AFC East Preview: Buffalo poised to capitalize in Brady-less division

1. Buffalo Bills

Coach: Sean McDermott (fourth year — 25-23 regular season, 0-2 playoffs)

2019 record: 10-6 (second place in AFC East; lost to Houston in wild card round)

Offensive play-caller: Coordinator Brian Daboll (third year)

Quarterback situation: The Bills are all in with former Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen, 24. Buffalo moved up five spots in 2018 to draft Allen seventh overall. Allen is 15-12 as a regular season starter with 30 touchdowns and 21 interceptions. He uses his athletic ability to extend plays and has 17 rushing touchdowns in two years. If the Bills are to dethrone the Patriots atop the division, Allen will be the key.

Young skill-position players: In the third round of the last two drafts, the Bills selected running backs Devin Singletary (23, 2018) and Zack Moss, 22, and tight end Dawson Knox, 23 (both 2019). But the big offseason move was 26-year-old receiver Stefon Diggs from Minnesota in exchange for a package that included a first-round pick. Diggs has 30 touchdowns among his 365 catches in four years. He is the game-breaker this scoring-challenged Bills offense needed.

Key statistic: 1995. Buffalo’s last playoff win came after the ’95 season when it beat Miami 37-22 in a wild card game.

2. New England Patriots

Coach: Bill Belichick (21st year with Patriots — 237-83 regular season, 30-11 playoffs with six Super Bowl titles; 26th year overall — 273-127 overall, 31-12 playoffs)

2019 record: 12-4 (first in AFC East, lost to Tennessee in wild card round)

Offensive play-caller: Coordinator Josh McDaniels (ninth year of second tour with Patriots)

Quarterback situation: For the first time since before Drew Bledsoe was drafted in 1993, the Patriots entered camp in late July with uncertainty at quarterback. Bledsoe, a former No. 1 pick, gave way to Tom Brady, who started every opener from 2002-19 but one (when he was suspended for Deflategate). Former NFL MVP Cam Newton signed a one-year deal with the expectation he would win the job over second-year passer Jarrett Stidham.

Young skill position players: In the last two years, New England drafted running back Sony Michel (25, 2018 first round), receiver N’Keal Harry (22, 2019 first round), running back Damien Harris (23, 2019 third round) and tight ends Devin Asiasi, 23, and Dalton Keene, 21 (both in this year’s third round). The Patriots need Michel to stay healthy and Harry to emerge to allow their offense to move forward minus Brady.

Key statistic: 29.5. Points per game by New England since 2010, most in the NFL.

3. Miami Dolphins

Coach: Brian Flores (second year, 5-11 regular season)

2019 record: 5-11 (fourth in AFC East)

Offensive play-caller: Coordinator Chan Gailey (first year of second tour with Dolphins)

Quarterback situation: In Tua the Dolphins trust. Even by winning five games, the Dolphins were in position to draft Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa fifth overall. A national champion as a true freshman for the Crimson Tide who had 87 touchdown passes and only 11 interceptions in 32 games (24 starts), Tagovailoa is equal parts natural play-maker and leader. Eleven different quarterbacks have led the Dolphins in passing yards since Dan Marino retired after the 1999 season.

Young skill position players: The Dolphins have built their skill-position stable through trades and free agency. Miami used first-, second- and fourth-round picks this year on offensive linemen. Among their receivers, tight ends and running backs, only tight end Mike Geisicki, 24, was a second-round pick by the team since 2016. DeVante Parker, a 2015 first-round pick, leads the receivers.

Key statistic: Minus-414. The Dolphins’ point differential over the last three years (18-30 record), worst in the NFL during that span.

4. New York Jets

Coach: Adam Gase (second year with Jets — 7-9 regular season; fifth year overall — 30-34 regular season, 0-1 playoffs)

2019 record: 7-9 (third in AFC East)

Offensive play-caller: Gase (second year)

Quarterback situation: Sam Darnold, 23, was drafted third overall in 2018 and has an 11-15 record with 36 touchdowns and 28 interceptions. But does Darnold have enough talent around him and stability on the coaching staff to eventually succeed? It sure doesn’t look like it.

Young skill position players: The Jets drafted tight end Chris Herndon, 24, in the 2018 fourth round and receiver Denzel Mims, 22, in this year’s second round and Florida running back Lamical Perine, 22, in the fourth round. Darnold needs Mims and Herndon to be go-to targets for the offense to gain some type of pulse.

Key statistic: Four. Consecutive losing seasons for the Jets (5-11, 5-11, 4-12 and 7-9), the franchise’s longest such streak since 1962-65.