim squares on a 25, 50, or 100-square grid by putting their information in the square. Game scores are matched to the winning square(s), usually with winners being determined every quarter.

    What is a prop bet?

    Prop bets are any sort of pick or wager on a game that has nothing to do with the score or the final score outcome. Props can range from game types, to team types and even player types - such as who will score the game's first and last touchdowns? Other props, such as novelty or exotic, feature bets on things such as the coin flip or the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

    How to read a football pool sheet?

    In Squares formats, football pool sheets include a grid, where one team is the column and one is the row. Winners are determined at the end of each quarter when the last number in the team’s score (on each side) is matched to the numbers on the grid, and the intersecting square wins.

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